So there I was. I was there because I knew I was there. I knew that if it got out that I was doing this, there would be a shit storm of astronomical proportions. I didn’t realize the scale of that said shit storm. I was so excited. It was in times like these when I thought for sure the government would be watching everything I was doing. Not just the government, but something bigger, something scarier, that something, was Amazon. If they knew what my plans were, if they knew what I was about to do, I’m sure they would have had fifteen guys from the Men in Black with ear pieces and sunglasses aggressively trying to kill me. Now looking back, I would hope I would say “I would love to see those fuckers try!” but in all actuality, I’m still just as afraid as I was back then.
You see, once it got out as to what was going on, Amazon and also the Department of Justice thought for sure that I was some sort of terrorist from Apple or Barnes and Noble. Some people thought that I was from Kobo but that was very easily disproved. There were even a couple of people; real far out conspiracy theorists, who thought that I was working for Smashwords. That actually made me laugh. I could see why people thought I could have been from Apple. The thing that was funny about that, was even with all of Apple’s problems with the DOJ, they didn’t immediately come out and say that they had no affiliation with me. That was shocking. It also made everything seem like maybe Apple was in charge to some extent. Maybe, Apple was using some sort of mind control to make me do the things I did. I mean, I wrote my notes as this idea was coming together in the notepad in my iPhone. It makes sense that Apple would “red alert” certain keywords used in a particular order. Maybe I really was a patsy for Apple the whole time. I would much rather believe though that this was my whole idea.
What my idea was, was how amazing would it be if I could read any book in the Kindle Store whenever I wanted for free? I stayed up for a couple days thinking about all the books I would read, what order I would read them in, which titles would be seasonal to me, which books I would read my kids (whenever I became a parent), catching up on comics, etc. Everything I could ever want is right there at my fingertips. It was ecstasy. The thought of it was so amazing to me. It was way better than the Vicodin I was on.
How this idea came up was really quite simple. I was broke. I didn’t even have the money to pay my rent. I needed to go to the bathroom. You might think it strange that I bring this up. I will tell you why it isn’t weird, isn’t weird at all. You see, no matter how much money I have or don’t have, no matter if my heart is broken or I am in love, no matter what my circumstance is, taking a shit is a wonderful release that no one can take away from me. To be fair, that’s what I thought before they locked me up here in prison. Now the reason I bring this up, is that, when I go to the toilet, I like to have an ebook to read. I used to have many books and magazines in my bathroom that I could read whenever I sat down, but after years of being in a bathroom with little to no ventilation, my books and magazines began to get a little musky. So, now I just take my iPhone or my iPad into the bathroom with me and have a seat. My kindle library was completely tapped. So I went onto amazon and typed in “Free Kindle Books” and so many great titles came up that I wanted to read them all at once. My bowels did not want to wait for me. I was about to go in my pants. I really needed to go and my lower intestine wasn’t going to wait for me! I began to panic. I clicked over to the Top 100 because I couldn’t decide. There were so many great titles to choose from. This made it even worse! Then I realized that Amazon hid the Top 100 Free in a tab behind the Top 100. There were two different lists! They tricked me!
I thought to myself, “I wish they were all free.” It was like my brain blew all the clouds away and I heard harps and angels sing. I felt like I was standing on a beautiful grassy cliff looking over the ocean on a clear day. Then my rectum had a turtle head pop out and I ran into the bathroom to keep from having an accident that might have ruined my moment of epiphany.
While on the toilet, I wrote a bunch of ideas and thoughts about it on my notepad on my phone. The bowel movement I was passing decided that it wanted to be slightly more violent than usual. I should have known that that was a sign of things to come. If there is one thing that I’ve always known, it is that, my asshole will never lie to me about anything. Ever. I should have paid attention.
Once I came out of the can, something happened. Nothing out of the ordinary, just a huge light bulb that went off over my head. Now this light bulb was not a bright idea but more of a spotlight illuminating how bad my idea was. So I went from extremely happy, to being stopped dead in my tracks with all the lovely visions of an endless digital library at my fingertips thrown away in the gutter. I felt like the man in that Twilight Zone episode who broke his glasses after the world ended and all he had was time now to read but couldn’t. The thought that came into my head was that Amazon is the third biggest search engine in the world. They have the best e-commerce tool on the planet. They have algorithms that are maintained and closely watched every minute. How the hell would I ever be able to break into that? Honestly, it’s probably better than our government’s system, which is exactly why they cracked down on me so hard.
I remember getting very depressed once this was realized. I plopped myself down on the couch and started reading the best book in forever, Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut, for the 87th time, all the while still trying to figure out a way to make my grandiose idea work. I wasn’t taking anything in from the book. My eyes were just racing over lines of words that were so familiar that I was just picturing Kilgore Trout and Dwayne Hoover coming up with answers to my problem.
That’s when it dawned on me. I knew that it would work. I knew I could get any book on kindle for nothing. Absolutely zero dollars, pounds, euros, yen, etc. I knew I could do it. Kilgore Trout figured the whole thing out. Now, let me preface this by saying that this wasn’t going to be easy. This wasn’t even going to be cost effective. But, once an idea like this comes to you, you can’t look the other way. You can’t poo-poo the idea just because of fear or financial responsibility. If that were the case, we wouldn’t have electricity, pasteurized milk, or pornography. This was a chance that I had to take.
I’m not sure how most brains work, but at least with my brain, this defective piece of soft, wet machinery that it is, once it starts, I am helpless to stop it, I have to help it. I have to obey its commands no matter how dire. Did I think that what happened would happen? Of course not. Did I assume for a half a second that the world would suddenly be looking at me or talking about me, seeing my face on every magazine, on every television, on every computerized device? Absolutely freaking not. Who am I? I’m just some cheap ass loser that didn’t want to pay for e-books anymore. I am just a loser that because of a freak accident and poor timing became the central figure in a worldwide securities fraud and terrorism case that shook the world of e-commerce to its core; so hard even that the nations of the world looked at me as a threat. Me, a man that wanted a better free e-book to read while he took a shit. That’s all.
Hacking into the back-end of the Amazon site wasn’t hard to do at all. I figured it would be much harder for me, especially since I just learned about a month before how to HTML code a .MOBI file. Between “How to” videos on Youtube and all the great information on blogspot and wordpress blogs, I quickly figured out how to get into Amazon’s back-end. Once there, I started reading code. All sorts of code. Everything from the help desk, to search bars, to advertisers, to site maps. That’s when I found the hundreds of thousands of .MOBI files. The e-books! It was like looking at the running binary code in The Matrix except, strangely, this was way more intricate and confusing. Who would’ve thought that amazon.com was more in depth than The Matrix? Not me.
I noticed that all these .MOBI files had file locations. I thought for sure that that would be too easy. So I looked harder. I looked deeper. After about a day of no sleep and a lot of coffee and cigarettes I stumbled upon something that I didn’t even realize until it was too late. I found a way to do something that was so computer 101 that I was shocked at how easy it was. I will explain it to you the way I explained it to my laptop.
Holy shit. It was done. I copied and pasted the entire Kindle Library to a daisy chain of hard drives. It was beautiful. It didn’t even take that long. I pictured myself pacing back and forth waiting for this enormous batch of files to download, taking days or even weeks maybe to pull off. I thought of the catastrophe if my Internet crashed, or if the power went out. I thought, what if my landlord needed to come by and check on a repair that I requested months ago and forgot to fix and then decided that that day was the day to fix it! I pictured her coming into the apartment.
She would say, “I’m here to look at the sink before I pay someone an exorbitant amount of money to fix something that isn’t broken.”
I would say, “Today is no good for me, maybe you should come back tomorrow.”
She would then inspect me and ask a series of questions that I wouldn’t want to answer like, “Why are you sweating? Why are you biting your nails? What has you so nervous?”
I would respond without being able to control the volume of my voice by shouting, “What the fuck are you talking about? I’m an American! I have rights!”
She would push her way through the door and see my set up straight out of The Lone Gunmen and say, “What the hell is all of this?”
Then after no thought at all I would answer, “I am illegally hacking into the number one e-commerce site and the third largest search engine in the world in order to read books for free.” Then I would crack her over the head with a lead pipe. Blood would be rushing out of her head, but she wouldn’t go down. She’s Egyptian you see. She would mumble incoherently and lunge at me, covering me in her red life juice…
It was over. I had copied all the e-books from amazon. Just like that. I was so relieved. But I was doubtful. No way could that have happened so quickly. Not here. Not with this shitty Internet connection I have. There must be some mistake. I checked. Every hard drive was full. Terabytes of knowledge and entertainment at my fingertips. I now held the wisdom of the world.
In all fairness, anyone with Google as their homepage could basically say the same thing. But I did it in a very 007 kind of way. I felt strong. I felt powerful. I felt like a fucking man!
Now, if I would’ve just left well enough alone, no one in the world would have ever known who I was besides my immediate family and my landlord who is completely healthy. No one. Well there were also some people on Goodreads that knew me, but not by my real name.
Like all empires, greed was my downfall.
Something came up. Something put a wrench in my flawless plan. Something kept me up that whole night. It was such a loud gong in my head that I hadn’t even started reading any of the hundreds of thousands of books that I just acquired illegally. Two words haunted me in the dark that night while I lay on my back starring up at the darkness where my ceiling should have been.
Shit! What about new releases? Would I just have to keep note of the hundreds of books that get uploaded weekly and then rifle through miles of code to try to find them? There had to be an answer that would work. But what could it be?
I had only one option. I had to go back to the source. I had to ask Kilgore. Honestly, Dwayne wasn’t much help so I let him continue to go insane while Kilgore tried to come up with an answer to this problem.
Kilgore kept talking about “leaks”. Where Kilgore comes from, that’s what they called mirrors. Kilgore and Kilgore’s god like figure explained to me that when one would say “I gotta take a leak” Kilgore would say that where he comes from, that means someone’s about to steal a mirror!
How that led me down my trail, I will never know. But it got me right back into the back end of Amazon. With a couple clicks and a ctrl+f followed by a “replace”, I rigged it so that every time a book would be uploaded to Amazon, a copy of it would end up in my e-mail! Brilliant! It being on the upload, meant that the algorithm Nazis and the IT drones would never even think to look into it. It was between departments. It was fool proof!
Then how did this mother of invention get caught you ask? Instead, I will tell you how I was found out. I didn’t get caught for some time. That period is really all an anxiety filled blur minus some moments of really weird shit. Well, how I was found out was really just lazy stupidity on my part. You see, I was getting hundreds of e-books a day e-mailed to my gmail account. For days I would download each of their contents with glee into my many hard drives, collecting the written word and watching my digital library grow leaps and bounds. Then one day, due to a design change in my gmail account, I accidentally sent one of these e-mails to my spam folder. At first I thought nothing of it. “Oops.” I said aloud with a chuckle. Minutes later, as I was continuing to accumulate e-books, something terrifying happened; the e-mails stopped. Five minutes went by, then ten, then twenty – nothing! How could this be?
Finally an e-mail came. It was from Gmail. It basically said in layman’s terms that Gmail sent an e-mail to Amazon on my behalf.
“Holy shit!” I cried.
I quickly tried to do the math as to how many books I downloaded and roughly how many hundreds of thousands of dollars I was in the hole. I stopped trying to figure that out once I felt the number was going into the millions. Terrified, I unplugged my computer and started to gather my hard drives. Then it happened. Time stopped. The only sound I could hear at first was my heart pounding rapidly in my chest. Slowly the other sound started to come in and try to muffle the sound of my blood pressure trying to make little blue tubes explode in my broken brain. That sound was the sound of my iPhone ringing and vibrating on my desk. The caller – BLOCKED.
I grabbed my phone then thought it best to leave it behind since they would definitely be able to track me down with the GPS. I knew who was calling. I knew who BLOCKED was. I knew that wasn’t their “real” name. I knew it was Amazon. They were on to me. They figured the whole thing out. I’m sure Google freely let them into my inbox to see what I had been up to. Those bastards.
I didn’t want to get inside my car. I thought they would be on that in no time. I wanted to run but I knew they would expect that. So since I live in a very “urban” neighborhood, I thought if I pissed and shit myself and rolled around in the dirt and just kept my head down, I could stay right on my street and they would never be the wiser. Plus, even if they were the wiser, who would want to take me in to their secret headquarters smelling like urine and fecal matter?
So there I sat. Right across the street from my house with a back pack full of hard drives and my laptop, smelling like the floor of a men’s restroom at a park. I felt safe. That was a short lived feeling though.
Within minutes, MiB types pulled up in black, unmarked cars and did a sweep of my building, talking into their wrists and holding their fingers to their ears. They got in my apartment very easily. I was surprised. It was almost like the door unlocked itself with magical powers before they got to it. I could hear them destroying my meager belongings; something I should have done long ago anyway. Expect for the Keurig. I liked the Keurig. I wanted to keep the Keurig.
I pretended to be asleep and I would yell out obscenities that made no sense just to keep true to my new character. I yelled stuff like, “That egg fucked me there too you know!” and “Horse balls in your monkey dick you cunt sucker!” I was pretty sure I had them fooled.
They were in and out in no time flat. They then made a perimeter around my building like they were not only waiting for me, but for someone or “something” else. Just then, a black Hummer pulled up and that’s when I first saw them.
There were about four of them I think if I remember correctly. They looked like they were dressed in a fashion between a SWAT team and the SS. It was frighting. They were in all black. They had arm bands on with a yellow arrow/smile, on the other arm, the band read KDP. Above the heart were the words “Try Prime” in blue. They had on fancy hats that made them look like important captains that had a lowercase “a” on them. They marched up to the guys from MiB. The MiB men stood at attention and saluted the “a” team.
I tried dreadfully hard to listen to what they were saying. I couldn’t make anything out until one of them slammed his foot down and exclaimed, “Find him! Failure is not an option!” The “a” team huddled together by the hood of the Hummer. One of them walked briskly back to the Hummer and pulled out a Kindle Fire HD. It looked like a model that hadn’t been released. I was impressed. His fingers quickly flew over the screen gracefully which when juxtaposed with his hardened face, full of deep lines sent terror down my spine.
“What was he doing?” I wondered. Then I quickly remembered something. I unplugged my computer, but didn’t turn it off. My heart sank deep down into my perineum.
“BEEEP! BEEEEP! BEEEEEEP!” screamed my laptop at a volume I have never heard before.
“There he is!” yelled one of the “a” team.
The “a” team and the MiB chased me around the corner and all those years of masturbation being my only form of exercise, finally caught up with me. My backpack went flying into the air when I tripped. In slow motion, I saw my backpack becoming gravity’s bitch. The sound of the metal smashing together as it hit the newly paved road broke my heart. One and a half seconds later when the U-Haul moving truck ran my backpack over is when I cried real tears of loss, pain and disbelief.
The tears made it extremely hard to make out what kind of hard blunt object the “a” team hit me on the bridge of my nose with. But while I lay there on the sidewalk, unconscious, a peace came over me. I was finally done with this wonderful, beautiful yet terrifying secret. The nightmare started though, when I woke up.
That happened in a small gray room with one door, one window and one dim light hanging above my head. I tried to wipe my eyes but quickly found out that I was tied to the chair. I tried to speak and said, “wha da fa s oin un?” That’s when it became clear to me, that I had been beaten badly. I saw that the window was black, which meant there were people behind it. Fear hit. I urinated all over myself for the second time in one day. An achievement I hadn’t obtained since I was four.
I heard footsteps. These footsteps were in the room with me. They were getting closer. Out of the darkness came a man. He was one of the “a” team; the one who was in charge. He walked over to me. He removed his hat and put it under his arm. He took off his black gloves pulling them off one finger at a time. I will never forget what he said to me. In a deep, raspy, eastern European voice he asked me this question. He asked, “Did you pre-order 12th of Never yet?”
“Excuse me?” I tried to ask, but it came out in garbled balderdash.
“James Patterson’s new book. Did you pre-order it yet?”
“No.” I said in a very confused tone.
“You really should. It will be quite good.”
The door opened and in walked more “a” team members, a couple of the MiB and some old white men in suits. It was hard to see their faces, but their voices I recognized. I squinted to try to make them out to no avail.
“You found a flaw in our programming. For that we thank you. But what you did, cannot go unpunished.”
“Can I see a lawyer please?” I tried to mumble out.
This was received with laughter. Then one of the old white men said, “Oh no son. We cannot let you leave. Letting people go who have seen what you have seen has bit us in the ass one time too many. We don’t need another wikileaks crap fest on our hands.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Be that as it may, the Patriot Act gives us full authority to basically do whatever the fuck we want with terrorist scumbags like you.”
The head of the “a” team spoke next, “When we received the e-mail from Gmail and clicked it, it crashed the site.”
Then an old white man spoke, “Amazon! You crashed the best e-commerce site in the world!”
Another man spoke, “The third largest search engine you shit!”
“I still don’t understand.”
The man from the “a” team tried to clear it up. “The e-books you stole were immediately shown in our system as “Also Boughts”, and our servers couldn’t understand how you also purchased everything in our library, and in trying to put all of you Also Boughts on every page of Amazon, brought it crumbling down in an instant.”
“In doing so, you also launched a nuclear warhead at China. China!” This man rushed me with his fists up in the air but was quickly pulled back into the darkness by the MiB agents.
Another man spoke, “Luckily for you and luckily for America, we were able to intercept it over the Pacific. But now they know dammit! Now they know what we have and what we are pointing at them!”
“Years of phony baloney peace talks and hand shaking and photo ops, for what?” said another man who’s voice sounded so familiar.
“I don’t understand. All I wanted was free e-books.”
“Fuck this piece of shit! Let him rot.” Then they all left except the one from the “a” team that was pushing Patterson on me.
“Please, explain how missiles were launched. I don’t understand, I just wanted free books.”
“Poor, poor man. Don’t you understand? You no longer have a government. Amazon makes all the decisions for your country. And soon all others will follow. We keep old fat white men and your Obama around to keep the image of safety for those of you who are too weak to be able to handle to the change. Amazon is America. Amazon is Earth.”
I didn’t know what to say. “Please let me speak to someone, a lawyer or anything. Please!”
“I will add that to your wish list.”
The door shut.
What happened over the next six months was a witch hunt, making me public enemy number one. I was the scapegoat. The world cheered in unison when I was sentenced to death. During this time too, Apple lost all their court cases. If Apple was the body of the devil, I was its head. Many attempts on my life were made. None were successful. Since I wasn’t allowed to speak during my trial, I am hoping this account of what really happened may get into some hands of those who want to fight the future or stand up for what is right, or just plan tell the world that democracy is dead, that communism will never work and that Amazon rules the world.
I will soon be lying dead on a table; the world will all be able to see this happen online. It will be free to Amazon Prime members. How can the world not see what is happening? How can they not see the democracy has been traded in for e-commerce? How indeed. I’m glad I won’t be here to see what happens next. I hope in the afterlife, I can just sit and read and shit. Peacefully.