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-'      `--'      `.-'      `--'      `--'      `--'      `-.'      `--'      `

/\                                                                         \
\_|                                                                        |
  |   _____       .___                    __                               |
  |  /  _  \    __| _/__  __ ____   _____/  |_ __ _________   ____   ______|
  | /  /_\  \  / __ |\  \/ // __ \ /    \   __\  |  \_  __ \_/ __ \ /  ___/|
  |/    |    \/ /_/ | \   /\  ___/|   |  \  | |  |  /|  | \/\  ___/ \___ \ |
  |\____|__  /\____ |  \_/  \___  >___|  /__| |____/ |__|    \___  >____  >|
  |        \/      \/           \/     \/                        \/     \/ |
  |   .___         ________  .__        __                          ____   |
  |   |   | ____   \______ \ |__| ____ |  | __ ___________ ___.__. /_   |  |
  |   |   |/    \   |    |  \|  |/ ___\|  |/ // __ \_  __ <   |  |  |   |  |
  |   |   |   |  \  |    `   \  \  \___|    <\  ___/|  | \/\___  |  |   |  |
  |   |___|___|  / /_______  /__|\___  >__|_ \\___  >__|   / ____|  |___|  |
  |            \/          \/        \/     \/    \/       \/              |
  |                 Or, "Why I Can't Get Fucking Cable Now"                |
  |                                         Six/DLoC                       |
  |   _____________________________________________________________________|_

Living just down the street from the local university had its perks - I could 
walk 3 minutes from my house at the beginning of each school year and load up
on accounts on the school's Vax or Unix systems, for instance.  The University
would regularly dispose of computer hardware, so it was a great place to go
dumpster diving.  There was always a party going on somewhere nearby on any
given night, usually with kegs.

There was also a down-side, though.  Street lunatics seemed to be drawn to the
place - probably because the overprivileged suburban kids who went to the 
University were easy pickings.  People were constantly coming to the door to
pester you about one cause or another, and all of the predatory creeps who
banked on a college kid's parents paying any unpaid bills would seek you out.

One of these predatory creep organizations was the local cable TV company. 
Every year they went through a call list and tried to hard-sell everyone in
the area to get cable TV.  They were relentless, calling 3-4 times a day, 
refusing to take you off of their call list - really obnoxious.  I guess the
people who worked there got paid purely on commissions or something.

This was back in the days when you didn't just agree to something over the 
phone, these assholes would come to your house, sit you down, and do a whole
presentation - trying to get you to sign a contract.  They didn't care if you
could pay for it, of course, since they expected to be able to hassle your
parents for a settlement if you broke the contract.

After weeks of these calls, I finally had enough.  "Why yes, Karen, that 
sounds like exactly what I'm looking for, when can you come over to show us 
the channel list?", I asked.

"Tomorrow around noon if you don't have class", the pest on the phone replied.

"I'll see you then, come around the side door, it's a duplex.", I said.

What she didn't realize, of course, was that I was a master of dickery.  I'd 
learned a trick or two from dealing with the Greenpeace idiots who constantly
came knocking on the door soliciting me for donations.  Instead of going all 
the way downstairs to fuck them off, I'd simply moved the cat's litter box to
a spot by the window above the door.  Any time I heard "Greenpeace" shouted 
from the downstairs door (they'd announce themselves like that, like they 
were the police or something), I'd open the window and tip out the catbox.  
This was exactly as satisfying as you think it would be.

Next to the cat box was a large covered kettle.  It had originally contained
bean soup.  "Originally" meaning some time 8 or 9 months earlier.  Since then
I'd been spitting in it, pouring in backwash from beer cans, and loading it
up with anything I found that looked particularly disgusting.  At least two 
dead mice had gone in it months prior.  It was furry and effervescent.  When
you opened the lid, you could hear a slight fizzing sound, and a putrid stench
would fill the entire room.

The scheduled appointment time came, and I heard the expected knock at the 
door.  Quietly, I lifted the window, picked up the kettle, and tipped it.
I had expected the contents to pour out, but at some point they had gelled, so
with a loud sucking sound, the whole thing came out in one mass.

Hearing the noise, the cable saleslady looked up, but it was too late to 
evade.  The world seemed to go into slow motion as the malodorous, curdled 
contents of the stench kettle undulated through the air on a direct collision 
course with her face.  If you've ever seen "Revenge Of The Nerds", it was kind
of like when Lamar throws the specially-designed javelin. 

Upon making contact, the entire mass seemed to revert to a semi-liquid state.
The cable pest was coated in a stinking brown ooze.  Horrified, she began to 
shriek and wail, screaming "WHY?" over and over again.  

I closed the window and lay on the floor trying not to laugh out loud.

Three days later, the calls started again.  This time it was some guy named
Hank.  Hank was sure that if I just saw the list of sports channels that 
Annoying Cable Company Inc. offered , I would realize that I just had to have
their premium package - special student discount if my parents would co-sign -
and they had a channel just for the University's team!

Hank fucking sucked at reading people.  I hate sports, I hate people who like
sports, I didn't go to the University, I just lived down the street from it,
and I was the one who kept sneaking in at night and shitting in the end zone 
at the University's football stadium.  I told him I had a pretty heavy class 
load for the next few days, but he could come by the following week.

For 5 straight days I pissed in a super soaker and used it to fill up water
balloons.  When Hank arrived, he didn't even make it into the driveway before
we ambushed him.  Screaming threats of violence, he fled, soaked from head to
toe with rancid urine.

It was almost a week before Ted called.  Ted was a movie buff and his shtick
was to blather movie trivia at you in an effort to impress you with his vast
knowledge of cinema.  I wasn't impressed.  I figured Ted for the sort of guy
who would sniff your underwear in the hamper if you let him use your bathroom.
No way was I letting a creep like that in the house.  Ted was scheduled to 
come by the next day.

Looking around after the call, I realized I was running out of ammunition.
The kettle was empty.  I was all out of piss balloons.  I thought about making
myself vomit from the upstairs window, but nothing really seemed appropriate
or entertaining enough.  Then I remembered something I'd seen in the woods 
behind the house, and I had my answer.

This one would take preparation, though - I rigged the gates at either end of
the side yard so they would only open from the outside.  Then I found a large
metal can, obtained Ted's "prize", and waited.

Ted was late, and his prize wasn't going to keep forever.  I found myself
pacing impatiently by the window.  Finally, he arrived.  I noticed that he 
didn't bother to check the gate as it closed behind him.  Not only was Ted a
creep, he was a careless creep.  

Upon hearing the knock at the door, I ran to the window, gave the can a
vigorous shaking, and heaved it through.  It struck the ground with a lound 
"CLANG!", the lid burst off, and enraged hornets erupted from inside.  Finding
only Ted on whom to visit their wrath, they set about him mercilessly.  Trying
the gate, he found it locked.  Ted proceeded to dart back and forth in the 
side yard for a bit, cursing loudly and pursued at every step by the hornets
until he found some presence of mind and threw himself over the fence.

At this point, terrorizing phone pests had become my primary source of 
entertainment.  Who needed cable? Not me! (Do I even have to tell you I was 
already stealing it anyway?) Sadly, the calls weren't coming in any more, and
were mostly winding up on the answering machine.  I guess Karen, Hank, and Ted
were the only ones over at the cable sales office who cared about their sales

I had the greatest prank in the world prepared - a friend of mine, Derrick, 
was a chemical engineering student at the University.  He was the one who made
all the acid I was talking about back in one of the old DLoC files, "Inside
Outside".   He'd figured out how to make some kind of liquid thiol.  It was
the worst thing I'd ever smelled.  It smelled so bad, a single spilled drop
of it had caused the evacuation of the entire floor the lab was on.  He'd 
made enough of it to fill a small glass vial. That had been delivered inside 4
plastic bags stuffed in big jar full of dryer sheets.  You could still smell 
it faintly, and it was awful.

I finally gave up waiting for a call, looked up the number of Asshole Cable

"Ring Ring Ring.  Hello, Asshole Cable Company"

"Hey, I've been thinking about getting cable, but I'm not sure what channels
to get.  Is there someone who can show me a brochure or something?"

"Sure, hold please."

[Awful hold music, I think it was an accorion and tuba version of Black 
Sabbath's "Paranoid"]

"This is Jeff, can I help you?"

"Hi Jeff. I've been thinking about getting cable, but I'm not sure what 
channels to get.  Is there someone who can show me a brochure or something?"

"We don't offer pornographic channels, sir.  You'll have to call somewhere

"Wait, what, who said anything about porn?  I don't want porn channels."

"Ok then, I can come by tomorrow sometime between 8 and 3."

"Great, Jeff, see you then.", I said, and hung up.  The guy had been kind of
a smarmy asshole about it all.  Worse, I knew damn well they offered porno 
channels, I'd paid good money for a bootleg descrambler box so I could watch
them on the cable I was already stealing.  Who the fuck was Jeff, the wank 
police? I was already looking forward to tomorrow.

8AM came and went, 9AM, 10AM, etc...  Around 2 in the afternoon, I finally
heard a car pull up outside.  A balding older guy got out, looked disdainfully
at the house, and started into the side yard.

I flung open the window, snatched up the jar, and started opening bags.  As 
soon as I got the lid off of the jar, a paralyzing wave of stench hit me.  
Pressing through, I opened bag after bag, the smell intensifying with each 
one.  Finally, gagging violently, I flung the small vial towards the window.  

It struck the edge of the window and burst.

The smell was indescribably awful. If you've ever smelled the dumpster behind
a KFC on a hot day in August, it was kind of like that in the same way that 
a cigarette lighter is like the sun. I heard screaming from the side yard, but
only peripherally as the urge to vomit finally won.  Falling on the floor and
seeing spots, I unloaded the entire contents of my stomach. I lay in a heap 
weeping and retching over and over again for what seemed like days.   

It sounded like someone was trying to gargle and scream at the same time
outside.  I must have been missing quite a show, but at the time I had bigger

I tried to crawl away from the window, away from the source of the smell.  The
stench, however, was relentless.  Finally enough puke found its way into
my nose that I couldn't smell anymore.  My sinuses were on fire, bile was
running out of my nose, but I couldn't smell that horrible smell - so I was 

I made it to the bathroom, closed the door, and crawled into the tub.  Turning
the shower as hot as it would go, I scrubbed my hands and body with pepper-
mint soap.  

Amazingly, by the time I left the bathroom, the smell had completely 
dissipated.  I set about cleaning up - the mess was unbelievable.  It's really 
kind of amazing just how much your stomach can hold.  

As I was finishing up, it occurred to me that I'd completely forgotten about
Jeff.  Leaning out the window, I surveyed the damage to the side yard.  There
were cable brochures scattered about the yard.  There was puke and shit in a
wide circle on the ground, someone had obviously rolled around in it.  The 
gate was smashed completely off its hinges. The entire side yard reeked of 
excrement, but it was nothing next to the colossal stench of the thiol.
"Jesus, Jeff, grow a pair.  At least I didn't shit myself", I thought, as I
gathered the hose and started spraying off the side yard.

This is the point in a story where you're sure the protagonist has learned 
an important lesson and decides to turn over a new leaf. Well, go read another
story if you need that, because I didn't.  It wasn't 3 days before I called
the cable company back.  

"Yeah, buddy, you're on a list right here on my cube wall.  Don't call here
again.", the CSR said, and hung up.  With a sigh, I put down the phone and
realized it was time to find a new hobby.  Maybe I could talk some of those
Amway assholes into coming over.

/\                                                                         \
\_| That's all, folks!  Be sure to pick up the latest DLoC text files,     |
  | available on our website and our BBS HQ.  Coming soon, the story of    |
  | the worst job I ever had.                                              |
  |                      -Six/DLoC signing off...                          |
  |      The Darkside BBS: telnet://thedarkside.dnsalias.net:6969          |
  |   _____________________________________________________________________|_
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-'      `--'      `.-'      `--'      `--'      `--'      `-.'      `--'      `