So I'm down in Arivaca ...
Date: Tue, 28 Feb 95 19:27:11 PST
From: Peter Langston <psl>
Subject: So I'm down in Arivaca ...
Forwarded-by: bostic@CS.Berkeley.EDU (Keith Bostic)
Forwarded-by: Dave Del Torto <email@example.com>
So I'm down in Arivaca, little backcountry town near the border, eating
lunch at that diner on the cutoff road that goes past Ruby ghost town and
over the hill to Pena Blanca Lake, and I'm wearing my "The Internet Is
Full - Go Away!" t-shirt. By and by a guy who's been sitting at the
counter drinking coffee finishes up, pays the waitress, and heads for the
door. Just before he gets there my shirt catches his eye.
He stares at it for about ten seconds, then finally says, real slow,
"That's a damn unfriendly message you got there. Where the hell'd you get
that shirt, anyway?"
He's about 6'2", built solid, with green stains on the bottom of his Levis
that say "Yep, it's horseshit, want to make something of it?" I figure I
"This guy called Joel Furr in North Carolina makes them."
He looks at his knuckles for just a second, then looks up at me again.
"Furr, huh? So he thinks the Internet is full?"
"Well, it's just supposed to be a joke, you know..."
"Come on out to my truck," he says.
I must be looking green, because he gives a little laugh and says, "Hell,
I'm not gonna kick your ass, wouldn't be worth the bother. Got somethin' to
show you, seein' as you're an expert on the Internet and all."
So I follow him out to a middling-old Ford truck that has all the usual in
the bed, hay scraps, shovels, wire snips, a couple empty boxes of .30-.30
shells. But he reaches into the cab and pulls out a ThinkPad hooked to a
cellular modem, puts it on the hood, and turns it on. Fires up Telix, then
tells me to turn around until he says I can look again. When he says I can
look, I see he's logged in to an indirect.com shell account.
"Now you just watch," he says.
So he types in "telnet acpub.duke.edu", and at the login prompt he types
"root". Then he says, "OK, You know the routine," so I turn around again,
and when he says I can turn back I'll be damned if he doesn't have a "#"
It goes pretty quick from there.
"ex /etc/passwd", he types. Gets a colon prompt.
"/jfurr/d", he types, then "wq". Then goes up to /usr/adm and does some
stuff with the wtmp and log files so fast I can't really follow, and then
He puts the Thinkpad back in the truck, gets in, and turns on the ignition.
Then he turns to me and says, with the first hint of a smile, "I figure
there's one more parking space open on the Information Highway now," and
guns the motor.
Just as he's driving off I kind of wake up a little bit and yell: "Hey!
Joel will get back on, you know!"
And without looking even looking back he yells, "Yeah, and when he does,
you let him know who booted him off, and why!"
* * *
So when I get back into the cafe I ask the waitress, "That guy come around
here a lot?"
And she says, "Yeah, but it's okay, he was just teasin' you, he must 'a
And I say, "Jeez, what does he do to people he *doesn't* like?"
And before she could answer, this little scrunched-up farmer down at the
end of the counter says, without even looking up from his coffee, "That
there Life Flight helicopter down from Tucson had a hell of a time landin'
outside, time he ran into that lawyer couple from Phoenix in here."
I got out of there as quick as I politely could, but as I was pulling out
the lettering on the door caught my eye again, and this time I wondered if
maybe it wasn't just some bad garbled attempt at a Spanish name: the TERRA
PNEQ Cafe. Looked at it in my rear-view mirror to see if it made any more
sense that way and it didn't, so I hit the road.
Back in town, when I got off I-10 at Speedway the usual guy with the "work
for food" sign was on the traffic island. So I pull off the shirt and give
it to him. He thanks me and looks at the shirt. "The Internet is full?
What's that mean?"
"I don't know," I say. "Just don't wear it down in Arivaca." Then the light
changes, and I'm gone.
* * *
P.S. Don't know if Joel ever got back on, but finger firstname.lastname@example.org
just hangs, and that's an ominous sign if you ask me.
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© 1995 Peter Langston