The Day We Fight Back Against Mass Surveillance

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Additional reading. 

An Offer I Couldn’t Refuse

While on vacation in Washington I decided to drive up to Seattle to celebrate my birthday. Now, turning 25 really isn’t that big of a deal. And if it is, I must be missing something. The only significance appeared to be the fact that I was even closer to 30, I was single, no solid career, and several credits short of a college degree. Despite all this, my birthday was still my special day and I was going to make a big deal out of turning 25.

At the hotel I showered, shaved, and dressed in the flashiest outfit I had in my suitcase. I checked myself out in the mirror, combed my dark hair over to one side, plucked a couple rogue brow hairs, and tested out a few flirtatious smiles. That last part didn’t work too well. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t crack a decent smile. They all seemed to say, “come home with me and nobody will ever see you again.”

Oh well.

I checked my wallet. I needed to stop by the cash machine in the lobby. Since the room was charged to my card, I decided to get started on a little pregame. I opened the black mini fridge and gazed at the assortment of alcoholic beverages. A wave of relief seemed to trickle down my body and through my bones. Tonight was going to be a good night. I snagged three mini bottles of the Jack Daniel’s honey whiskey and sat on the edge of the bed. I unscrewed the cap of one and downed it in a few seconds. While my throat was still on fire, I opened the next bottle and poured that right down my gullet. I squeezed my eyes shut as the burning sensation caused them to water. I blew out a small breath before I freed the lid of the last bottle. I stared at the pirate caricature on the bottle and whispered, “to you, captain Jack,” and sucked down the sweet liquid.

I felt the blood creep up to my face as I stood up. I looked in the mirror and smiled at the reflection. Much better, I thought. I checked my cellphone before stuffing it in my pocket. No new messages. I slipped on some shoes, switched off the lights, and made my way down to the lobby.

I left the ATM with a few hundred bucks. I exited the hotel. It was already getting dark and it wasn’t even dinner time. I started walking down the street to one of the local bars an employee at the hotel told me about. Halfway there, a black woman stepped out in front of me. I stopped in my tracks, apologized, and started to walk around her. She, too, sidestepped to block my path. I looked up at her. “Excuse me,” I said.

“No, no, excuse me!” she said. “Oh, you know me, always finding a way to keep people from getting to where they need to be.”

I let out a nervous chuckle. “Yeah, for sure. Goodbye now.” I began to walk around her and again, she stepped in front of me.

“Sir, I’ll suck yo’ diiiick.”

“What?” I said.

She looked from side to side and started picking her nose. “I don’t normally do this type of thang but hey, I’ll suck yo’ diiick. I’ll suck it good and dry for two dollas. I’ll suck it for tree dollas.”

I started to laugh. This was a joke. “Tree dollars?” I asked. “How much is that exactly?”

She began to growl and scratch her head with both hands. “Gimme yo’ dick! Lemme suck it! I want money!” she cried.

I had a feeling this wasn’t a joke. I was dealing with a crackwhore and I wasn’t so sure what to do. How was one supposed to politely decline a blowjob? I’ve never been approached by a woman offering to blow me for money. Especially not by a woman who looked like she hadn’t bathed for weeks with dirt in her hair, stains and tears in her clothes. God, she reeked.

“Ma’am, I’m sorry, but I have to be getting to the bar now,” I smiled. “It’s my birthday.”

“Happy birthday, nigga!”

This caught the attention of a couple people who were talking near us. I quickly exchanged glances wearing my best “please help me” look on my face. It didn’t work.

“Thanks,” I mumbled. I started to feel light headed. The JD was starting to hit me a bit harder.

“I’ll give you a special deal since it’s ya birthday.”

“Oh yeah?” I said with feigned excitement.

She nodded and leaned over to whisper to me. She said I could put it in her butt. I shuddered.

“You know what, I just met you and I don’t know if I really want to do that right now,” I said. She looked up at me with big puppy eyes looking as if she was about to cry. “Don’t take it personally, I just planned to spend my birthday over at the bar and get smashed.”

Then she began to cry. “Please lemme suck yo’ dick. Please. I need crack. Oh baby, baby.. I need my crack.” She then walked up to me, rested her head against my chest, and wrapped her arms around me. Her sobs grew louder and longer with each passing second. I shushed her and awkwardly patted her back with one hand. The woman then started spewing out huge, wet, nasty coughs into my new shirt.

“Easy!” I said. She seemed to settle down a bit. I felt terrible. I haven’t felt this bad since that summer in high school when I took a girl out on a date and she crapped her pants at the movie theater. I tried settling her down by telling her it was all going to be alright.

“It ain’t gunna be ‘ight. I need crack,” she said.

“I know, I know.” I then began running my hand through her nappy ass hair. “Everything’s going to be ok.”

“No, it won’t.”

“Yes,” I assured her.

“How?” she asked.

I then pulled her hair behind her ear and whispered, “I don’t use lube. Get ready to make some money.”

the worst headache ever

It was a day just like any other.

I grabbed my freshly waxed surfboard and made my way to the summit of Machu Picchu.  It was a perfect day with not a single cloud in the sky. I followed the one and only trail I knew to the top and after a few hours, I finally reached the peak.

Just then the blue sky turned dark. Lightning snaked its way across the darkness. A large pool of lava began to swell up from the eastern side of the mountain. I sprinted towards the lava with the surfboard tucked under my arm, the ground shaking underneath my bare feet. As I closed the last few feet between me and the bubbling lava, I hopped on my board and slid right into the scorching liquid. I was one with the mountain.

Faster and faster I sped down Machu Picchu. I could hear the birds and the echoing calls of the Alpaca cheer me on. To my left, I noticed a small child, or perhaps it was a midget, holding up a sign that read, “Your limits are illustrations of your weakness.”

I dipped my hand in the lava as I surfed. It felt quite strange. It felt as if my hand was submerged in vibrating iced-water while dozens of slimy earthworms twisted around my fingers. Just then, I heard something fly past my head. I looked around expecting to find something, anything. Before I was able to locate the unidentified flying object, my board reached the base of the mountain. I hopped off and wiped my hands on my shorts. That’s when I heard the whistling sound.

When I opened my eyes it was dark. Like, stare at the back of your eyelids dark. I felt a dull pain behind my eyes and when I tried sitting up a wild throbbing came to life in my temples. I brought my pointer and middle fingers to my head and lightly touched the large bandage. It was moist from either my blood or sweat. Or both. Whatever it was, it had to do with the flying object I spotted earlier. Too bad I couldn’t even figure out what that thing was or how it could hurt me. Oh, hell.. I wasn’t hurt. What am I thinking?

I ignored the pain and stood up. My eyes began to adjust to the dark room and I began to look around for any hints of my location. I heard an engine roar to life from outside the room I was in. It sounded like a small car, maybe even a scooter. Then another engine, and another. Then came cheering and laughing. The laughing wasn’t like any laughter I ever heard. This was hysterical, crazed laughing coming from the mouths of psychopaths. The vehicles outside were peeling out causing a vast spray of rocks and dirt to pepper the outer wall. I shuffled over to a corner of the room and crouched down. That’s when I began to smell smoke.

I didn’t notice the temperature get any warmer or change at all. But that unmistakable scent of smoke lingered around me. Soon after I picked up on the smell, I began hearing the structure creak and moan under some sort of pressure. I stood up and slowly walked around the room with my arms held out. I brushed against a thin pillar that stood somewhere near the corner I was in. For some reason, I felt compelled to put my ear against the pillar. I did. I could hear what sounded like water rushing through pipes. What did all this mean? The creaking became much louder now, banging noises caused me to jump. Then the screams. The screams were muffled at first until the roof gave way and the flames snaked down the walls while several bodies fell and piled into the room.

Some were still alive, squirming around, holding their arms out hoping to have someone pull them to safety. Smoke trailed out of the mouths of those who had enough energy to cry out in pain. Charred, black bodies lay motionless among the suffering. What was I supposed to do? I was trapped. I was finally able to get a glimpse of the room I had been kept in and noticed that it was completely empty except for a single blanket that was now on fire. I had to get away from the screaming. I was driving me mad. I looked up through the hole in the ceiling and saw part of the roof still intact while most of it appeared to have burned away. I could also make out the night sky. My only chance at escape was up. I had to climb, but it was too high.

I had to find a way. I quickly began piling up the cooked bodies on top of eachother. One of the bodies I grabbed belonged to a young woman whose eyelids were burnt off. She begged me to take her with me. I said no.

When I finally climbed up through the hole in the ceiling I immediately found an opening to the outside that I jumped out of. I landed on a pile of dirt and rocks; it was comfortable here. As I stared up at the night sky, the cries of the people burning pierced the silence, rudely molesting the sanctity of the night. I forgave them, for their souls were already condemned. Everything was going well in life. I must confess, my only anxiety is the whereabouts of my surfboard.