This episode of Blogsmoke first ran eight years ago today.
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SOUND: MODEM CONNECTING FADES UP TO FULL MIKE—SINGLE SHOT—RICHOCHET
MUSIC: UP AND UNDER—RECORDED—CUT 1
ANNOUNCER: (VOICE OVER MUSIC) Around Twitter Town and in the territory of the net—there’s just one way to handle the harassers and the stalkers—and that’s with an Internet Sheriff and the smell of “BLOGSMOKE”!
MUSIC: THEME HITS: FULL BROAD SWEEP AND UNDER—RECORDED—CUT 2
ANNOUNCER: “BLOGSMOKE” starring W. J. J. Hoge. The story of the trolling that moved into the young Internet—and the story of a man who moved against it. (MUSIC: OUT)
JOHN: I’m that man, John Hoge, Internet Sheriff—the first man they look for and the last they want to meet. It’s a chancy job—and it makes a man watchful … and a little lonely.
MUSIC: MAIN TITLE—RECORDED—CUT 3
JOHN: The Grouch has been charged by the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office with failure to comply with a peace order, and he’s been flailing around trying to come up with some sort of defense. That strikes me as rather foolish. After all, he’s sent an email to the State’s Attorney’s Office confessing. Still, logic has never been The Grouch’s long suit.
SOUND: Phone rings twice. Receiver picked up.
JOHN: John Hoge.
KAPLAN: Mr. Hoge, this is Detective Bob Kaplan with the Montgomery County Police. I’m sorry to call you this late in the evening, but you may be able to help us with something.
JOHN: No problem. What’s up?
KAPLAN: (Telephone filter) Are you familiar with someone known as The Grouch?
JOHN: Yes. Quite familiar.
KAPLAN: (Telephone filter) We’ve received a rather bizarre email from him about some sort of conspiracy to mail a forged letter.
JOHN: That would be the one he sent back in January, right?
KAPLAN: (Telephone filter) Uh, huh. Why do you say he sent it? He claims that the postmark proves that he didn’t.
KAPLAN: (Telephone filter) Yes. He says that it’s postmarked Baltimore, and mail he sends from his residence in Elkridge shouldn’t have a Baltimore postmark.
JOHN: Can you forward that email to me? I’d like to see what he’s talking about. And can you give me a good call back number?
KAPLAN: (Telephone filter) (Fading out) Sure. What’s your email address …
MUSIC: SCENE BUMPER MUSIC—RECORDED—CUT 4
ANNOUNCER: I love coffee, but later in the day, I prefer tea. I like to drink my tea from my Team Lickspittle Travel Mug. Team Lickspittle Travel Mug are exclusively available along with lots of other goodies at The Hogewash Store. Stop by today and spend some of your hard earned cash in support of Team Lickspittle. Or hit the Tip Jar. They’re both ways you can support the Team.
MUSIC: SCENE BUMPER MUSIC—RECORDED—CUT 5
SOUND: Phone rings once. Receiver picked up
KAPLAN: CID, Detective Kaplan.
JOHN: (Telephone filter) John Hoge here. I just sent you an email. Can you pull it up?
KAPLAN: Hold on.
SOUND: Typing on keyboard. Mouse clicks.
KAPLAN: OK. I got it.
JOHN: (Telephone filter) Open the attached pdf.
KAPLAN: Uh, huh.
JOHN: (Telephone filter) There are three envelopes shown in the file. The first one is the envelope for the letter from January. The original is in the hands of the Circuit Court up here in Westminster, so there’s a no chain of custody issues.
JOHN: (Telephone filter) The other two are from letters he mailed to the U. S. District Court. You’ll notice they show the PACER caption from the court docket, so they’re self-authenticating.
KAPLAN: Uh, huh.
JOHN: (Telephone filter) Compare the postmarks.
KAPLAN: Yeah, I see. They’re all Baltimore 212. So you’re saying that the record shows that The Grouch has sent mail with that postmark in the past.
JOHN: (Telephone filter) Which doesn’t prove or disprove who sent the January letter, but it does kill his claim that he couldn’t have sent it.
KAPLAN: So what about his forgery claim?
JOHN: (Telephone filter) Well, The Grouch began claiming that the letter was forged as soon as its existence was made public. He very quickly focused on the alleged similarity between the signature on the letter and his signature on a failed peace order petition he filed against one of the two people he’s claiming did the forgery.
KAPLAN: Which means what?
JOHN: (Telephone filter) Suppose The Grouch forged the letter himself.
JOHN: (Telephone filter) Suppose he wrote the letter, traced a copy of his signature on that peace order so that it would be “too similar,” and then mailed it from the same post office he had used for the letters to the federal court. He might think that would give him a means of claiming that he had been set up.
KAPLAN: That’s kind of farfetched, isn’t it?
JOHN: (Telephone filter) Does anything about this seem rational?
KAPLAN: Still …
JOHN: (Telephone filter) You’re dealing with a guy with multiple restraining orders against him in at least three states, someone with a history of altering documents.
KAPLAN: It’s more than a little bit crazy.
JOHN: (Telephone filter) Read that first letter to federal judge that I forwarded to you. He admits to suffering from dementia. Look, the point is that his “forging” the letter makes as much or more sense that his explanation.
KAPLAN: OK, I’ll put all this in the case file.
JOHN: (Telephone filter) Good. Call me if you need anything else.
MUSIC: CLOSING TITLE UP AND UNDER—RECORDED—CUT 6
ANNOUNCER: (VOICE OVER MUSIC) Even with a good imagination, we can’t come up with stories as strange as The Bomber and his buddies provide for episodes of “BLOGSMOKE”!
MUSIC: SWELL AND CONTINUE TO MUSIC OUT
ANNOUNCER: The Legal Department wishes the following declaimer read: “‘BLOGSMOKE’ is a work of fiction. Anyone who feels it might be about him should read Proverbs 28:1.” This is LBS, the Lickspittle Broadcasting System.
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Sometimes even fiction has trouble making sense.