Jan. 19th, 2016

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Author's Note: I wrote this short story in December of 2012, during a period when the Board was getting flooded by a spambot declaring itself a little boy (like all of us are, of course, I mean, obviously) and offering free candy. Whoever programmed it didn't seem to have a shift key on their keyboard, because capital letters never appeared once out of all the hundreds of posts. The flood eventually halted, and the Nameless Admin removed all the offending hilarious messages. I don't remember if any of the spambot's dialogue in this story is word-for-word quotation, but as this example shows, all the messages followed basically the same structure. (Seriously, why did the spambot specifically address its audience as boys? Did the programmer think females and men don't like candy?) This story was originally posted to a thread discussing the spam attack.

Protectors of the Plot Continuum was founded by Jay and Acacia, and I write in their universe with permission.

* * *

”A Short Story About Spambots”


Agent Vania paused Epic Mickey after a knock sounded at the door—an oddly metallic knock, considering the door itself was fashioned from Generic Surface. She passed Doc, who was reading some murder mystery on the bunk bed, and opened the door.

“would you like some candy” the . . . person . . . standing at the door said. They wore a sickeningly brownish-pink suit and bore an oddly blank, staring expression. They were short and stooped, and had a head covered in tan hair that was so stringy, it looked almost like yarn. “i have candy”

“Uh . . .”

“Is it that Sunflower’s Witness again?” called Doc. “Tell her to stop interrupting Canon Research Time™.”

“It’s definitely not the Witness,” Vania said. “What kind of candy are you selling?”

“i have free candy little boy”

“Whoa, now! I usually leave the literary quotes to Doc, but—”

“BUT NO LIVING MAN AM I!” Doc interjected, standing up in bed and impacting the ceiling with his head.

“. . . Right. Well, I’m certainly not a boy, at any rate. I’m beginning to suspect you’re not a legit candy man. Do you mix it with love and make the world taste good?”

The odd person’s eyes seemed to bug out for a moment. “running Friendship Protocol v2.1” The mouth briefly turned up in a smile, then settled back into perfect straightness. “i am little boy like you”

“Doc? Did you agree to let Chris Hansen set up a sting in our RC and forget to tell me?”

“No . . .” Doc finally got down from the bed and joined Vania at the door, rubbing his forehead. “Who is this?”

“i am little boy like you . . . both”

“God damn it! Seriously?” Vania shouted. “Are you a badly described parody clone of Professor Oak? Look!” She started lifting up her shirt, but Doc blocked her arms.

“Wait! Do you smell hot dogs, Vania?”

She sniffed. “The air does seem a bit . . . meaty, doesn’t it?”

“there is only free smell of free candy”

“♪Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam♪”

Behind the odd person, six Vikings marched through the hallway, swinging their broad arms back and forth with elbows crooked as they sang.

“♪Lovely spam, wonderful spam! Lovely spam, wonderful spam! Spam, spam, spam, spam . . .♪”

The singing faded away as the Vikings moved further down the hall.

“this is coincidence”

Vania batted her eyelashes. “Doc, please bring me my pen.”

“You want a pen?”

“I want my BIG, WOODEN PEN, Doc.”

“Oh! Oh, of course.”

As Doc retreated back into the RC, the odd person’s eyes bulged out again. “yes free candy for boys just go to double-u double-u double-u dot dot dot dot dot . . .”

Vania’s baseball bat had interrupted the individual’s speech by way of decapitation. The standing torso’s neck oozed pinkish meat while the wire-filled head stuttered on the floor. “. . . dot dot free candy little boy free candy fraaandy fraaandy—” The head was interrupted a second time by its body toppling backwards and crushing it.

Vania smirked at Doc. “It was a—”

“I figured it out from context.”

Vania nodded. “Let’s just be thankful it’s gone now.”

“And definitely just an isolated incident.”

A metallic clanging echoed through the air. Both agents leaned out and observed that every RC door in the hallway had an odd person standing before it, knocking.

“Doc, get on ICEP and contact DoSAT. Then open a portal to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. I’m getting some candy out of this, damn it!”

“♪Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam . . .♪”

* * *

Author's Note: Epic Mickey was created by Warren Spector and Junction Point Studios and belongs to Disney Interactive Studios. The Sunflower's Witness was created by Miah and belongs to the PPC community. Doc's quote was written by J. R. R. Tolkien in chapter six of The Return of the King, "The Battle of the Pelennor Fields." Willy Wonka and his factory were created by Roald Dahl, and the lyrics from "The Candy Man Can" in the first movie adaptation were composed by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley. The spam vikings and their spam song belong to Monty spam Python and spam.

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