This piece resulted from a combination of ideas which were churning in my mind in 2002. We had a great chat group going, "swisschatters", hosted by swissworld.info. The idea came up of writing a story together, with a lot of imaginative input, for the yearly English Short Stories contest of Stauffacher's Bookshop in Berne.
Lisa from Greece with her meals gave me the ouzo, or absinthe idea, how we could send out a deadly recipe for others to cook. Liliane in California and Marianne in Melbourne, and the occasional chatter from Syria or Morocco, set the stage for political discussions.
Bas and Laia got to meet in Spain, and Jr and Liliane and then several more chatters arrived in Switzerland during the summer: cuhri stirring things up, canoe who was quiet but deep as a well, sister with connections everywhere, Ben our Africa correspondent, Tinu from Berne, John as the mastermind Sherlock returning to the Alps.
Others were candidates for being victims :-))) A great group for a Murder Mystery Weekend!
Unforunately, I caught a case of writer's block, and the group dispersed back into cyberspace. Finally, with the pressure of just a few days till the deadline of August 31, 2002, I sat down and put the following text together. It's not really a story, but a confession of what I am doing chatting with you all ... "Murder in Cyberspace" contains my ideas about chatting.
The real story, "Murder in the Garden", based on our discussions, was written and produced with friends from the International Club of Berne in 2003. It's not online, it needs polishing before I can sell it to Hollywood.
Copyright Graham Tritt, 2002. Permission to copy granted upon notification to g.tritt at gmx.net.
Seated one day at the keyboard,
I was weary and ill at ease ...
"Got it!" I thought. I can bug those people in the chat room again.
Makes a change from Freecell solitaire. And I can win friends and influence people. Well, influence them, anyway.
Last week my kids set up WinNuke. You know, the way they can crash anyone's computer, anywhere. Well it used to be possible. I deleted the program, along with the last batch of off-color jokes, wierd pictures, and Clinton stories.
Me, I'm a bit more subtle. None of that physical stuff. Really I'm just a skinny foureyed nerd. And I'm going to stay unnoticed, while I slowly take over the world.
Know anything about viruses? No not the physical sort, nothing to give you a cold. Just the cold shivers :-(
Not the software sort of virus. It's no challenge to beat a machine. They can't even think, not really, the least bit of intuition puts you way ahead.
I'm talking about virtual viruses, spreading through cyberspace. And you are going to be one of the hosts! Got ya! You're infected!
There are a lot of benign viruses. Even some which do a lot of good! Did you ever wonder where those computer jokes come from? Round and round the world they go, spreading like a snowball. Mutating as they go too, you'll realize when you see the same one again. Subtly different, it changed slightly in a host and was then passed on again with perhaps more chance of spreading.
This needs a bit of psychology. Mob psychology too. Freudian analysis helps. That's what makes it fun - manipulating others - who don't even know it!
The same with chain letters. I remember one I started - a million cards sent to some poor guy who bugged me. They're still goming - you can't kill a good virus!
You see, there's an idea, and a hook. The hook looks for a receptor, that's a person. It catches hold. The idea takes over. Begins to dominate the mind of the receiver. Instructs him or her to pass it on. Before you know it, the email is forwarded to 50 others! That was my early training. (We called it mass marketing.)
The idea of an infectious idea is not new. Some call it a cept (from concept), others a meme. Can't claim that! Anyway there are lots of practicioners out there now, but I'm gonna be the best!
Wonder why everyone is suddenly scared of being hit by comets? That was mine! Just goes to show how stupid people really are. Now its floods everywhere - this will fade out slowly until we have earthquake season again.
Perhaps killer bees - no I think I will make it another type of insect. There's a primeval fear we can draw on!
It's the copycats, the kiddie hackers now who are making these viruses. Nothing real smart.
Now a good pyramid scheme, that takes sone work. And brings in the loot, too, if you do it right. Guess you know me, I'll never have to work for myself again.
With 40 years of Amway, franchises booming everywhere, scams too - the pyramid virus is round in thousands of forms. People are getting smarter now, and saturation sets in earlier. If a virus is like a bacteria, a pyramid is like a cow! People have to want its products, to take care of it, to breed it and teach others the same.
I reckon that cats and dogs are just the physical incarnations of a greater intelligence than us! Perhaps extraterrestrial - some call it god.
Where's the fun? Come see a chat...
People meeting, talking, bitching at each other. Telling secrets! Falling in love! People so want to fall in love, it doesn't take much at all to push them over the edge. One more win for basic instincts!
I killed someone the other day. Well I didn't mean to. Showed him the Deadliest Joke in the World. You may have seen the report on this. Monty Python did its best to describe it.
That's like the fugu recipe I sent out. Make it at your own risk! How about a guide for home brewing, or kambucha? Can make you healthy - or not ... Now I've got all sorts of amateurs sharing their recipes and special ingredients ... Mushrooms anyone? Something to blow your mind?
Now I've had enough of that. I want to be more subtle. A hint "you could start a diet" works wonders at home. You know what I mean. If I can get B to murder C. Just a hint at the right time, just an idea of a safe method.
We had a polite group of emailers - until they were hit with the female supremacy virus. Like, the writ hit the fan. I believe that one caused quite a few marriages to break down!
The chatters are meeting next week. There are Bush fans and Clinton fans - a good joke will get them fighting. Let's see,
I think I'm giving too much away ... well it's only a diary.
introduction | story
Memes and the science of memetics
Internet Mind Viruses - an antidote
Computer viruses connected with psychological viruses "I love you" was such a virus - in a MS Word DOC. Not one of mine. Wow that was fast.
The Deadliest Joke in the World - Monty Python explains how Britain won World War II.
Humberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum. The way to found a secret society is to deny that it exists. ideas.
Hercule Poirot's last case, Curtain. It was twenty years ago that I read this, it must have impressed me! Five murders, each by a different person with a clear motive, were related - by someone who planted ideas.
Dick Francis book Comeback: Fugu , a Japanese fish recipe with a danger of death by paralysis - Tetradoxin