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You are reading a dynamic short fiction. You are invited to participate however you'd like. Thanks for your time. If you're interested in more work like this, please check out the Writing page on my site, shawnrider.com.
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by Shawn Rider
November 15, 2005
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Morton was breathless. He had thought for weeks about how today might go: Stan Marshall and Berkeley Knudsen would give him an ultra-rare interview, he would spend the whole day hanging out at their beach house getaway. Even the reporters from Wired didn't get this kind of access to RADDSTURR, and Morton had spent a good portion of the previous three weeks working on his journalistic skills. He had never actually interviewed anyone before and typically approached his research cloistered in front of his computer or examining reams of printouts in his underwear while he waited for one movie or another to download.
The day went well, and by the afternoon, Morton felt truly accepted by the two. Stan believed their meeting on the SyntaXX boards was pure coincidence, and fit its significance into a much more new age-y series of events than Morton would have previously expected. This was, after Berkowitz's mchrideall, the "darkest heart in Silicon Valley" according to many of the analysts who wrote about RADDSTURR.
"Hey-ey, Joe," he feigns a punch to Morton's abdomen, "Or should I call you Profe55or? Ha!"
The bottles of California wine had flowed, and Stan had more than his share. He clapped Morton on the shoulder and pointed to Berkeley, who was currently trying to get several different wine glasses to resonate as he ran his finger around the brims.
"It's like with this guy. He gets stuck, you know? He needs somebody to help him move on."
Stan plunges a finger into Morton's drink, then lurches to the table where Berkeley sat with his glasses. Stan ran a finger around one glass, emitting a low frequency hum. Then he moved to another, which elicited a higher pitched tone and brought a smile to Berkeley's face. Berkeley poked a finger into one of the We are not made for this.glasses and tried it himself with similar success.
"See what I mean? It's like we fit together. Right Berke?"
"I would have gotten it eventually. I just forgot."
"It's like that girl. Whatserhead. I can't remember. You remember, Berke?"
"Which girl? I know lots of girls." Berkeley drank little sips of wine from the different glasses in front of him, trying to even the tone across all of them.
"The one who did the videos with you. You know. Dorm girl." He made little quotes marks in the air with his free hand.
At this, Morton perked up. He hit record on the device in his shirt pocket, not completely hidden, but not obtrusively visible either. "Oh, yeah, tell me all about that. That's important."
Berkeley looks up at Morton. "Not much to tell."
"Sure there is, Berke. Tell the man. Berkeley had this friend back at school, and she wanted to Leck mich am Arsch!get started doing design and stuff. Man, she was hot. What was her name?"
Berkeley continued to rub out tones on the wine glasses.
"Mary. Mary Scot. That's right. Mary Queen of Scots. Man, she was hot."
Berkeley stood up suddenly. "My glasses are empty. I'll get another bottle."
Stan waved him on. "It's OK. He's like that when he's drunk. Which is, like, always. I never understood how he could program like totally wasted."
"So is she the one in the videos?"
"I think so. I don't know. I didn't see them until they were all finished."
"I thought you guys planned out the whole campaign? It's considered one of the most innovative campaigns ever devised..."
"I know! Can you believe it?"
"It's one of the reasons RADDSTURR has become a household word. I mean, it's been listed as a verb in the dictionary. That kind of thing doesn't just happen."
""^_^"What are you talking about? How do you think all of the other words got in the dictionary? It's coincidence. It's, you know, cultural."
Morton sat staring at the array of glasses Berkeley had left behind.
"It's like us and SyntaXX: Serendipity. Fate. God. I don't know how to explain it."
Stan did know how to explain it, and eventually Morton prodded him to come forth with more details. All of the pieces were in place from the very beginning, but it wasn't until RADDSTURR dropped specific hints that people would discover the woven tapestry of online brand establishment that would become an obsession for so many.
"So you were the puppet masters?"
"I guess so. That's what they called it, although I always felt that Mary was the real puppet master. Mistress. We just followed her instructions. To be honest, I don't even think she knew what she was doing. She This is a test. This is only a test.was just some undergrad Berkeley was fucking. Oops, did I say that? He never seemed to think much of her."
Stan turned and yelled for Berkeley, who yelled back that he was coming. Stan yelled back that there guest was thirsty, and then turned back to Morton.
"But it doesn't really matter, does it? I mean, nobody's heard from her since then, right?"
On revisiting archives of the RADDSTURR campaign (or game, mystery, whatever you wanted to call it), Morton later discovered that Mary Scot was in fact listed as a potential puppet master, along with Stan and Berkeley, as well as a handful of other names, on a "behind-the-curtain" document he had not consulted until after his interview with the RADDSTURR founders. Unfortunately, Mary Scot had not been big on the Internet before the RADDSTURR job, and seemed to have dropped out of sight completely afterward.
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