Pastry bandits deliver just desserts to Gates, fellow techno cohorts

When Bill Gates' face collided with a pie in Belgium, the incident illustrated
something that even the Winter Olympics was unable to show: There are events that unite
the world in moments of victory and satisfaction.


The Rat wishes that he had lent a paw in the custard cake flinging. Alas, he was tied
up here in the States, setting up LAN and WAN connections for a temporary office.


Of course, now that two guys pied Bill, we have proof that even the most lofty among
the digerati are vulnerable to pastry-shop terrorism.


The cyberrodent is certain that Bill's entartment was only the opening volley. Through
some old Yippie contacts, the Rat made inquiries about a possible banana-cream crime wave.


The whiskered one's contacts did not fail him. Shortly after a few well-placed
telephone calls, a Che Guevara look-alike passed the Rat a note in the Senate cafeteria.
The note suggested that the Rat show up at an Italian pastry stand in Union Station at
11:00 p.m., order two tall cappuccinos and two cannoli, and wait.


At precisely 11:00, the Rat placed his order. The barista handed him the coffee, placed
the cannoli in a bag and closed the stand.


"Follow me," he said in a stage whisper. He escorted the Rat to a table in
the food court occupied by three ordinary-looking, middle-aged commuters. Too
ordinary-looking, the Rat thought.


The barista introduced himself. "I'm Jean Claude Poupon of the Gloupier Front of
North America. These are my operatives, Creme Brulee, Napoleon and Flan."


The Rat asked, "So, were you involved in the pastrification of Bill?"


"No, but we provided logistical support," Flan said. "That was the
Belgian cell's operation. But we had operatives there to observe, as trainees."


The Rat shot back, "Trainees? So you're planning operations here?"


Jean Claude grimaced. "We've already had several operations, but they were less
than successful. That's why we responded to your inquiries."


This piqued the Rat's curiosity. "And why's that?" he asked.


"We've been planning a Unaflaner campaign for some time," Napoleon said.
"Some of our targets have proven difficult. Steve Jobs, for example, seems to have
some sort of protective field around him."


The Rat replied, "That would be his reality distortion field."


They nodded. "Every pastry we fling at him somehow turns into a marketing
strategy," Creme Brulee said. "Then it looks to everyone else in the world like
they've gotten a pie to the face."


Poupon said, "We call it the Emperor's New Pastry Effect."


"Then there's Larry Ellison," Flan lamented. "He's so slippery that
anything we try to hit him with slides off with no effect."


The cyberrodent nodded in sympathy.


"So how do we get to them?" Napoleon asked. "How do we defeat their
defenses?"


The Rat thought for a moment. "Well, with Ellison, the best way is to disguise the
pastry as a network computer and put it on stage at a media event. He's bound to put it in
his own face before he's through."


"And Jobs?" they asked in unison.


"As for him, I'd disguise a banana cream pie as a chief executive officer
candidate. The risk is that he gives the pie the job."


The Gloupiers scribbled notes furiously. "Excellent," Poupon cried.


"I'm curious," the Rat said. "Who else is on your list of targets?"


"Well," Flan said and frowned, "we're still trying to identify high
visibility targets. Anyone who elevates technology to the level of religion is a potential
gloupee. Do you have any suggestions?"


The Rat grinned. He did. He did indeed.


The Packet Rat once managed networks but now spends his time ferreting out bad packets
in cyberspace. E-mail him at rat@gcn.com.


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