Chapter One

Amstrad Arkady adjusted the fit of his Sennheisers and hyped the amplitude of the twitchy glitchcore that spasmed in his ear canals. He’d been listening to progressive chipstep earlier, but the defining moment of his day was nearly on him and he couldn’t afford to drop brain cycles on digesting those chewy morsels of 8-bit goodness. Shit was about to go crunch time and Amstrad knew he had to be ready. He felt like Neo at the decision point, confronted with an OR gate marked redpill/bluepill. Blue was not an option. He wasn’t interested in finding the princess in another castle. There was only one castle he cared about. It was his World 1-1.

Oinku.jp. The sickest private torrent tracker ever to ride the series of tubes. The go to site for rippers, crackers, hackers, scanners, zero-dayers, zero-payers and netizens-to-know. The internet elite. And it wasn’t just about the content, either. With an Oinku account came a forums membership. Not even 404chan could outmatch the pace and ruthlessness of the Oinku forum meme cycle. Acceptance there meant you’d made it. After that, there was nowhere else worth visiting. You’d won the internet, for serial.

There were people trading sexual favours via Craigslist for invites, Amstrad had read. He thought about that a lot. He was prepared to take that step, but circumstances complicated things. That was why he was sweating, pearly droplets clouded with the reflected glow of his widescreen Lacey, as he idled in #oinkuinvites. When his handle ticked to the top of the list, he’d get a PM from the admin. Then he’d take a grilling on lossless formats, bitrates, encoders, metadata and ripping techniques. If he didn’t display an epic mastery of all relevant nodes, he’d be done. Perma’d. But if he Tony Hawked his way through – and he prayed to Miyamoto himself that he could – he’d have the golden ticket. And in the future, that meant invites of his own, to bestow at his whim. He’d fapped himself sore thinking about answering some of those Craigslist ads. He’d already emailed a few, speculatively, requesting tits or n00dz, to no avail. He needed something to back it up with.

But that was all froth on the Mt Dew. The real prize was that precious invite. The ping of his homebrew IRC client slotted itself into a gap in the glitchscape, indicating a new PM.

It was showtime.

Excerpt from BAD RIP, an imaginary novel not currently being written by Noel Oxford.

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