Archive for March, 2011

The Further Adventures of Johnny Cocaine

March 10, 2011

Darkened hotel room, lit only by the faint glow from an unattended laptop and the occasional flare of a cigarette. The owner of the cigarette paces, covering the length of the room in three strides. The faint glow illuminates his unkempt hair and several days of stubble, reflections from the screen scroll up his face in an unbroken matrix. He stops and puts out the cigarette carefully, until no trace of a coal is left. A keypress makes the laptop, and the room, go pitch dark. Standing to the side of the small window, he pulls the curtain back just enough to peer out. Below him, a dingy street is lit by several neon signs covered in Cyrillic lettering. The only cars look like they’ve been parked there for decades. The only pedestrians appear and walk quickly to a door directly across from the hotel, set back in a concrete block building. There is no obvious signal, but the door opens just as they arrive and closes immediately behind them. The doorman glances around each time. In those brief seconds, the observer can see flashing lights from within and clearly hear the pounding bass of dance music. After the door closes, his eyes wander involuntarily to a bundle of cables running up the side of the concrete walls. Any other observer wouldn’t notice them at all; if they did, they would assume they were standard telephone and electric lines.

Tonight’s observer knows better. Those are expensive cables, carrying terabytes of stolen data to black markets around the world. He also knows that if the doorman looked more closely, he might realize there is a small device attached to the cables that was not there yesterday.

At an unheard noise, the observer steps away from the window and raises one hand to touch a minute earpiece. The call connects.

“Johnny Cocaine”, he answers quietly.

(to be continued)

The story of Johnny Cocaine cannot be told merely with words. Pictures and video add immeasurably to the story: the quick fights in Third World alleys, the stealthy infiltrations and heart-pounding escapes, the clubs and strippers. The cons. His cover as a touring electronic musician begs for a soundtrack and music videos. The information he steals should be visualized – hologram blueprints, multimedia dossiers, source code to malware.

Johnny exists in a shadowy world between our everyday universe and Hollywood’s most outrageous creations. The fiction is out there.