Saturday, December 11, 2004


Network Sharing Violation

Bill's still in the driver's seat, opening bottles and reading emails, smoking and chuckling. I'm over in the passenger seat with the console, blogging. The windows are up tight--Bill was cold, the big baby--and so fogged-up we might as well still be navigating through the blogosphere. He's got an army blanket around his shoulders, and seems to be more comfortable now. I think maybe Mullah Billdoug's regulating the temperature inside the blog.

"Listen to this one," he keeps saying, regaling me with the email messages he's finding. They're all pathetic, if you ask me, but Bill is getting a huge kick out of them. "It's from Donald Trump to George W. Bush. 'My friends ask me what I would do if you appointed me to a cabinet position. I tell them, "Hey, anything for my country. Anything for my President." And listen, please, I'm not fishing for an appointment. The only fishing I do is off my hundred-million-dollar yacht, the Trump Princess.'"

"Interesting," I mumble. I try to block him out, mostly. Sometimes I wonder why Mullah Billdoug wanted him on the team. He's low comic relief, at best.

So I'm done. I go to publish my post, and--nothing. I seem to have lost my internet connection. No huge surprise, in here. I wait and wait. Finally I get an error message: A NETWORK ERROR HAS OCCURRED. Duh. But it gives me a link to click for details, and when I do, the box that pops up explains that the network error was a network sharing violation. Sharing? Who am I sharing with?

"Bill?" I say.

"Listen to this," he says.

"No, wait," I say.

"No, you gotta hear this. Some fundamentalist polygamous Mormon sect has bankrupted a local bank by borrowing $18 million for nonexistent businesses. They believe the end of the world is coming soon, and the world financial market is going to collapse, so why not? The bank manager blames the regulators."

"Bill, listen," I say.


"Are you on the internet?"

"No. I'm just reading these bottled messages. Why?"

"I'm getting a network sharing violation."

"I don't even know what that is."

"It means some greedy grabber boy is grabbing my IP address."

"Well it ain't me."

"Yeah? Then how did you get that link to the Independent site for the Mormon story?"

"What link?"

No use talking to a junkie. I snort and go back to my console. A chat box has popped up. A message is waiting for me:




This whale? Shit. Of course. Another user in the whale! I slam the console back into the glove compartment, open my door, and stumble out into the gastric juices and debris. Bill doesn't even look up, the big dumb hippie.

I slosh around for five minutes before I find him. It's a big belly. He's sitting on a packing crate for Nineveh gourds, legs crossed, typing on a wireless laptop. He's wearing some kind of Old Testament patriarch robe and has a long beard. He looks up as I approach.

"Howdy, neighbor," I say.

"Repent!" he cries.


He shrugs. "I've always wanted to say that. Hi," he says, sticking out his hand. I shake it. "I'm Jonah. Welcome to the whale."

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