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TUCoPS :: Cyber Culture :: msorrow.txt

The Story of Midnight Sorrow





WARNING: THIS STORY IS OBSCENELY LONG, SO IF YOU DON'T HAVE TIME TO READ IT,
         OR HAVE LITTLE TOLERANCE FOR VULGARITY AND OBSCURE, WARPED HUMOR, 
         THEN PLEASE: GO AWAY.

                      ---------------------------------
                         THE STORY OF MIDNIGHT SORROW 
                      (...in case you were wondering...) 

                    By Mitchel Waas, aka Midnight Sorrow 

             An almost entirely accurate retelling of events which
              actually took place within the author's early years.


                       Originally written on 22 June 1991.

                    With addendums and afterthoughts dated
                 02 December 1993, 08 July 1996, 05 February 2000.

               Converted to text by Jason Scott of TEXTFILES.COM
                      ----------------------------------


GLOSSARY OF TERMS USED IN THIS DOCUMENT:

Previously, the author simply used inserted comments and notes to explain terms
which were used, which may not necessarily be commonplace knowledge to laymen
or normal, non-geek members of society. Unfortunately, after numerous revisions,
the inserted comments and notes often were more verbose than the original text
itself. Thus, it was decided, at long last, to simply create a glossary at the 
beginning of the document, to help any newbies come to terms with unfamiliar 
jargon or slang.  Within the story itself, any words which may be found within 
this glossary will be highlighted in italic print. Enjoy!

;-) - an emoticon, or emotional icon, representing a smiley face. Pretty much 
      even newbies should know this one by now.

BBS - an acronym for Bulletin Board System - a place where geeks chat amongst
      themselves, basically a computerized bulletin board (hence the name) 
      where users "posted" messages (think of a post-it note) on a remote 
      computer. Other users would dial in via their modems, and read the 
      messages posted, an then post their own in response. Also a great 
      source of trading pirated software via the online archives.  Basically,
      BBSes are what the internet was, before the internet existed. The author
      of this paper, in fact, still operates his BBS, Infinite Darkness, 
      which has been running since October 1989 - though it is an entirely 
      legal venture these days, mostly used to keep in contact with the older
      members of the computer scene, and just to chat back and forth
      with his friends, almost all of whom fondly remember the heyday of the
      BBS scene, which was in 1994, when virtually every new person to a 
      computer would soon be calling BBSes at the behest of his or her friends.

C-64 - abbreviation of commodore 64.

card - one of the more insidious computer crimes of the 80s; using someone 
       else's credit card to order merchandise. nearly impossible to do these
       days, but back then, it was easy - find an empty house (preferably 
       without a for sale sign) in a lower middle class neighborhood (where no
       one pays any attention to unknown people driving around). get the 
       credit card numbers (which were easily available on any underground 
       bbs at that time), and order your merchandise. no one knew about
       such things back then, so no one ever tried calling the owner of the 
       credit card to verify the order, no one got suspicious when you 
       specified a different shipping address from the address the credit 
       card was billed to, even if you asked for overnight shipping, and most
       importantly, Fed Ex and UPS would routinely leave packages in front of 
       an empty house without requiring a signature or getting in any way 
       remotely suspicious. So you'd order your stuff, then just cruise by 
       the house once every few days, go up to the front door and pick up the 
       packages... Voila!  Instant new computer... or Vuarnet sunglasses... 
       or whatever... anything you wanted. The author of this particular 
       story didn't get busted for carding at all, which is something that 
       he did DOZENS of times from 1986-1989, without a single hitch. 

Commodore 64 - one of the more popular early 80s computer systems, an
               inexpensive alternative to the IBM PC or Apple II series. 
               later versions were called the commodore 64c, then the 
               commodore 128, finally the amiga, which had quite a rabidly
               loyal following until Commodore's demise in the mid-90s.

disk drive - still used today in a 3.5" format, back then the disks were 
             floppy disks, 5.25" or even 8" wide plastic disks used for 
             software storage.

floppy disks - aka diskettes, called floppies because, unlike today's hard 
               plastic computer disks, these were a softer, bendable plastic.

floppy drive - another name for a disk drive. This name was eventually (and
               somewhat obviously) phased out once floppy disks were no longer 
               floppy, using a hard plastic instead of a softer one, floppy 
               drives just became disk drives.

h/p - the computer scene characterized by hacking and phreaking, and other
      invasive computer crimes.

hacker - someone who illegally gains access into another computer system,
         typically just for kicks, sometimes (rarely) for malicious intent. 
         access was typically gained by using a "wardialer" (aka Wargames 
         Autodialer; see the 80s flick War Games for more info) to dial a 
         long series of phone numbers, noting which ones were answered by 
         another computer. The hacker would then dial into the computers, 
         and try to gain access. Certain computer types had certain
         weaknesses (called "exploits") which were commonly known and traded 
         within the underground community, so oftentimes once you knew how to
         get into one computer, you could get into every OTHER computer of the 
         same type. The author of this paper was also a major hacker during 
         the time of the writing of this story, though he never once got 
         busted for that, either. 

handle - the alias a person uses to mask their true identity; in the bbs years 
         of computers, mostly used by members of the underground. The author 
         of this paper never really cared about such things, so even when he 
         was using the handle "Midnight Sorrow", the majority of the members 
         of the computer scene typically just called him "Mitch."

hard drive - still used today, the internal storage mechanism on a computer, 
             called this because, similar to a floppy disk, it uses a 
             revolving platter to store your data, though unlike a floppy 
             disk's bendable surface, a hard drive's platter is typically
             constructed of a ceramic and/or metal composite.. And yes, you 
             are TRULY a newbie if you didn't know this term. ;-)

Hard Hat Mack - a very early clone of the arcade game Donkey Kong. Hard Hat
                Mack was made by Electronic Arts, a software company which 
                still exists today.

newbie - a person who is inexperienced with computers. also known as an
         AOL'er, a lamer.

phreak - someone who exploits the telco to obtain free phone calls, or other
         exploits of the telephone service. The more knowledgable phreakers 
         typically used hardware devices (called boxes, or phreak boxes) to 
         tap into the telephone networks, and actually reprogram their lines 
         to offer different services, or not charge them for long distance 
         service, or think the line was onhook when it was really in use, 
         etc. The author of this paper never really delved too deeply into 
         the phreaking scene, mostly just limited his phreaking to the use of 
         other person's calling card numbers to gain free long distance 
         service, and that was about it.

phreak boxes - Not really covered in this document, just included for
               completeness, "boxing" was one of the more popular hardcore 
               computer crimes of the 80's and very early 90s. People used 
               a Black Box to trick the telephone into thinking that a phone 
               call you had made was still ringing, even though it had been 
               answered, so you could sit talking on a long distance call 
               and never be charged for it. Apparently this was a VERY 
               popular thing in the Mafia of the 80's.  There was a Blue Box,
               which allowed you to "surf" between the major telephone
               networks of the time, crossing continents with ease and 
               operate a telephone just like a switchboard operator, splicing
               calls together and dialing ANYWHERE on the planet for no 
               charge. Then there was the consummately popular Red Box,
               which duplicated the tones made by a pay phone, allowing you 
               to place your red box next to a telephone (or next to the 
               telephone handset), press a few buttons, and instantly place 
               a long distance call with a single coin. There were literally
               DOZENS of other boxes, almost all color-coded for no particular
               reason (that the author can discern, at least - maybe there IS
               a reason, but he certainly doesn't know of it), but those were
               the Big Three boxes of 80s phreaking. Now, almost all of 
               these boxes are useless, since back then, lines were all 
               analog, connected by switches and easily tricked into believing
               the tones you made were instead legitimate tones. Now, 
               everything is electronic, and installing circuitry to detect
               fraud is far easier, and thus, making phreaking not impossible,
               simply VASTLY more difficult than it had been.

pirate - someone who trades illegal copies of software via disk or modem, 
         instead of going out and buying a legitimate copy. This is the one 
         and only computer crime that the author of this paper continued to do 
         for a number of years after the original ending of this paper, 
         finally ceasing ALL computer crime in mid-1994, shortly after the 
         passing of his father, George Julian Waas. In addition, this is
         pretty much the only computer crime which is still in widespread 
         usage today, particularly due to the advent of high speed internet 
         connections. Typically, the only way pirate will ever get busted is 
         by selling the software he is pirating, or being a very visible 
         member of the scene. Infinite Darkness, the author's BBS, was in 
         the early to mid-90s, one of the biggest and most well-known warez 
         bbses in North America. After the advent of a publicly-accessible 
         internet, and the decreasing popularity of bbses, it was one of the 
         largest in the world, topping out at 16 dialin lines and over 120 
         gigabytes of online storage in early 1997. And no, the author was 
         never once busted due to his software piracy, either.

scene - a word typically used to refer to the computer underground, or, more
        commonly, one segment of the computer underground, such as the warez 
        scene, or the h/p scene.

tape drive - mostly used on C-64s and Apple II's, this extremely cheap storage
             format used ordinary cassette tapes for storage, as opposed to 
             floppy disks. as computers became more powerful, the tape drive 
             eventually was phased out, due to the inability of cassette tapes
             to handle the extremely high frequencies (and move at the vastly
             higher speeds) needed to store the larger and more powerful
             software applications. Even back in the early 80s, using a 
             tape drive was an incredibly archaic and haphazard storage 
             method; typical procedure was to make four separate copies 
             of your software on four different tapes, and then HOPE that
             one of the four copies was reliable. Yes, tape drives were 
             phased out by and large within a few years of their introduction
             to the public. :-)

telco - an abbreviation for the telephone company.

underground - any or all members of the computer world, involved in either
              piracy, hacking, or phreaking. basically interchangeable with 
              the word scene, or used in combination, ie: as a member of the
              computer underground scene, Midnight Sorrow was most adept 
              at hacking, and was quite popular within the warez scene as well.

warez - as in, "softwares", an elite-speak slang term used to refer to pirated
        software, or the pirated software scene.

...the end of your tutorial. and now, onto the story...

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

One dark, gloomy, and utterly foreboding day back in 1968, a hellish fiend was
born. Some called him 'Mitch', a truly ridiculous moniker for such a righteous
dude [Sorry. This text was created shortly after the release of Bill & Ted's
Excellent Adventure and Ferris Bueller's Day Off. I talked this way.], but one
name, and one name only, stuck in his brain. MIDNIGHT SORROW.

(Note: If you actually wanted to get technical, my original handle, back in the
Commodore 64 days, was The Whizard. When I switched to the IBM scene, I wanted
to start with a "clean slate", so-to-speak, so came up with a new handle,
Midnight Sorrow - and that's who I've been ever since.)

At this point, you are surely wondering, what the hell is this guy talking 
about?

Well, simply put, this is Midnight Sorrow's evolution:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Back in August of 1983, young Midnight Sorrow was a bumbling, drooling,
hopeless dork. He had no life, no direction, no goals, he was basically the same
as virtually every other high school sophomore. So he decided, "I am going to
find something good. Something worthwhile. Something ILLEGAL!" [Well, not
really, but literary license being what it isÖ] So he began watching all the
computer geeks programming, doing schoolwork, and most of all, playing
computer games on the Apple IIe's in the school library.

"Hmm...this has potential!" thought Midnight to himself. So, after a good month
or so of acquainting himself with the various computer dweebs, he insinuated
himself in front of one of the Apples. Disk in drive, he started playing Hard 
Hat Mack. "Wowee, this is great! Gotta get one of these! NOW!"

Sprinting home at a most frightful pace, Midnight got home, only to find his
father in a particularly hideously awfully bad mood. "Dad, dad DAD! Ya gotta
get me a computer! Ya gotta! Cmon pleez!" "Sure, sure, leave me alone. How
about a new game for your Atari?" (Midnight had one of those incredible
marvels of modern technology, the Atari 2600. He thought it was a piece of
shit.) "No dad, I GOTTA get me one of those Apples! They're too cool!"

After a good three to four solid hours (well minutes, actually) of haggling with
his father, he convinced him to get him a computer. On his birthday. In July.

On his birthday, eleven extremely agonizing months later, Midnight Sorrow and
father went off to the nearest Toys R Us [the computer and technology
haven that it is] to try and find a worthy system. Midnight Sorrow, being the
slightly spoiled, but highly imaginative young soul that he was, was thinking
along the lines of an Apple IIe, with dual floppy drives, possibly a hard drive,
and roughly a thousand blank disks for copying. Mr. Sorrow (Midnight's father)
had something altogether else in mind. He bought Midnight .... (drum roll
please) a COMMODORE 64! (with Tape drive yet, not even a disk drive!)

....FADE FORWARD A COUPLE SIXTEEN MONTHS....

It is now November, 1985. Midnight Sorrow now has his C-64, TWO disk
drives, over four hundred FILLED disks [gosh]; an altogether very adequate
system. However, he still remained unfulfilled. Talking with the other
computer folks in school, he came to the conclusion that the Commodore
was the wrong way to go. Sure, there were pirates all OVER the place, and
there were games for it up the ass. But it wasn't the greatest. He needed an
IBM. But what could he do? He had no job, no money, and only a miserable
$5 a week allowance. So he suffered with the knowledge that he was fucked,
doomed to use the Commodore 64 until he died of old age. [or got a job,
whichever came first]

....FADE FORWARD SEVEN MORE MONTHS....

Early June, 1986. Midnight Sorrow now has a C-64, a Commodore 64C, a
Commodore 128, two one megabyte disk drives (quite a treat on the
Commodore, since most games were less than 64k), four 1541 disk drives, a
1200 baud modem!! [absolutely cutting-edge technology for 1986, when
MOST people still suffered with 300 baud modems], and around one
thousand filled disks. He was now heavily into the illegal sector of
Commodore use. He had friends all over the United States, through which
contact was made possible by the use of other people's MCI, Sprint, and
Teltec calling-card access codes. His entire system was made possible by the
use of other people's MasterCard, Visa, and American Express numbers. He
was truly enjoying life. However, he was only weeks from graduating high
school. His parents expected him to go out of town, attend Florida State
University, get a nice shiny degree [in Molecular Biophysics, nonetheless],
get married, have three or four kids, and die a horribly wealthy man. Midnight
Sorrow, ever the impetuous youth, said "FUCK THAT!" So he decided to
go to FSU, become a school hero of dubious notoriety, while at the same
time becoming the disgrace of his family. (Well, he didn't really plan it that
way, that's just the way it turned out). "Oh well, I gotta goto college, I guess
I'll bring my computer there, it'll probably help out with my term papers and
everything," innocently thought Midnight Sorrow.

....FADE FORWARD THREE MONTHS....

September, 1986. Midnight Sorrow is now at FSU. He has been rather
halfheartedly attending his classes, instead preferring to stay at his dorm room
in Osceola Hall, and party his ass off. Last month, seeing that the monthly
contribution from his parents was definitely not going to cut it, Midnight
Sorrow decided to make a few extra bucks. He was now running a highly
profitable, very busy and successful typing service. If you are currently going
to college, you will know the extreme number of term papers you have to
write. One or two a week, many as long as 5000 words. All typed. Not fun,
even if you DO know how to type. Most typing services charge around
$2-$4 per typed page. Midnight charged $1 a page. His typing service was a
bonafide hit, and everyone was coming to him to get their papers typed. A
few weeks passed, and then, one fateful afternoon, a young fratboy came to
Midnight's dorm room. "Hey guy, wussup, hey man, you got any papers for
sale?" "FUCK YOU! Fuck off! Get the fuck outta my room ya stupid piece
of shit! Ya think I wanna get kicked out of school!?" innocently replied
Midnight Sorrow, not even aware of the idea already brewing in the darkly
malevolent depths of his subconscious....

It may not be very obvious to you, but it [eventually] was to him. Every
paper he typed, he saved on disk, in case the original paper's owner wanted
another copy or had some changes, or something. By this point, he had close
to two hundred assorted term papers filed away on disk. After a week of
some very serious thinking, Midnight Sorrow decided to contact that fratguy
and give him an affirmative answer.

....SKIP FORWARD ONE MONTH....

Midnight Sorrow's room now seems to be the source of some truly extreme
moneymaking. Stereo and computer equipment everywhere, and a rather
large record and compact disc collection seems to have sprung up out of
nowhere. He has now decided to quit class, and work at his "JOB" full-time.
He would still get the occasional person wanting their paper typed, but his
largest mode of moneymaking was from the OTHER type of student. The
desperate, "I'm about to fail my fuckin' class, damnit - I'LL PAY
ANYTHING!!!", type of student. "Sure buddy, not a problem. $10 dollars
per hundred words." And of course, a semi-wealthy, parent-financed student
(of which there are MANY at FSU), who's right on the verge of flunking out
of English 101, is often quite willing (and eager) to shell out $300 for an
A-quality term paper (Midnight Sorrow, you see, is OUTSTANDING in
English. It is far and away his best subject. Once he'd typed a paper in, he
went in and revised it, correcting grammar and other minutia, making it pretty
damn close to "A" quality.)

"So, what the hell did this stupid fuck do with all the money?" you are surely
asking yourself. Well, aside from the extreme quantity of CD's, disks and
electronic equipment he bought for himself, Midnight Sorrow was also the
'PARTY GOD' of Osceola Hall. He generally found himself the kind
benefactor of many an all-night party, often buying several cases of wine
coolers, a few pizzas, and a keg or two a night. Midnight Sorrow happily
went around in an extreme drunken stupor for the last three months of his first
college semester. Due to this, his judgment obviously wasn't exactly up to
par. [Gotta love the foreshadowing, eh?]

...SKIP FORWARD TO DECEMBER 10, 1986....

"Son, do you realize the problems you have caused? You have sold EIGHT
copies of the EXACT SAME TERM PAPER [Perseus and Agamemnon,
Greek Mythology] to students in the same class! And god only knows how
many other copies of that paper are wandering around campus! What do you
have to say for yourself?!?" angrily queried the Dean of something-or-other,
head of a hastily-convened board regarding this most devious miscreant,
Midnight Sorrow.

"Uhh, umm, err, well, y'see, umm...", replied Midnight Sorrow rather
eloquently, still hazing-n-dazing around through the depths of a most gigantic
hangover. Needless to say, they presented him with an ultimatum: Get the
fuck out of FSU, and never return, and we won't press charges. He left.

...SKIP FORWARD TO CHRISTMAS EVE, 1986...

Midnight Sorrow's parents still have no inkling of what their delightful son has
been up to for the past four months. They think that he is on 'Christmas
Break,' and will be returning to college in three weeks. Well, that's what they
thought. Until today. See Midnight Sorrow's father, a rather hulking mass of
265 pounds, all of six foot four, come smashing through the front door. "OK
you stupid shit, talk to me!" calmly said Midnight's father, as he cheerfully
pinned his son to the wall one foot off the floor. "How could you do this to
me! I'm a respected businessman in this town! You're going to ruin
EVERYTHING!" 

Needless to say, Midnight Sorrow neglected to remember a minor detail:
One of his sisters lives in Tallahassee, the location of FSU. She and her
husband are both extremely die-hard FSU fanatics, and alumni. Her
husband's father just happens to be the Dean of the Mathematics department
at FSU. Although he is seventy-two, and he wears a hearing aid, he just
happened to be at a faculty party, when a conversation trickled around about
this consummately evil student who sold countless copies of term papers at
FSU, and the neighboring TCC (Tallahassee Community College,
bonehead). Being the curious old fart that he is, he asked for the student's
name. And of course, he then called his son, his son called his wife, his wife
called her father, and her father came crashing through his own front door,
seriously contemplating murder [is it still called infanticide, even if the
infant is all grown up?].

Due to the extensive rumor-mongering and idle chatter regarding the incident,
a goodly amount of publicity was aroused. The FSU school newspaper [The
Florida Flambeau] printed a front page story relating the entire incident, in
extreme, gory detail. The local newspaper, the Tallahassee Democrat, then
picked up this story and ran a sub-headline on the bottom of page one. 

Then, that rather large news organization, Reuters, got wind of the story. The
New York Times, The Miami Herald, the Boston Globe, the San Francisco
Chronicle, and pretty much every major news forum from here to Upper
Mongolia ran a little story about that hideous abortion of society, Midnight
Sorrow, and his devilish deeds at Florida State. For obvious reasons, the
school board of FSU reneged on their verbal promise not to press charges,
and pressed charges.

Wrapping up this dandy situation, Midnight Sorrow eventually ended up
having to serve 120 hours of community service, by re-shelving books at a
local branch of the Broward County Library. End of story. Allís well that
ends well, all has been forgotten, so now Midnight Sorrow can live long and
prosper, get a job, get wealthy, get married, have kids, and live happily ever
after. 

Nope, sorry, not quite. 

....SLIDE FORWARD ANOTHER SIX MONTHS....

July, 1987. Midnight Sorrow has gotten rid of his Commodore 64, and taken
a little defective IBM-PC from his job as a computer repair technician's
assistant [at Inacomp Computer Centers, on Broward Boulevard in
Plantation, long since turned into a Blockbuster Video]. Due to his
connections at work, he was able to purchase a refurbished 330-meg hard
drive for around $150 [absolute fantastic price for that time - like getting
a 24 gig for $50 today]. He also purchased a rather complete system,
enabling him to enter the crime world of the IBM. He found this to be quite a
bit more fun than the dweebish lamer community surrounding the
Commodore, and thus found himself operating a highly-illegal BBS called
Deth Dunzhen (Pronounced, perhaps un-obviously, "Death Dungeon." The
reason for the spelling? Who knows).

Having just acquired a wonderful set of fifty sparkling credit card numbers, he
decided to go about attempting to sell them. He then posted a message,
accessible only to the "Highest Elite" members of his system (typically only
friends and close acquaintances), informing them of this fact. Unbeknownst to
him, his Co-Sysop was seriously unhappy with Midnight Sorrow's
participation in these highly illegal areas. Due to this fact, his Co-Sysop then
called up Crimestoppers and told them of Midnight Sorrow's heinously
anti-social activities. Crimestoppers then notified the Secret Service, who, at
that moment, just happened to be conducting an investigation into the South
Florida computer crime scene. 

Midnight's Co-Sysop then called up his board, downloaded the message,
and gave it to the Secret Service. One of their agents, at that point, logged
onto the system, saying that SHE heard about the credit cards from the
co-sysop, and was interested in purchasing. Sticking his entire foot in his
mouth, and showing absolute, complete, blind faith in that traitorous
cocksucking bastard, Midnight agreed to meet her, at a local Burger King,
that Saturday.

Seeing how seriously hot this girl was, Midnight Sorrow salivaically
overlooked his typical procedure of asking if she was a cop, fed, or a narc,
and simply wondered if he could get into her pants. Stupid. He then gave her
ten credit card numbers, selling them for $50 each. Exceedingly happy that
that scheme worked, Midnight Bonehead then went out and bought a pair of
Vuarnet sunglasses, twenty new CDs, and quite a bit of good computer
hardware.

Two days later, she called him back, saying how great those numbers were,
commenting on how they actually worked. She said she wanted to order
some major computer equipment, and asked if he knew of any place that
took fake card info without too much of a hassle. Midnight then said "Sure!"
and gave her the numbers of a few places that he had recently ordered from. 

Then she asked if it was possible to sell her some more numbers, meeting the
next Saturday, at the same Burger King. Of course, he mindlessly said
"Sure!", thinking to himself that he sure had a live one. She was probably
thinking the exact same thing.

Next Saturday, Midnight's parents were out of town, so he figured it'd be a
perfect weekend to smuggle large quantities of cash and computer equipment
into his room. Once at the appointed "rendezvous", he then told her that he'd
be glad to sell her twenty more credit card numbers, but for $75 each. She
said no problem, took the numbers, and slapped a pair of handcuffs on his
wrists. Taking out a tape recorder, and laughing at Midnight's splendidly
overt stupidity, she read him his rights. Making things even more hideous and
embarrassing, two cars slid in on each side of his car, and another pulled in
behind it, totally blocking him in, looking like something out of "Wargames". 

He was fucked. 

The feds then ripped Midnight out of his car, slammed him up against the
trunk, and frisked him rather unkindly. They then unlocked the handcuffs, put
his arms behind his back, and re-locked them [rather tightly] into place. At
that point, Midnight Sorrow was NOT a happy camper, particularly after
they THREW him into the back of one of their Fed special Crown Victorias.

The Secret Service agents then took Midnight to their domicile, at which
point he quite happily confessed to his crimes, and "narced" on some of his
enemies in the scene. They then informed Midnight that they had been
keeping tabs on him ever since his early C-64 days, and knew virtually
everything about him. To fully complete the young manís impending paranoia,
they pulled out a series of snapshots, seemingly randomly taken from outside
of his house. One, in particular, showed Midnight Sorrow on crutches,
limping his way to his father's Audi - which had been traded in almost two
years ago. (Spooky, isn't it?)

Anyway - Midnight was then unceremoniously thrown into jail. He called his
parents at the hotel they were vacationing at, and briefly, sobbingly, outlined
the situation. Midnight was then told that he could damn well rot in prison, for
all he'd put them through. Understandable, but still frustrating. After a 
rather, umm ... probing ... strip search, Midnight was then escorted to the Fort
Lauderdale prison's juvenile holding cell (not the adult cell, though, sigh of
relief), immediately having visions of being brutally raped by a 300-pound
brick wall of a black man named Leroy. As always, reality proved only
SLIGHTLY different.

Midnight Sorrow hung out with the other "inmates", and chatted with them for
a while. Most were not much older than he was at the time; the oldest was
around 25. Of the twelve people in the cell, ten were black, the other two
being a very frightened young Nicaraguan boy awaiting deportation, the other
being myself. After relating my story, they all seemed quite amused that
whitemeat was busted for some petty computer crime, while most of them
were in for grand theft auto, burglary, etc. 

Later that evening, Midnight Sorrow feasted upon a nice dinner of meatloaf,
string beans, mashed potatoes in gravy, corn bread, and some kind of sweet
roll/pastry kind of thing. All in all, FAR better than he usually ate at home
(Midnightís mother, you see, is a certified diet fanatic; "sugar-free fat-free
salt-free cholesterol-free" being almost a mantra around the house). Quite a
satisfying meal, all things considered. Midnight then went to sleep, woke up
the next morning, and just hung around, talking, playing cards, whatever. That
evening, around 5pm, Mr. Sorrow came and bailed him out.

Approximately a month later, the trial was scheduled. Midnightís father
shelled out some cash and hired some super high-powered Miami criminal
attorney. He talked with the DA, John Frusciante, who now happens to
reside on Fort Lauderdale's high court, and actually tried running for Mayor
once or twice. (Ain't life amazing?) Anyway, what it boiled down to was a
plea bargain. Midnight got called into the judge's chambers, at which point
the judge sternly promised young Midnight that if he EVER saw him in the
courthouse again, awaiting trial, Midnight would pray for a quick death.

A couple of months later, Midnight Sorrow got off with two years probation,
a prohibition from even TOUCHING a computer for the entirety of those
two years, a rather large fine, and a slap on the wrist warning him never to do
that again.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Addendum Number One:

Looking back on all of that, just judging by the sentencing, I would definitely
do it again. The only thing preventing me, is the extreme amount of
(emotional) pain I underwent when they confiscated all of my equipment,
leaving me with a pretty much empty room. (Guilt? Remorse? Nah, fuck
that.)

and here I am! My probation ended in October of 1989, and now I'm
back (and legal, fortunately).

lateron

Midnight Sorrow
June 22, 1991.

P.S.: They never took the CDs, stereo equipment, or the Vuarnets.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Addendum Number Two:

It is now somewhere over twenty nine months since the time I wrote the
original text. I'm still in the computer scene, quite a bit more grown up, and
dealing with things quite a bit more maturely (generally). I no longer phreak,
no longer hack, no longer card, and basically no longer even pirate. Virtually
my only current computer-related pastime, these days, is running my
network, CyberCrime. (Funny that the name probably would have been
more appropriate for me during the period outlined in this text, than it is now.)
Anyway... Some people would call me reformed, others would call me an
idiot, while still others would hail me as a hero (of sorts). Of course, half of
the things I did back then would be asinine to even consider attempting now,
with the advent of ESS, ANI, caller id, multi-faceted PIN numbers, hack
detection, instant credit card referencing, order call-backs, no
"drop-and-run" package deliverers, and extreme legislation against these
various crimes, making the penalties so much greater now than they were
then. Regardless, I would call myself none of the above. I would simply say I
grew up. Then again, my morals have never been what one would call
exemplary; only the thought of the consequences of a crime is what stops me
now. Regardless.....

I am now 25, the proud owner of a home, a car, and quite happy and
successful at my career. Still hoping to find a solid relationship, and biding my
time. These days, computers are merely a hobby for me, and not my LIFE.
Trying not to sound like a pompous, self-absorbed, head-in-the-sand,
reactionary prick, I'd simply like to warn all the "kids" in the scene - stay
cool, stay clean - don't try any bullshit, the penalties are simply not worth it.
True, the price I paid was low - but it wouldn't be any more - not to mention
the permanent marks those "indiscretions" left on my record.

Welp, I guess that's about it, folks. Thanks for reading, and thanks for caring.


lateron

Mitchel Waas
Midnight Sorrow
December 2, 1993.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

The (Not So) Final Addendum:

It is now July 8, 1996 - my 28th birthday, a good thirteen years since the
beginning of this story, and just under five years since the end of it. The
computer BBS scene is all but gone, what with the massive popularity (and
low cost) of the Internet. Gone with the BBS scene are virtually all major
forms of computer crime, though hacking is still a hobby for many (though the
price runs VERY high in event of a bust). Even piracy has been significantly
reduced, due to the ubiquity of CD-ROM-based programs (making it so
much more difficult to copy these HUGE programs than it was just ten years
ago, where even a TWO-disc program was rarely seen). Gone from my life
are all traces of computer crime - my only remaining infraction being the
occasional bit of piracy. My life is damn sweet, far better than outlined in the
previous addendum - an excellent career, outstanding social life, material
possessions enough to make even the most wealthy persons whimper in their
sleep - my life is pretty much complete, and losing even the least precious
part would be catastrophic beyond measure - NOW, even the THOUGHT
of doing any of the aforementioned crimes sends uncontrollable spasms up
my spine. Suffice it to say, Iím reformed. Today, Midnight Sorrow (the
pseudonym) exists only as a nickname for IRC use, as a link to the glory days
of yesteryear - as many of my fellow "oldsters" are encountered while
haunting the endless halls of the Internet. Midnight Sorrow (the person)
ceased to exist, in reality, shortly after my father passed away, in June of
1994, and now only exists in memories. Mitchel Waas is who I am, and Iím
damn proud of that fact, and of the name, and everything for which it stands
for.

Thus ends the saga of Midnight Sorrow.

lateronÖ for all eternity.

Mitchel Waas
July 8, 1996.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

The End.

It is now February 5th, the year 2000. It has been, oh my god, SIXTEEN
AND A HALF YEARS since the start of this story, just short of nine years
since the end of it, and life, oh yeah... life has most definitely changed. I read
over this story once every few months, and have to laugh. What a CHILD I
was back then! So obnoxious, so uncaring. But I guess that's the way of life,
and maturity, and all that it entails.

Sometimes I read over everything, and can't even believe it was me, it almost
sounds too crazy to believe in some parts, like something out of a movie, not
part of someone's life. But believe me, it happened. The memories are all still
quite vivid, though I still can't believe I did most of those things, and even
worse, of the things I never even wrote about, and GOT AWAY WITH.
Credit Card Theft? Pfah. Faithful readers, as Stephen King would say...
that's NOTHING. I was one hell of a bad kid, and I never thought, not even
once, about the consequences of what I was doing. I stole from people, I
lied, I cheated, I destroyed private property, etcetera. Granted, it was pretty
much all done from a distance, but still... I never once thought, or even cared,
about who I was hurting with everything I was doing. My only consolation?
At least I never murdered anyone. Cold comfort, I suppose.

I guess you know you're mature, when you stop wishing you could go back
and right the wrongs, and start looking for ways to improve yourself,
DESPITE the things you've done in the past. Work around your flaws, know
yourself for what you can and cannot do, and improve more than just
yourself, but the world around you as well. For so many years, I've looked
back on what I've done in the past as a sort of "badge of honor," a means of
thumbing my nose at the world, and saying "FUCK THE
ESTABLISHMENT!"

Yeah, well, that's all fine and great... except that when you grow up, you
BECOME the establishment. No one ever tells you these things when you're
a kid. Why's that? Probably because even if you WERE told this, you
wouldn't listen anyway, or would scoff the advice, say "yeah yeah, whatever
old man, just leave me alone." So, I look over my past, with infinite chagrin,
and with each new day, try and do something good, something selfless,
something generous or kind or altruistic in some way, to help make up for the
bad things I've done. My ultimate goal? Bring a son of mine into this world,
and raise him to become an even better person than I am, than I ever will be.
Raise him to scorn the bad deeds which I cherished in my youth, and teach
him to love the world and everyone, everything in it. That is why I'm here,
and I have absolutely no doubt about that fact.

A week doesn't go by where I haven't pondered at least once, "What would
I be doing today, if all of this hadn't happened?" Where would I be, if I hadn't
been kicked out of Florida State University, if I hadn't been arrested by the
US Secret Service? I think about these things, and realize, life is good. I run a
moderately successful business, make a damn good living, and truly love life
and everything that it holds. I love the outdoors more than I ever had
previously, I love the ocean and all living things, hold life as something to be
cherished, not squandered, and feel genuinely at peace with myself and the
world around me. Regrets? No, I have no regrets, at least, not about what
I've done, or what I've become as a result. I am a GOOD person, inside and
out, and strive to become better on a daily basis. That's all I could ever ask
of myself. My only regret? I just wish my father were here to see what I have
become, and I'd like to think that he'd be proud. I certainly hope so.

Signed, for anyone who cares, and has actually read this far, 

Mitchel Brian Waas.
4:30am, Saturday, February 5, 2000.




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