Subject: Phil Good, P.I., in "The Big Sweep"
Date: Wed, 27 Aug 1997 21:38:53 +0200
From: Stig Oppedal 

My name is Good. Phil Good. That=92s both my name and my motto. Off hours
you can find me down at Happy Harry=92s, hanging out with my pals Magnum,
Hipflask, and Dice. Those jokers are always loaded, unlike this other
guy I know, Mr. Wallet. I work hard, and I play hard. I=92m a private eye.

Yesterday morning I was minding my own non-existent business, when some
fresh-faced college boy stumbled into my office. Goddammit, why can=92t
these geniuses just read the sign that says "No bra, no service". Take
it from me, dime-store novels that open with "It all started when a
classy dame came into the joint" are just pure fiction. I jotted down a
quick memo to myself: "Change the sign to =91No brain, no service=92 and see
if that helps".

"Look, friend, I have a new =91broads only=92 policy," I said, while
pointing to the sign (and the door), "so if you=92ll excuse me..."

"Even though I=92m an r.s.s.er, I can still read, OK. I wouldn=92t be here
if it wasn=92t an emergency. My name=92s Stig, I=92m a United supporter" he
stated, disregarding my disregard. "The word on the super-highway is
that the lamest post on r.s.s. is out to frazzle my brain. I need you to
track it down for me."

"Ariel Mazzarelli handles those cases. Take the bus to the seedy side of
town, find the most run-down bar imaginable, walk past the drunken--"

"Hey, do I look like a newbie? I already checked that place out. Ariel=92s
on vacation. I need an investigator. NOW."

"Well, kid, I need booze," I replied. "NOW. But with you hanging around
I won=92t get any, so I=92ll take your case if you stay outta my face. Now
beat it."

I didn=92t let on, but I was intrigued by the kid=92s story. Lately there
had been a number of unexplained disappearances, people just vanishing
without a trace, never to be heard from again. Could there be a
connection with this r.s.s. racket? I got on the phone and spread the
word to my informants to be on the lookout. I put on my hat and coat and
was about to leave when the sound of broken glass flew through the room.
I walked over and picked up a large rock. As expected, there was a note

> [Stig=92s] vociferous support for an English team is suspicious, as he
> is Norwegian.

Thanks, but no thanks, pal. I already had the dope on my client: a red
devil addict since 1984 - nobody=92s perfect. But it was obvious that
someone was trying to scare me off the case. If they had sent the rock
C.O.D., with Ben Franklin as the delivery boy, I might have listened. As
it was they=92d have to come up with something more than lame accusations.

I dropped by the place where every good investigation starts: Happy Harry=92s.
Harry was an old-time barkeeper, just glad to serve the firewater and keep
the change, but his eyes and ears were always open. You could count on him
to come up with a refreshing new angle.

"I=92ll have the usual, Harry. By the way, what can you tell me about

"Learning doesn=92t teach men to have sense," he replied enigmatically,
while placing a glass in front of me. "Anyway, I sought for myself, so
why can=92t you?" Yeah, yeah, I was only asking, no need for the moral
lecture. Harry knew what I really sought and poured me a shot of
Drambuie - and if _that_ isn=92t refreshing, I don=92t know what the hell

One of Harry=92s employees, a frizzled ex-hippie by the name of Chuck, was
on my payroll. Chuck pocketed the opiates I paid him with and told me
what I wanted to know. "R.s.s. threads repeat themselves," he concluded,
"the first time as tragedy and the next five thousand times as farce."
It seemed like I would have to avoid some deadly traps in my search.

After conducting an exhaustive investigation at Harry=92s I had to take a
leak. Over in the restroom corner stood a vaguely familiar figure.
Recollection hit me like a hangover on New Year=92s Day: it was none other
than small-time con artist Larry Pearson, a.k.a. "Confused Dumbo",
a.k.a. "Demented Dumbo", a.k.a. "Jumbo Dumbo". Dumbo wasn=92t the smartest
of conmen, but he was a tenacious psychopath and generally regarded as a
menace to society. It sounded to me like he was performing a monologue
to the urinals. Perhaps he was practicing on an upcoming scam; perhaps
he just couldn=92t get a life.

> [5 MB of the usual mix of arrogance, warped logic, generic insults,
> and delusions of grandeur space-savingly snipped]
>Again you reveal your true thoughts. Scotland rising above England - can;t
>have that. MU inferior to Rangers - can't have that. Name me one expert
>that would not rate Laudrup, Thern, Goram or a handful of other s as
>amongst the best players in the world. Rangers now have better players than
>MU. Your petty jealousy is actually amusing. So too is the sheer banaility
>of your arguments.

A dozen experts immediately sprang to mind, but they weren=92t needed.
Some crackpots can simply be dismissed off-hand like a "blind" beggar who
knows when to say "Thank you, sir" and "Thank you, ma=92am." Dumbo=92s
routine was just too obvious to be a threat to anyone.

Next stop was the Lonely Hearts Escort Club. The manager there was one
Manny the Midget, a leery pip-squeak with a big brain and a forehead to
match. The Midget had called in with a possible lead, but now his less
than coherent statements were only about the differences between the way
something really is and the way that something appears. Without breaking
off he suddenly nodded towards a private cubicle in the back. I turned,
I saw, I shuddered: Benaldo, the shadowy snake oil salesman from
Middlesbrough, had connived some people into listening to him. According
to rumor Benaldo had bored more people to death than Fabio Capello. I
took my chances and sneaked over to eavesdrop.

> [3 MB of wind-blowing deleted]
>May I also remind you that everyone wrote Milan off after the disastrous
>1995-1996 season, we signed Weah and pissed our way to the Championship.

Benaldo was clearly a big-league operator now. I wondered how much money
he had contributed to Weah's signing - and whether it was a gift or
merely a short-term loan. Though he had cloaked himself in a pretense of
knowledge and an air of authority, I could still see the scars from
numerous tattoo-removal operations. His threads were strictly the
emperor=92s new clothing. I crossed him off the list of suspects.

Out on the streets I bumped into my old pal Marc =91the Narc=92, head
honcho of one of the meanest crime syndicates in town - the police
force. Marc was one of those guys who just didn=92t give a damn about
anything, and he proved less than sympathetic to my client=92s

"There=92s no better comfort in the face of death than to think of the
surroundings you=92re leaving, and the characters you=92ll no longer have to
mix with," he declared. As if to prove his point, a lunatic suddenly
walked over and shouted in my face:

 Subject: Spiderman/Comics/Marvel Universe
 Date: Mon, 25 Aug 1997 10:24:24 GMT
 From: govindh2@superbowl.und.ac.za (Himal Govind)
 Newsgroups: rec.sport.soccer

 Would anyone out there with access to any pics of spiderman and his
 enemies please e-mail them to me!!      bassam@mtb.und.ac.za

 I would be happy to corresspond with any of u!! Please help!!

 Hasta la pasta!!!!

"When you contemplate the weariness of an existence in company so
discordant," Marc cheerfully added when the goon had left, "you cry,
=91Come quickly, Death.=92"

I had to admit that he had a point, but I needed something more tangible
than a philosophical attitude. Marc just shrugged and went off to plan
his next shakedown.

Back at the office I found a note from Virgil O=92Marrow, my most
dependable stool pigeon. The poor sap was hooked on these =91golden
leaves=92 that only I could supply him with, so he was always eager to
help out on a case. As per his message I met him at midnight outside the
entrance to an illicit back-alley club. After I forked over the leaves,
he took me downstairs - down to the underworld, down to where the lowest
forms of human life gathered on a regular basis: the rec.sport.soccer
Double-Digit IQ Society. O=92Marrow gave the password (=91ignorance=92),
vouched for my inanity, and led me inside.

It didn=92t take long to realize that O=92Marrow and I had stumbled onto
something big. It began when an informant planted some misinformation
from the mob, and via the doomed efforts of an undercover cop it ended
up in a frenzy of yawn-inducing sexual innuendo. It wasn=92t RSS Post Of
The Week; it was RSS Thread Of The Week.

 Subject: I wonder if......
 Date: Sun, 17 Aug 1997 21:00:17 GMT
 From: Snaps@kavana.u-net.com (Snaps)

 I wonder if fans of Newcastle United (and all the other second-placed
 teams in the Bring A Friend League) realise that if they get knocked out
 of the EC1 next week then their European season will be over. They will
 *not* be entered into the UEFA Cup.

 It was news to me, but it's apparently true. That should spice things up
 for the Croatian game.

 Date: 18 Aug 1997 19:17:00 GMT
 From: "Chris Applegate" 

 You're wrong Snaps. There have to be 64 teams in the UEFA Cup 1st Round -
 and the seeds and qualifiers have already been organised. There have to be
 16 losers from the Champions Cup Qualifying Round to complete the set -
 otherwise the system won't work properly. Julie J and Lee can sleep safely
 in their beds.

 Date: Tue, 19 Aug 1997 20:13:50 +0100
 From: Julie J 
 Organization: WillyNilly

 In article <01bcac05$3b356420$LocalHost@the-computeer>, Chris Applegate
 >Julie J and Lee can sleep safely
 >in their beds.
 I sleep safely in my bed, I can't speak for Lee :D
 Julie J

 Date: Thu, 21 Aug 1997 12:13:04 +0100
 From: Blue Moon 

 In article , Julie J
 >I sleep safely in my bed, I can't speak for Lee :D
 Well come on Lee, do you sleep safely in Julie's bed?  :o)
     _(  )_
    // ^^ \\
   ()|    |()
   \\( )( )//
     | || |

 Date: Fri, 22 Aug 1997 13:56:44 +0100
 From: Julie J 

 In article , Blue Moon
 >Well come on Lee, do you sleep safely in Julie's bed?  :o)
 Don't be silly Blue Moon, that's not what I meant and you know it :o)
 Anyway if Lee was in my bed, who says we'd be sleeping ;o)
 Julie J

 Date: Tue, 26 Aug 1997 09:12:45 +0100
 From: richard ahl  
 [BTW, Rich, it's nice to see you've been reunited with your family name]

 Julie J wrote:

 > In article , Blue Moon
 >  writes
 > >Well come on Lee, do you sleep safely in Julie's bed?  :o)
 > Don't be silly Blue Moon, that's not what I meant and you know it :o)
 > Anyway if Lee was in my bed, who says we'd be sleeping ;o)
 > --
 > Julie J

 I expect to see a breathless Lee posting here shortly.

 Date: Tue, 26 Aug 97 20:16:46 GMT
 From: Lee Banyard 

 richard ahl (richard.ahl@bbc.co.uk) wrote:

 : I expect to see a breathless Lee posting here shortly.

 ... ...


 Lee B

 "Shit!  Did you see that?  He must
 have a foot like a traction engine!"

 - Alan Partridge, commentator

My instincts were to smoke the entire gang, but I wasn=92t licensed to
killfile. What=92s more, hoards of like-minded simpletons were now pouring
into the speakeasy. It wouldn=92t be long before my cover was blown. I was

O=92Marrow came to the rescue. "There=92s an exit in the back," he urgently
whispered, "a secret door marked
http://www.risc.uni-linz.ac.at/non-official/rsssf/rssbest.html. Go
through there, turn right, and you=92ll find your way out. And next time I
want double the number of leaves, you cheapskate." In your dreams,
O'Marrow, in your dreams.

After escaping from the den of depravity, I drove up to my client=92s
condo and filled him in on the caper. The kid wasn't the least fazed. He
snapped his fingers and two gunmen appeared quicker than a pair of aces
at a high-stakes poker game. I recognized them at once: Drillo and
Fergie, a.k.a. the "Men in Red". The kid dispatched them to take care of
the Double-Digit IQ Society. For my part, I considered the case closed -
firmly closed - and I drove back home to Harry=92s place for a drink.