The Secret on My Mind

6 09 2009

Another scribble:

Dear Alex,

I have a secret. Actually it’s not really a secret, since a lot of guys here on the inside do know about it, all the guards and wardens and docs and, therefore, also practically every one in my block, but actually beyond that I think this information is surprisingly not real well-known. Maybe on account of me being a straight up guy and careful with others’ shit. Anyhow, I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about how I look. I’m 5’11”, 200 lbs. at the last weigh-in. I’ve got light-brown skin — so light that I’ve got red freckles around my nose. I laughed when you wrote that you looked like a kid version of Conan O’Brien in your letter ’cause my friends used to call me “Irish” when I was your age. One of the guards tapes Conan O’Brien and plays it in the rec room. Anyhow, I also got this Afro. You know what that is? I don’t know if kids around you still sport those things. I let my hair grow kind of long and then shape it back with a razor so it looks like I got this black foam ball on my head. Except my hair is not super tightly kinked, so it’s more like a mound of cotton candy on my head. It was kind of a thing back in the day. Here’s the thing — there’s a reason why I always, always have my hair this way. It’s ’cause I have a nail sticking out of my head. If you shaved my scalp, you’d see it sticking out maybe half-an-inch honest-to-Jesus. But my hair being as it is, you really wouldn’t be the wiser.

My dad did that, Alex.


So here’s the problem

4 09 2009

Another quick scribble.

Jonas could tell before Tasker said a word that the colonel was not a geek. It wasn’t his clean-shaven appearance or militaristic bearing — plenty of the crack cybersecurity experts are coming nowadays from within the ranks of an Armed Forces keen on keeping a step ahead of technology than its rivals both far and near. It wasn’t even his age, though Jonas certainly couldn’t recall any eminent wizards who looked like Tasker.

It was his scan; the Colonel looked at the personnel rather than the equipment. He lacked the shifty-eyed curiosity of a true geek. He was, instead, a bureaucrat, or middle manager.

“You say one of your own machines is doing this?”

“Sort of,” Jonas explained. “One of the crucial ways we track new activity is by having an array of machines that we call honeypots. They’re completely vulnerable machines, you see, with no firewalls or protective software. We use them to attract as much malicious activity as possible. Their sole purpose is to get swarmed with infections so we can see what new menaces are making their way around networks.”

The Colonel cut him short. “So what happened at 0400 this morning?”

“Well,” Jonas said, “they all started, one after another, sneezing.”