PACKET RAT

Eye of Rat is stirred into a witch's brew that conjures a corner office

By R. Fink


The Rat has always said it would take black magic to get him into a corner office. As it turns out, he wasn't far off.

In his last musings, the cyberrodent related how he sprang a trap on his department head for hacking the agency Web site'under the man's own password'in a futile attempt to discredit the whiskered one just before a performance review.

This week the Rat is dishing up bits from the very office that once belonged to his so-called superior. His furry hind paws rest on the mahogany desk, and the title of acting department head is on the doorplate.

Believe it. The cyberrodent ascended to the corner office after the strange disappearance of its former inhabitant, who has not been seen since security peeled him off the inside of the door after he was trapped in the office all night.

Even the legal authorities who came by to collect the missing manager's access logs and personal effects didn't know his whereabouts. All they could say is that, when last seen, the erstwhile department head had been ranting about something he called 'the Blair witch.'




Aside from the stick figures and odd piles of rocks lying around the mahogany desk that fateful morning, there was nothing else authorities would share with the concerned but somewhat furry second-in-command.

The wirebiter wants to set one thing straight with his faithful readers. Information technology may indeed be a dark art, but the only summoning the Rat did that night involved software demons. He has been unable to determine what caused certain anomalies in his webcam feed.

He did observe, however, that the anomalies included a high number of hits on the Web site the two ratlings have set up in tribute to a low-budget horror movie now sweeping through art film houses.

Whatever the reason, the Rat and his underlings missed the best part of the evening's entertainment. When they assessed the damage the next day, they were more than slightly unnerved.

'Wow, that monitor is toast,' one of the whiskered one's acolytes said as he gazed at a smoking flat-screen display. 'What could have done that?'

'He never would part with that Zenith,' the Rat said. 'I've put out more fires than I care to remember when the Flyback transformer went in that thing.'

The PC was also out of commission. The Rat opened the case and smelled the ozone from surge-fried electronic components. But the surge suppressor and other plugged-in components were undamaged.

Cereal hex

After a brief inquiry into the circumstances leading to the department head's disappearance, the agency undersecretary could draw only one conclusion: 'He went Fruit Loops.' Having no one else handy to tag with the job, he appointed the furry one as interim chief. Looking about the scorched office, he added, 'Consider it a battlefield commission.'

But the cyberrodent had seen enough to know that this was more than just the work of his security scripts. He did what any rational being would do. He went out and bought a case of garlic, votive lights and a bundle of wooden stakes. Then he called the facilities manager and asked to have his new office renovated.


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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