Sunday, December 2, 2007

Part Seven


Luscious P continues her tour through the NewLife Site, where millions build virtual people, have virtual lives and conduct virtual affairs.

They seemed like the nicest cops in the world. “Sure,” I said. I followed the two cops through the dancing crowd. I felt sooooo good as if I could dance my way to the cop station. Someone grabbed my arm. It was the missing Godfrey.

“Watch out,” he said then he disappeared back into the crowd.

The cop shop was just a hop, skip and a jump from the club. The sea of nightlife avatars parted for us as the two escorted me down the brightly lit sidewalk.

Inside the station it was quiet as if the walls muted all sound. We went down a subtly lit hallway and then into a neat looking chrome and smoky glass room.

“Have a seat,” the woman cop gestured across the sleek dark table. Her partner had disappeared; it was just the two of us. I sat down and crossed my legs. She was incredibly buff, I wondered if she had a six-pack under her black NewLife uniform.

“Nice rack,” she said as her partner walked into the room. When he sat down I could see my reflection in his mirror sunglasses. He looked down at the PDA he had in his hand.

“It says you’re new here at NewLife.” He looked up and stared at me. “You are “new” aren’t you?”

I shook my head. “New?”

“First timer,” the woman cop said. “By the way, I’m Officer Harry and this is Sergeant Dick.”

“Harry and Dick, got it,” I said. “Why did you ask if I were new?”

Dick gave me a cool look. “You’ve never registered at NewLife under a different nic?”

“No I haven’t,” I said, thinking, this was getting kinda weird. I looked at Dick, “what makes you think I’ve been here before?”

“You have that “sockpuppet” look to you.”

“Sockpuppet? What the heck is a sockpuppet?”

“It’s someone who comes here and registers under a different nic after they’ve been banned.”

I shook my head. “Banned? What’s banned?” I didn’t recall hearing the term, banned, at Orientation or reading about it in the cyber-brochure.

They glanced at each other. “NewLife,” Officer Harry said, “has a policy of banning members who fall under certain criteria of behaviors unacceptable to the community.”

“What kind of “unacceptable” behaviors?” I was intrigued.

Sergeant Dick folded a pair of muscular forearms across his chest and looked at me. I wished I could see his cyber-eyes under the mirrored glasses.

“Unacceptable behaviors are behaviors NewLife finds unacceptable.”

“Oh yeah?” Man, that clarified it. Not.

“Unacceptable behavior has been classified as behaviors which are deemed to be immoral, unethical, or illegal,” Officer Harry said.

“I see.” I was now curious about those who had been “banned”. “How many have banned from NewLife?”

Dick shook his head. “That’s classified info.”

“Well,” I said, “is banning, permanent?”

“Once a member is banned they are no longer welcome at NewLife,” Harry said.

“Are these “sockpuppets” members who were banned?”

“Yep,” Dick said. “The bastards were banned but keep finding ways to slip back in.”

I looked at Harry. “What happens if you find out someone has been previously banned? You just “ban” them again?”

“That’s about all we can do,” Harry said.

Dick shook his head. “You just keep kicking their sorry asses out. They’re pretty wily. New permanent email addresses, stolen credit cards, or if they’re desperate, they’ll steal someone’s identity and slink back in.”

The door opened and a good-looking man entered the room. Everyone, it seemed, in NewLife was very attractive to the point were they had all begun to seem “average.”

He looked at Dick and Harry. “Our Iggy Pop was a sockpuppet.”

“Yeah,” Dick said. “So why am I not surprised?”

“Not just any sockpuppet,” Dick. He was a HalfLifer.”

“That bastard!” Dick said. “They’re infiltrating us, big time.”

“Halflife?” I’d never heard of that online community.

“Interview’s over,” Dick said as he stood up and nodded at Harry. “You’re free to go.

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Death by 1000 Papercuts

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