The Horror of Spam ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ by Andrew Nellis bs904@freenet.carleton.

ca copyright 1996 Bob Goan picked up the pearl-handled letter opener and slit open the statement from the phone company with practiced grace. His nervous eyes danced across the paper as he unfolded it, absently tapping an elegantly manicured fingernail against his teeth. When the whole sheet had been read, he went through it a second time, for he was nothing if not a methodical man. His eyes came to rest finally on the figure at the very bottom representing the total income from his sex line operation. He allowed himself a very slight, superior smile. He slid a slim ledger from a pigeonhole on his antique accountant's desk and made a number of entries. The desk, like the room in which he sat, was old, expensive, and very slightly crass, as if it had been decorated by someone with the intention of demonstrating a cultured taste that the decorator had seen but did not understand. With its heavy velvet curtains, walnut book cases, and a large fieldstone fireplace, the room had more the feel of a den than an office. The only jarring note to the image was the very modern computer, sleek and antiseptic white, perched on a corner of the desk at which he sat. As he replaced the ledger in his desk, Robert "call-me-Bob" Goan glanced at the monitor, a wry smile twisting his bloodless slash of a mouth. He appreciated the irony that while it was computers which were ultimately the source of his growing fortune, he neither liked nor trusted them, and kept all his records using pen and paper. Sighing, he flipped on his terminal. He didn't like them, but they were a necessary evil. It had been a long day and he wanted to leave, but he knew he had better check his e-mail before he did so. He connected to his account and as he had feared, a message popped up in the window: You have 1 new pieces of mail. He clicked on the e-mail icon, and frowned when he saw the address the mail was from. He didn't know either the sender or the host address, which was very strange. He paid very well to keep his real e-mail address secret. He read the message. > > > > > > > > To: From: Subject: Your unwanted presence. Keep your endless sex line spamvertising off of or you will be sorry. You have been warned. Ia Cthulhu. The Crawling Chaos.

Bob felt a brief moment of fear that lifted the fine hairs on the back of his neck, but forgot it in the anger that washed over him an instant later. How had this, this plebe, this common computer ruffian acquired his real e-mail address? Bob didn't understand how these things worked, but he paid a number of renegade programmers a fair-sized chunk of money to ensure that his sex

lines remained able to bombard every newsgroup on the Usenet with impunity. He pushed the buzzer on his desk. The door to his office opened, and his secretary, Laura, entered, starched skirts swishing against her pretty legs. As usual, his eyes focused directly onto her breasts, not too large, the way he liked them, with just the faintest hint of nipple showing through the prim white blouse. It was always to his eternal amazement that she had actually been the best candidate for the job - though he'd have hired her just for being capable of breathing. "You buzzed, Mr. Goan," said Laura, sternly. She had held the job for three months now, and was getting tired of being alternately pawed and ogled by the old goat. She had a BSc in computer science, majoring in business administration - and a huge debtload. He was a pig, she thought, but he paid well. "Erm, yes," he said, addressing her breasts. "There's some sort of problem with my account. I want you to call those people we've hired, whatever their names are-" "Spamail Solutions," said Laura, jotting a note into her steno book. "Right. Get them on the phone and tell them that someone has managed to get ahold of my private e-mail address. They assured me that that would not happen. I want something done about it before the morning alt hierarchy barrage tomorrow." Goan got up from his desk and pulled on his coat while Laura made a last note in her book. She was just flipping the cover closed when she felt him step behind her and cup her breasts in his hands. She wriggled out of his grasp and spun around, her hands on her hips, and her face flushed with both anger and embarassment. "Mister Goan! If you don't mind, I'll thank you to keep your hands to yourself. I've told you this before." "You're so sexy when you're angry," he leered. "Alright, alright," he said, waving his arms helplessly. "Have it your way. I'm just being affectionate, you know that. No need to go all feminist on me. Don't fancy a drink, do you? Maybe we can have dinner, then we'll go back to my place and-" "No. Mister Goan. Good evening," she said firmly, propelling him out the door with a hand in his back. Grumbling to himself, Bob Goan left his office and climbed into his Lincoln Continental. He peered at himself in the rear view mirror. Okay, he thought, maybe I'm on the downward side of sixty, but I don't look a day over fifty. Well, fifty-five, anyway. My hair might be a little grey around the edges, but that's, er, distinguished. Maybe some Grecian Formula, he thought for a moment. No, I'm damned handsome as I am, he preened. No sense in letting some frigid cunt who's probably a lesbian get to me. He enjoyed a brief fantasy involving Laura, her putative twin sister, and a bottle of Wesson oil before he shook his head and started the car. The next morning, Goan arrived at the office early. The elevators in the building were not even running yet, and he had to get the security guard to use his passcard to activate one. Sometimes Goan liked to come in very early so that he could watch from his terminal while what was known around

the office as the Morning Barrage went off. It gave him a feeling of power to watch as his system posted messages to thousands and thousands of Usenet newsgroups. His company masqueraded as more then twenty others, all of them promoting his sex lines. Sometimes he would arrange for certain newsgroups to be utterly snowed under in advertising, thirty or forty messages in a row. This he reserved for groups that offended his personal sensibilites, like He would sit before his terminal with the air of a monarch surveying his kingdom, gloating at the helpless rage of the users in the various newsgroups as they tried to carry on their pointless conversations through a solid wall of his advertising. He was whistling happily with anticipation when he arrived in his office at last. On his desk was a note from Laura telling him to call Spamail. He checked his Rolex and realized that those unbathed simians he employed as programmers were not likely to have rolled out of whatever soiled mattresses they were using as beds yet. He put the note aside for later. Logging into his account, he was pleased to see that he had no additional mail, and he checked on the process that would launch a fusillade of his advertising at the unsuspecting Internet. Less than ten minutes until it triggered. Unconsciously, his eyes were drawn to the note on his desk. Maybe, he thought, I should remove from the list of groups to be targeted this morning. Just for this morning. I mean, he reasoned, it's probably nothing, but if this guy got my e-mail address, maybe he could get my real address. There were all kinds of weirdos and nuts on the Internet, Goan knew, because after all, he made his living from them. He glanced at the countdown timer. Less than two minutes to launch. He remained undecided even as the timer reached zero and the processes began firing off like a broadside of cannons, lagging the Internet on the entire eastern seaboard of the United States to a crawl for nearly twenty minutes. Ah well, he told himself, no one ever got hurt on account of a little advertising. It's the American way. Anyone who doesn't like it is probably a pinko anyway. He leaned back in his chair and began brainstorming on new twists for his sex lines. His reveries were interrupted by the chiming tone of the ringing telephone. He waited a few rings, but it was still early and evidently Laura had not arrived yet. "Bob here," he answered brusquely. "Mister Goan, this is Ajay from Spamail." Goan was a little surprised, considering the time. "Yes, Ajay, what can I do for you? Have you checked into that problem I told Laura to explain to you?" "What kind of sick shit are you into now, man," said Ajay, obvious distaste in his voice. Goan's greying eyebrows lifted. "I'm not sure I like your tone of voice, young man. What are you talking about." "The web site. You know, that Hotpix thing. I don't know if we can do business any more, man. Like, that's some sick shit, y'know? Like, I gotta check with my lawyer to see if we're, like, liable or something."

"Ajay," said Goan, with monumental patience. "I have no idea what you're talking about. We scan those pictures out of men's magazines, remember? I'm sure there's nothing there you haven't seen a thousand times before." Goan suddenly remembered that he was talking to a computer geek, and felt obligated to add, in the interest of accuracy, "Well, nothing you haven't seen pictures of a thousand times before, anyway." There was a brief pause. this morning?" "You mean you didn't change all those pictures

"I assure you Ajay, I only just got into the office. I couldn't change anything on there anyway. That's what I hire you for." There was a much longer pause this time. "Um, we got a problem then, Mister Goan. Maybe you better have a look and call me back. I took the site offline this morning, but you can still get in with your superuser password." Goan rung off and connected to Hotpix, his web site. It was his latest venture, and he was pleased with the modest profits it was showing. With the aid of his mass advertising it had become quite popular. The title screen was the first thing that tipped him off that all was not as it should be. Instead of a large-breasted young minx, there was a naked, toothless old crone, her mouth a drooling, vacant obscenity, and her breasts pendulous, wizzened sacks like empty wineskins. Her gnarled fingers pulled at the folds of her ancient, bone-dry vaginal lips. Grimacing distastefully, Goan used his password to access the other pictures available. He was horrified. Every single one was an abomination. One photo showed a naked child, no more than seven or eight, being torn apart and devoured by wild pigs while the child screamed in agony. Another revealed a man thrusting obscenely into the mouth of a severed head. Several showed things he couldn't quite make out, but which gave him strange shudders. His fingers were numb as he paged through them all, eyes glazed, seeing a collage of blood and death and horror and twisted sexuality. My God, he thought, I could as he realized that some of the right customers, but he profits. Disconnecting, he "You saw?" "I did. Shut it down, Ajay. Delete the whole site. I want it gone, and I mean completely gone. Like it never existed. I'll have the holding company that owns Hotpix closed down, and we'll bury it. Burn the records, if we have to. Thank God the damn thing isn't in my name. Oh, and Ajay... thanks for your prudence. There'll be a little bonus for you with the pay packet." "Thanks, Mister Goan. If there's nothing else, I'll get to it." go to prison for this. His eyes turned crafty these pictures would be worth a lot of money to quickly judged the risk to outweigh any possible called Ajay back.

"Oh, yes, there is one thing. Did you find out anything about that mail I received yesterday? You know, the one that came to my private account?" "Right. Yeah, I discovered it's a bogus address. I checked the header, and sure enough, the real source is, some place up in Maine I think. I'll get on it when I'm done with Hotpix."

Goan hung up and rubbed his chin. Could there be some link between this "Blackman" and Hotpix? He shook his head ruefully. Mere grasping after straws, he thought, and turned back to his monitor. He blinked at the message sitting on his screen: You have 1 new pieces of mail. He clicked on the mail icon. > > > > > > > To: From: Subject: Your final warning, Mister Goan. Did you enjoy the pictures? The Crawling Chaos. Stay out of

Fear and fury hammered in equal parts in his chest. How dare this little technogeek threaten him, Robert Goan, king of the Internet advertisers! How dare this snot-nosed punk sabotage Hotpix - at the cost of thousands in lost earnings! Goan heard the front door of the office open as Laura arrived, and he took a deep breath. Slowly he blew out, feeling the tension drain from him, and he put web page, saboteur, and lost revenue out of his mind as he buckled down to a good morning's work plotting out new advertising. By the time he next checked his watch, it was noon, and he found ravenous. Deciding to treat himself, he took a long, leisurely, martini lunch at the Plaza. When he arrived back at the office, asleep on the waiting room couch, a half-read novel on the floor himself threeLaura was beside her.

Goan licked his suddenly dry lips as he realized how high her skirt had risen up while she was sleeping. He could see a long slash of soft, feminine thigh. Creeping over to the door, he eased the lock shut as quietly as he could. It made a soft chunking noise despite his best efforts, and he glanced quickly at Laura. She was still asleep, lips slightly parted, and snoring faintly. He tiptoed over to his secretary and with deft fingers lifted the neckline of her blouse, leaning over so he could peer inside. She wore a bra, but he felt a growing bulge in his trousers nonetheless at the sight of so much forbidden flesh. Glancing at her eyes to make sure she was still asleep, he slid his fingers delicately underneath her skirt and stroked her inner thigh softly. She grunted but did not wake up, spreading her legs instinctively at the touch. Goan grinned maniacally like a child who has discovered the cookie jar left full and unguarded. Between thumb and forefinger damp with perspiration, he pulled aside the material of her cotton panties, using the fingers of his other hand to rub the folds of her pubis, now slightly moist. Laura groaned loudly, and her eyes shot open. It took her a second or two to realize what was happening and separate reality from dream. Her eyes and the eyes of Bob Goan locked, and he gave her his wickedest come-hither leer. A moment later he was curled up on the floor, trying to get his wind back. One of Laura's black pumps was on the

other side of the room from the force of the kick she had landed in his stomach. "You, you, pig!" she screeched, leaping up from the couch. Forgetting that she had lost a shoe, she kicked him in the side with her bare foot, badly stubbing her toes and making her shout. "Ow! Oh, you bastard! You goddam slimy son of a bitch!" she spat. She grabbed her purse and her shoe and hobbled out of the office, slamming the door behind her with enough force to knock a framed Matisse print off the wall. This has not been a good day, thought Goan moronically, as he sipped air like fine wine back into his lungs. An hour later, he was sitting in his chair, leaning somewhat to the side to avoid pressure on his bruised ribs. He was feeling mean and spiteful. The throbbing ache in his side convinced him to lock up and go home early, but before he did, he was going to make someone else's life miserable too. Goan logged into his account and scheduled a bombardment of the likes of which the Usenet had never known. Every single one of his many faux companies would fill the newsgroup with such a blizzard of advertising and hype that no site in its right mind would want to carry it. I've murdered the whole damn newsgroup, he thought smugly. Eat that, Mister Chaos. The next day was dark and ominous. The clouds bulged purple and blue, like wounds turned septic, waiting to burst and spew rotting pus upon the world. The rain had a greasy feel to it, somehow unclean. Lightning flashed and cracked with rage, wind howling its idiot fury like ten thousand damned and burning souls. Bob Goan turned on the windshield wipers and hummed pleasantly to some golden oldies on the radio. Even though he was late getting in, the doors to his office were locked. That meant that Laura had not been in, he thought glumly, his good spirits evaporating. Last night he had hired a prostitute and called her Laura. It had brought wondrous relief at a fraction the cost of what he figured it would take to woo his damn frigid secretary. But now the reality hit him that he might very well have lost a bloody effective steno, damn her eyes. Well, he'd call her later, maybe send her some flowers. Women are suckers for flowers, he thought, settling himself into his chair and switching on his Tiffany desk lamp. His office had huge windows, but the sky was a solid, impenetrable black. He logged into his account and was not suprised to see: You have 1 new pieces of mail. Let's see what you have to say, you sorry asshole, he thought, as he clicked on the mail icon. > > > > > To: From: Subject: You were warned. begin 644 ia

> > > > > > > > > > > >

M#0H-"B`@("`@("`@("`@("`@(&EA8W1H=6QH=6EA:6%I86EA8W1H=6QH=6-T M:'5L:'5F=&%G;FEA#0H@("`@("`@("`@("`@("!C=&AU;&AU:6%C=&AU;&AU M87IA=&AO=&AI86%N>6]N97=H;W=E;G0-"B`@("`@("`@("`@("`@('1O=&AE M969F;W)T=&]D96-O9&5T:&ES;F5E9'-A;&EF96EA:6%I80T*("`@("`@("`@ M("`@("`@:6%H87-T=7)C=&AU;&AU<FQY96AH<&QO=F5C<F%F=&MA9&%T:&EA M#0H@("`@("`@("`@("`@("!C=&AU;&AU<VAU8FYI9V=U<F%T:&=O871O9F%T M:&]U<V%N9'EO=6YG#0H@("`@("`@("`@("`@("!S:&]G9V]T:&EA8W1H=6QH <=6-T:'5L:'5C=&AU;&AU8W1H=6QH=6EA#0H-"@H` end The Crawling Chaos. Ia Cthulhu.

Now just what the hell was that supposed to mean, he thought, leaning back in his chair. Bah, he's crazy, why should anything he writes make sense? As he sat pondering and staring at the screen, he became aware of someone watching him. In some dim, primal recess of his mind, a neuron fired off a warning, and he felt the pressure of a gaze upon him. Suppressing a shiver, he turned his swivel chair slowly. The light from the lamp fell in a vague circle around the desk and left the rest of the room in darkness. A sudden flash of lightning illuminated a form on the far side of the room, and Goan's breath caught in his throat, a strangled gasp of fright squeaking out. The form glided forward. It was Laura. Goan released his breath in a heave, feeling as if he could either laugh or cry with relief. "You scared me girl. What are you doing here? I didn't hear you come in."

Goan looked over at the door and saw that it was still closed. His eyebrows drew together in puzzlement. Laura had the key to the office, of course, but she never came into his personal sanctum unless she knocked or was summoned. And she was acting strangely, just standing there and staring at him, as if he was a particularly uninteresting piece of furniture. "Well hell, Laura, you never gave me a chance yesterday to explain. Men have urges, you know. I'm sorry if I upset you. Tell you what, why don't I buy you lunch today, and then you can have the afternoon off. What do you say to that?" Laura's mouth opened and a pink nib of tongue emerged, running along her top and then bottom lip with agonizing slowness, leaving them wet and glistening. Goan's heart stepped up into a higher gear, and a bulge immediately appeared in his trousers. His secretary padded towards him, her bare feet silent on the thick shag carpeting. She stood in front of him and began unbuttoning the front of her blouse. It dropped to the floor. Her skirt followed, puddling around her ankles. As Goan grew more excited, unable to believe his good fortune, she calmly stepped out of her panties and unclasped her bra, until she stood directly before him, perfect, silent, and naked.

He reached out a hand and stroked her breast, watching the nipple immediately harden. Her flesh was cool and dry, like ancient stone, surprising him. She bent over him, allowing him to suck desperately on a nipple like a starving infant, as she switched off the lamp and plunged them into darkness. Thunder growled a deep-throated rumble of menace, the snarl of a hunting jungle cat. He felt her sink unbutton the top falling to admit his boxer shorts known it. to her knees before him, felt her tug open his belt and of his trousers. His zipper was lowered like a drawbridge the enemy. Her cool, powdery-dry fingers reached inside and grabbed his erect member, now as hard as he had ever

In the dark, he felt her lips descend on him, and felt himself enveloped by her mouth. He moaned, vaguely aware that her mouth was as cool as the rest of her. Her tongue travelled up and down his shaft with soft squishing noises that left him somewhat disquieted. Her saliva was cold and clammy, like something slimy. The phone rang. Lightning flashed, followed immediately by a roar of thunder that shook the whole building, and something in the brief instant of light triggered alarm bells of panic in Bob Goan's mind. He wasn't sure what he had seen, but he was unpleasantly reminded of some of the murkier images that had been placed on his web site. The phone rang again. The mouth on his penis became more insistant, and he began to feel things against his member that could not be identified, were neither teeth nor lips nor tongue. His arm hit the phone, knocking the receiver off the hook. As if from very far away, he could hear a tinny voice coming from it out in the darkness. "Hello? Hello? Mister Goan? Mister Goan, it's Laura, I've given it some thought and I think I'm going to have to tender my resignation. Hello? Mister Goan?" Goan's hand reached desperately for the lamp, knocking things off the desk in his panic to turn it on. The noises from the area of his groin had grown thicker, more viscous sounding, like the slap of raw liver against stone. His fingers found the switch, and light from the lamp shattered the darkness. Bob Goan's eyes widened into white circles of horror as he looked at the thing with his cock in its mouth. On the other end of the line, Laura dropped the phone as she heard a shriek of utter, primal terror, a scream torn from the throat of a soul blown into the gibbering embrace of madness. It went on for a long, long time. * * *

At a university in the northeast of the United States of America along the banks of the Miskatonic River, Bosley stopped his mopping as he heard a sound from the computer lab. The building was supposed to be closed for renovations. He had checked the door to the lab himself not an hour ago and found it closed and locked. He thought he heard a dry chuckle, as evil as anything he had ever heard.

With the ring of keys on his belt, he opened the door to the computer lab. A tall, dark man wearing a black leather jacket and black jeans was sitting at one of the computer terminals. Bosley noticed that the heels on the man's tooled-leather cowboy boots were worn down from much walking. The man turned his head, his eyes meeting Bosley's. tunnels to insanity... and worse. "Right you are," said Bosley. "Carry on." Bosley peered down twin

Bosley closed the door and locked it again. You don't get to be head janitor for Miskatonic University without knowing there are some things around there that you just don't question. He mopped the sweat from his forehead and decided to take a long lunch. In the computer lab, Nyarlathotep turned back to the terminal. Key With No Name Or ASCII Equivalent, and vanished. He hit the

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