by Rev. Ivan Stang (with a Tip o' the Hat to Dr. Philo Drummond and Princess Wei "R." Doe)

At Large column. 620 words

((NOTE TO EDITOR: on line 8 below, the suffix to URL "peoplewatch.con" is SUPPOSED to be "con" not "com". ))

Howdy, man, come on in! What brings you by?

Have you seen that new search engine, DeVaca's People Watcher?

No, I...

Good. I wanted to see your face when you check it out. Although, come to think of it, I could have stayed home to do that...

Well, wait just a second, I'm uploading my CDA cyberfine to the FCC.

Again? What'd you do? I thought you took that nipple off your website.

I did. But I forgot the WORD, "nipple."

Bummer. Well anyway, check this out... www.peoplewatch.con.

Okay, okay... here it is... DeVaca's People Watcher... sponsored by Philip Morris... now what?

Type in your name and city.

Okay... wow, there are ten of me.

Pick the one on your street.

Wha...! It shows my phone number! That's supposed to be unlisted.

Now click on your address.

Huh... cool looking map. Hey, my house is marked with a red X! What's this... 'OverHead View'... my god! How'd they get this picture? A satellite?

You got it. Now zoom in.

It's just a close-up of my roof.

Now hit 'X-Ray View.' Now look up and wave to yourself.

GOOD LORD! That's US down there... right now! Oh, there's a slight delay. But it's way clearer than CUSeeMe! This is getting creepy as hell. I'm gonna line my roof with lead. You can even see what's on my SCREEN!

You can't buy lead without a permit, remember? Don't zoom into that screen too much, you'll get video feedback. And maybe you better get those illegal cigarets out of sight, never know when They might be doing a spot-check. Now try 'Hear Audio.'

This can't be. Listen -- that's us talking, about 30 seconds ago! ANYBODY could be listening and watching us...?

I think it uses your computer speakers or your fax machine as a microphone or something.

This is INSANE. It even has 'Replay This Time Yesterday.' What's all this crap... 'List Recent Purchases...' 'Arrests in Past Year....' 'Medical History...!' 'Voting Record!' How detailed does this GET? 'Firearms Owned...' 'Mailing Lists and Organizations Joined'? 'Ex-Wives' Opinions'?? This can't be!

I knew you'd freak out. You're so paranoid. Hey, it's the only way to fight domestic terrorism. You never know what those crazy Radical Right Liberals will do next.

Well hell. We can watch anybody on this thing, right? I'm gonna dial up the CIA headquarters in Langley, watch the watchers back. Then Senator Exon's office, I wanna see HIS porno stash. And George Bush's scrapbook. And Tipper's undies.

Forget it, dude, those are encrypted. National security. You don't want the Hackers Brigade shutting down Wall Street, it'd wreck the economy. Besides, if you even try to connect to Them it'll flag their computers and you'll get audited by the IRS next month. Double-plus ungood, homey. Hey, your downloads box is ringing, better check it.

There's a cigar in there! Who would email me a cigar as an attachment? Oh, here's the letter... 'Dear Rev. Stang... Philip Morris Inc. (Langley, VA) congratulates you for discovering the many convenient uses of DeVaca's People Watcher. Please accept this US Food and Drug Approved Tobacco Product as a token of our good wishes. (Smoking in nondesignated areas may be hazardous to your health.) Philip Morris, President Clole and Big Sister welcome YOU, REV. IVAN STANG, to the Brave New World Internet!'

Hey... if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

Yeah, well... gimme a light, then. At least they knew my favorite brand.

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Original file name: '97 Prediction

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