Its Halloween! Spooks, Specters and

By: Doug Woodall

It was late, I had put off going to the
Software Convention till the last
minute. I just had to watch my favorite
show on TV, "S-Files". Its that
episode where the Computer Salespeople
all turn into Pod People and ,,,,well
never mind. Its really scary!

So I'm driving down the lonely one lane
road from my house to the Convention.
Its dark and the shadows are creepy,
I'll never watch S-Files again, I
swear! I pull into the parking lot, the
convention is being held in the old
YMCA. Geez, its dark, only 1 parking lot
light and its flickering on and off. As
I walk up to the entrance, I remember
the old story about how, back in the
Dot.Com days, when they tanked, the
building was used as a makeshift morgue,
to hold all the bodies of the CEO's
who committed suicide.

I get this really creepy feeling on the
back of my neck as I go in,,,,oh, its
just a Linux software salesman at the
first booth. Is it my imagination or are
his eyes glowing?

I head to the registration desk to get a
program. I see the place is kind of
empty, guess cause its so late. Well,
I'm here to see who is offering the
latest demos and what kind of freebies I
can score.

The front booths are usually the big
sellers and they never give away
freebies or demos. So I head to the
back, hmmm, the lights back here are

Here's a booth, Anti-Spyware 4 U. The
salesman shuffles up to me and says
"Please take a demo of our new
product". I look at it, it says this is
the latest greatest software to combat
Spyware. I take the CD out of the plain
paper cover and look at the Logo. Its
just a plain shiny cd? Wow I can see
myself in it I remark.

"We spared no expense" a voice says
behind me, making me jump. I didn't
even know he was behind me. Wait, I
should have seen him behind me in the
reflection off the CD. I I've got to be
imagining things I say to myself.

I ask the salesman for a brochure about
their other products and as he hands it
to me, our fingers brush each others.
Jeez! His fingers are as cold as ice!
Well, he is a salesman after all.

I thank him and head off to the other
booths, seeing that I've gotten here
too late after all, everybody is
leaving. I decide to swing by the
refreshments table to see if I can at
least get a drink and some cookies.

It sure is dark in here I think again as
I come up to the table. As I scan the
table, a little old lady comes up and
asks me if Id like any milk and cookies.
Yes Mam I reply. She hands me a little
plate with cookies and paper cup of
something white. I assume its milk, but
its so dark in here! And there seems to
be a fog or steam on the surface of the
milk. Well beggars cant be choosers I
think to myself as I thank her. She
gives me a freaky cackling laugh as I
turn away, stunned I turn back around
and to my Horror, there is no-one there!
Where in blazes did she go ?

I'm out of here my mind screams to me
as I head for the door at a ever faster
walk. In a minute I'm in my car with
the doors locked and the engine warming

Whew, That was the strangest Convention
I've ever seen. All the way home I've
got a death grip on the wheel, just
waiting for something to jump out of the
shadows. Like a IBM salesman, now that
would be scary!

If only I had known the other horrors
that awaited me! I breathe a sigh of
relief as I close and lock the living
room door behind me. Still shaking my
head I head over to my computer to try
out this latest and greatest
Anti-Spyware Software. As it boots, I
get a message to disable my own
Anti-Spyware program. I thing this odd,
but I remember reading somewhere online
that some programs can conflict with
others so I comply.

After a few seconds I get a message that
the new Program is installed and it
needs to connect to get possible
updates. So I get online and let it do
its thing. A reboot is needed it says,
OK so I reboot. The computer comes up
and I get online to check out the latest
results of the Mullet contest. what's
this ? This isn't my Homepage, it's a
site where you can ,,,Holy Hand
Grenades! Its Porn!

I close the Browser and man alive, I'm
beset by about a dozen pop ups offering
me things that, well, no decent person
would want. I'm figuring now that I've
been had by this Anti-Spyware CD.

I do a Restore and get back to my Online
Mullet competition site. Then I remember
that I need to transfer some money in my
savings to my checking account. So I
head to the Bank site and take care of
it. I must be tired, the computer seems
slow to me. I check my mail and the wait
to login is frustrating.

I decide to call it a night. I'll take
care of it tomorrow. After a tossing and
turning night and dreams of my computer
melting, the new day dawns. With a cup
of coffee I head to the computer to see
who won the Mullet Contest. The boot
takes forever and the login freezes the
first time so I have to power off and
back on again.

I'm really mad by now. I've been had
by some sleazy software company! I
finally get online but the Mullet
competition site wont load. I cant tell
if it's the computer or maybe the
online connection.

As it dawns on me that I'm going to
have to take it in for service, I hope
I've got some extra in my savings to
cover it. I head to the Bank site but it
wont load either. Then I notice the Hard
Disk light blinking away. I'm not doing
anything at the time so it shouldn't be
accessing anything. Cursing, I turn the
computer off and pick up the phone to
call the bank.

I get a live person after waiting only 5
minutes so I figure the day may be
improving. I give her my account info
and she comes back saying "I show that
account being closed last night after
all money was withdrawn"! .

There must be a mistake I say, she
checks it again and says its true. The
money in the account was transferred to
a Bank she has never heard of in
,,,,Transylvania of all places. As I
hang up in shock, I could have sworn I
heard her laughing just like the old
lady at the convention did last night.

I figure I better head to the Police
Station to get some help. In a Panic I
head for town. As I make the last turn
into town, I glance towards the location
of the YMCA, where all this started,
only to see its not there! Its burned to
the ground! Stunned, I stop in the
street and get out. Nothing but ashes.
The Man in the car behind me gets out
and asks me if I'm ok. I mumble I'm
lucky to be alive, I could have died in
there last night. Puzzled the man says,
but the YMCA burned down 2 nights ago!

As I get back into the car, I glance at
the spot on the seat where I put the CD
and the Pamphlet. Gone. Just a little
pile of dust. At the Police station, a
sergeant takes down my story and informs
me I've been the victim of online
Identity theft. As I'm leaving, A
couple of kids run by, in costumes,
yelling "Happy Halloween"

Are you scared ? You should be!

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