In For A Penny

(Originally posted to November 9, 2000)

Section: Gerald's Diary

Hey all you webfarers, welcome to this section of, your #1 source for the facts. This is Gerald, I'm one of our senior staff. To tell you the truth, our offices are little more than our dorm room and we paid for the web hosting a few days ago- but our intentions are sincere. We want to bring the truth to you, at any cost, and that includes going places other sources won't. I'm one of the editors and investigators, we'll delve into corruption on a Governmental level, corruption on a corporate level, and we'll also be fact-checking rumors. We are NOT a conspiracy theory or misinformation site, only a group of dedicated people doing what we think is right. My friend Hugh says that he's going to use some of his articles to write a study on the implementation of the Internet in mob persecution. I'm only here for the ride, but it could be an exciting ride and I'm ready for whatever lies on the road ahead. Hugh has sunk a lot of money into this project.

This is my personal section (of the site) where I share my thoughts and opinions on daily life, away from the more intense documentation of the "news" and "headlines" pages. If you found us through the Newsrat directory, please let us know your experience with them. We've e-mailed several directories and are still settling down on which one will provide us with the most traffic. Also, if you want to make a donation, please send a check or money order to the address provided on our Contact page. We really appreciate your support. If you have any stories you think are close to breaking, tip us off. We will follow any leads.

Entry I

What's up, Internet? I have some updates I think you'll probably be interested in. Maybe not, but hey, this is my journal and I can write whatever I want here.

First of all, Isaiah has set up what he calls the "command console" in the corner of our dorm. He went out and bought a pretty massive hard drive, filled it with search indexes and other resources, and we also have a file cabinet. I think he's wasted his money, but he says he has an uncle at the local office store and he's able to coax a sizable discount from the guy sometimes. Hugh says it'll be fine so long as we record it as a business expense. I've been looking over the lists of potential leads Isaiah has compiled, and we also have a bulletin board set up where we can assign responsibilities and calendars and like that. We're getting into the swing of things.

The larger development is that Hugh found something in the library, on microfilm. It's the university publication from 1971. Most of it is pretty routine, but he says he saw something for a second and then they closed and he had to put the film back. But he'll be going back tomorrow. I trust him when he says it's something big. During his freshman year I understand he took a course in Civics, and he says it changed the way he looks at what he refers to in an ominous tone as the Government body.

Be sure to check out any new articles on the main page for further developments.

Entry II

We've added a new gallery section. Currently our host will only allow JPG files with less than 400 KB, but we do plan on using a separate image host with more room. If you want to vote on what we should do, or don't really care about photos that much, go ahead and take the survey we've provided. Also, please e-mail us if you find anything strange. Remember, we would always love to investigate.

Entry III

Hugh went back and saw that the microfilm was gone. He asked the head librarian, Mr. McClusky, who says that it was checked out before Hugh was able to get there, in the morning. The good news is, Isaiah has been able to get Hugh to admit what he saw on the film. He was hesitant about it at first, I guess anybody would be, and the details he caught in those few seconds were kind of sparse, but he was able to make out this much:

This article from 1971 was written by a female student who was expressing concerns about men in suits who would pull up onto campus in a white van, get out in the parking lot, and enter the main office. Then, according to her, they would spend at least an hour with the Chief Administrator. She was hesitant to give many details about their appearance or body language, but Hugh says that near the bottom of the paghe she mentions that one night, she was walking to a sorority party and one of these men approaches her and asks her if she's seen anything out of the ordinary. And of course she has no idea what he's referring to, so he makes a kind of sign in the air with his hands and then runs away, toward the lot where one of these generic white vans is waiting for him, and he slides the door open and they drive off. She felt it was important to share her experience because she thought they may have been some kind of gang. But Isaiah says they sound more like Feds, and I have to agree.

The other really strange part is that Hugh decided to check if they had a print copy of this specific edition, so he combed through the racks for 1971. he says he's positive it was that year. And usually the library keeps very extensive records of the publication, every issue going all the way back to before the turn of the century, but for 1971 they had a missing issue. usually there are 8 issues every year. Only 7 for 1971. And he asked McClusky, who says nobody has checked out one of the print copies in decades. So either they're holding this article back, or they're just very bad at keeping records. Either way, it's an interesting story and worth keeping our eyes on.

Will report back soon.

Entry IV

Today I decided to check out the Chief Administrator's office and see how much has changed in the last few decades. The door was sealed off with wire across the front and locked with a deadbolt. According to the placard his name is Michael Wilcox. Couldn't still be the same guy. It was dusty inside, just a ray of light coming in through the window and not much else. One desk, a bookshelf, what seemed to be a mini-fridge.

After this, I decided to go around campus for a while and hang up flyers for hardfact. Hugh says that if we don't make our presence known, we won't amass the same kind of prestige and presence other Web Logs do. So about a week back, just to start things off, me and Isaiah passed some links out. They were messily scrawled out in pen so as to be more intriguing. Today was one of those days you only get during the fall here- sidewalk covered in maple and oak leaves, and you see all these couples walking around and crunching through them, holding hands and smiling. Sometimes I wonder why I haven't looked for a gf. I guess I just don't have the prerogative.

After I finished this, I went down to the King's Inn to get a drink and some hamburgers to bring back to the dorm. And while I was in there it was really busy. Everything was brown and it was hard to make out what was going on. It's usually not that rowdy in the afternoon. I go up to the bar and ask for a Coors, but he says they're all out and that there's been some kind of shortage. I'm in a bad mood by this point, usually when I'm just walking around on my own I prefer to do it buzzed. So I get some hamburgers and some onion rings and take them back to the dorm, and Hugh was out for classes and Isaiah was asleep. Didn't bother waking him up.

That's all I've done for now. I keep thinking about that girl and the van. Can't get it out of my head.

Entry V

I woke up with a headache and Hugh was on his computer, listening to a CD. It was about 7:00 AM so we decided to walk to the library together and see if the microfilm had been returned yet. When we got there it said it was closed for repairs and that we should check back soon. So we just sat on the bench in the main square for a while, watching time pass us by. I don't have any classes until noon, so mornings are usually slow unless I go on a bender the night before and sleep in. Hugh left me at about 11, said he had something to check up on. I told him I would see him later.

I got to my journalism course and the professor was late by a wide margin. She comes in, takes off her glasses, hangs up her coat- it's only about 20 degrees out- and from there she talks to us about how to properly format an article. I usually take extensive notes during this part, but for whatever reason I was feeling out of it and decided to just try and remember most of it. We were given a guidebook from the New York Times on which kind of language is appropriate and the proper font and everything, which is helpful if I ever get hired by any national syndicate. My current expectations are to work on hardfact for a few more years until it becomes big enough that I can add it to my resume.

The Prof calls me over to stay after class, and then she shuts the door. I wonder if she's coming onto me or something but it doesn't seem like that, if anything she seems really shaken. There are rings under her eyes and her hair is frizzed. She sits down, takes a long drink from the water bottle she always brings with her. Deep breaths all around. And by now we're the only people in the lecture hall- behind us there are just rows of seats with nobody in them, and the midday sun is shooting through the East Wing and she asks me if I had been up to anything. I say no. She explains that she had been called up to the Board, and they had informed her that I would be dropped from the course because I had been caught tagging one of the buildings- one of the faculty residences, I think is what she said. I told her it was bullshit, and that I was going to ask the Board about it.

"Just- stay safe," she tells me. I leave and she's just sitting there, head in her hands, looking melancholic and drowsy.

I get back to the dorm and Hugh motions me in, shuts the door and we both sit down on the couch. He runs over to the shutters, looks out, then uses the remote to blast the volume of QVC up. He asks if I've seen Isaiah since that morning. Now that I think about it, I haven't seen him. Nobody has seen or heard from him, and he always comes in for a sandwich from the fridge around this time. I get his pager and press it. He'll show up, I say. Sure he will. And then we just sit in the room like that for a while, while jewelry is advertised to us at 75 whopping decibels.

The shutters are still closed. Hugh hasn't been telling me anything, but he is over there writing something down. I think we're onto something big. And Isaiah still hasn't shown up. I suggested calling the police about 30 minutes ago. Hugh grabbed my cell phone from my hands with an animal ferocity and flung it to the ground, and it's broken now.

Entry VI

Hugh is passed out drunk on the couch this morning. I try leaving, but he stopped me and locked the door. I tell him that it's time for my journalism course, that I spent most of the night awake worrying. He reminds me that I was expelled. Makes sense.

He tiptoes over to the shades and raises them very quietly. We both look out and there are 20 men in suits standing in the middle of the square. The entire area has been cordoned off with yellow tape.

So we've just spent most of today locked in our rooms. Quiet.

Entry VII

Hugh went out to look an hour ago. He isn't back. Smell of smoke, ashes wafting in now. If there are no entries after this, know that we're gone.