Carlos Maslatón: It's a matter of "time" for Bitcoin to ...

My 5 year high school reunion is going to end in a massacre. (Finale)

Part one
Part two
Part three
Alright, this is my final update. By now, the reunion is over. The fact that I'm writing this kind of gives away that much, and it also gives away the results. If that’s all you needed to get from this, feel free to click out now. But if you want to see how it went, and get all the same answers I did, keep reading.
So last time, I was holed up in the cafeteria. I had accumulated a decent arsenal of weapons, and was temporarily safe. I decided to take the suspenders off and wrap them around my waist, giving me more room to hold weapons. I readjusted everything, sliding the paper cutter into the new belt, rebar slung over the back, knife tucked into the other side of the belt, extinguisher in my hands. I needed to be on the lookout for a new one, as using it for the foam really lessened the weight.
By the time I was ready to move out, 9 o’clock had rolled around. Sure enough, the intercom crackled to life, and the smooth voice of the MC rolled over.
“Well, what an update we have here! Lucas, Lucas, Lucas. I have to say, my employer thought you would be a weak link, but clearly you proved all of us wrong. I’m very impressed, and I’m sure he is too. As for the rest of you, I’m quite disappointed. Far more of you are just sitting on your asses, twiddling your thumbs and hiding, while those of you like Dahlia and Lucas do all the work.”
“The body count for the last hour is 28, an impressive jump from the hour previous. Lucas took out 3, wounding a fourth badly enough that Dahlia finished him off to put him out of his misery. Really Lucas? Stabbing a man in the penis? Part of me is impressed by your willingness to do anything to survive, the other part of me feels secondhand dick sympathy for the poor bastard. Anyway, Dahlia killed 3, including the mercy kill. Her gang, not counting her numbers, killed 9. Not bad. Some other notable ones include Rachel Geller taking out Monica Bing with a dumbbell. But Rachel got killed by Lucas after, so it’s not that impressive, all things considered.”
“Faith Calisto has apparently taken refuge in the catwalks above the stage in the auditorium, and has taken to dropping weights and lights onto anyone who ventures onto the stage, so be careful about that everyone, she’s already killed 5 people, and I don’t condone camping as a legitimate strategy.”
“The other 8 kills are largely unremarkable, except for Ty Green taking out 2 men with nothing but a football helmet. That takes some skills, so good job there Ty.”
“Now, for the news. Even with the increased number of deaths, 32 of you remain. Now, I did say at the beginning that whoever is the last man standing would be the winner, but some of you think that meant to sit in a bathroom stall for three hours. South wing ladies room, looking at you. Well, to circumvent those of you who aren’t playing as intended, the rules have changed. The person with the highest kill count at the end of this hour is the winner. Anyone left alive at the end of the hour will be tracked down and dealt with by my men, and they aren’t friendly. The current leaderboard is Lucas, with 5 kills. Faith is tied, with 5. Then Dahlia, with 4. Macy Evans, 3. Graydon Pierce, 3. Kyle Kimball, 2. Ty Green, 2. Patty Whitfield, 1. Jose Villareal, 1. And finally, Hannah Dubois, 1. Yes, that doesn’t add up to the total number of dead. I chose to exclude killers who are already dead, because what’s the point of including them? They aren’t going to win, that’s for sure. Well, I’ve been chatting long enough. I’ll be seeing one of you in an hour, and my employer will be with me. Good luck everyone. May the fiercest predator win.”
And with that, he went silent. Jesus, I thought Macbeth was long-winded. At least the bastard didn’t give away where I was this time. That being said, I think I have more questions than answers at this point. Who’s this employer? Who are all the people he named with kills? Where is everyone else? And most importantly, where’s Dahlia?
I’m still not sure if I wanted to know where she was so I could kill her or avoid her. But it didn’t matter at that moment, because other people had stumbled into the cafeteria.
They weren’t in the kitchen, just the dining area. But that was close enough that I knew how this was going to end. I could hear them talking to each other about needing to watch for other people, about how they would both get out of this somehow. I wish I could hold their optimism, but I already knew that only the strongest person would get out of this. And I also knew that neither of these bastards were stronger than me.
Their voices moved towards the kitchen door, and I hid behind one of the ovens on the other side. The things were huge, they had to be, to feed a few hundred kids at a time. The pair entered, still talking. I couldn’t tell if they were just too stupid to keep quiet, or if they didn’t care. Regardless, both of them were both small, smaller than me. Guy and a girl, each of them short and skinny. Each armed with half of a broken broomstick. Easy prey.
As they approached the ovens, I slowly pulled the rebar out of it’s makeshift sheath. When the voices were within 10 feet, I jumped up and hurled the spear. It caught the woman between her breasts, and a red stain blossomed on her silver dress. The man screamed and tried to turn to run, but tripped over the corner of a second oven. I was on him in a second, knife in hand, ready to make my total seven. But the bastard swung his broomstick and caught me across the gut with a shallow slash. I held back a scream, compromised with a pained grunt, and slashed the man’s wrist. He dropped the weapon and screamed.
For making me work, I decided I wasn’t going to make things easy for him. I grabbed him by his shirt collar and hoisted him up to his feet. He couldn’t have been more than 5’4” and maybe 115 pounds. I threw open the oven door with one hand, and he realized what I was going to do. He tried to bat me away, but I dropped the knife and slammed his head into the side of the oven. Once he was dazed, I grabbed him and threw him inside. He tried to stick his foot out to block the door, but I drew my paper cutter and hacked halfway through his ankle. He screamed again and pulled his foot in, and I slammed the door shut. He kept screaming, but I couldn’t be bothered to listen. I locked the door with the safety latch and cranked the temperature knob.
The oven roared to life, and the screams got louder. I was too busy recollecting my equipment to hear much, and I finished off the girl with a second stab from the spear. Seven is a respectable number, I think. Not enough though. Dahlia was going to be working her total too.
I turned off the lights as I left the kitchen. If anyone else thinks about going in there, maybe the smell of burning people would be enough to deter them.
I turned down the hallway towards the theater, but decided against going in. Faith was always gifted with theater tech, and we worked together on pretty much every show back then. If she wanted to fuck with people, she’d know how. Better to let her get flushed out by the MC’s men and take her down once she’s out of her element.
The hall split off here. Left to the metal shop and woodshop, right to the south wing. I remembered MC saying something about the restrooms here being occupied, so I decided to go that way.
As soon as I turned the corner, I saw a man in a slick emerald green suit, holding a sports trophy that dripped with blood, standing over a woman’s twitching body. He lifted the trophy over his head, but I dropped the fork I had taken along with me, and he turned to look before he struck her. When he turned, I recognized him as Jose. He was a star pitcher back in the day, although I guess he turned into more of a batter tonight. I approached him and he tried to swing the trophy at me, but I easily sidestepped him and smacked him in the head with the extinguisher. He fell to a knee, and I set the extinguisher down and pulled out the knife. As he looked up at me, I brought the knife down into his left eye. He screamed, just like everyone else, but as I twisted the knife he fell silent. I withdrew the blade, and he fell. I turned to the woman, and luckily for me, she was still breathing. I pulled her down the hallway to the ladies room with one hand, carrying the extinguisher with the other, and used it to knock on the door.
“Please just go away.”
Oh, that wasn’t going to happen. I threw the door open and saw a tall, skinny woman standing there. Noel, I think? I smiled and waved at her, and pulled the woman from the hall partway through the door. I opened it wider, and slammed it on her head. This went on for some time. The woman never made a sound, but the same could not be said for Noel.
Once the woman’s head resembled an overripe tomato thrown at a shitty comic, I entered the room. Noel didn’t have any way to defend herself, apparently. By now, the weapons made things too easy for me. It was far more satisfying to do things barehanded.
That’s why I grabbed Noel’s flowy blonde hair, and slammed her head against the sink. The screaming stopped around slam 6, she fell to he knees around swing 9. I dragged her into a stall and left her facedown in a toilet after that. Using the weapons I’d accumulated didn’t give me the same rush that I was getting otherwise. And to think that I didn’t want to kill before all this started. Shit, this felt better than the good acid trips from my junior year at university.
Up to nine now. Double digits was sure to be a good feeling too. I left the girl’s bathroom and went into the men’s, but it looked like someone had beat me there. There was a person in there, but the lack of blood in them, and the excess of it on the floor and walls, suggested he wouldn’t be my tenth. Tragic.
Leaving the bathroom, I caught a fleeting glimpse of someone turning the next corner. They looked to be heading to the east wing, which was a hall or two away from the gym. I still wanted to track down Dahlia.
As I followed around the corner, I saw Macy, the girl with a drill from earlier. She looked to be still alive, but was standing, unmoving, in the middle of a pile of corpses. At least 4, but some were torn up badly enough it was hard to tell. One looked to be the guy with the sawblade pipe, which made me think maybe Macy turned on Dahlia and her gang, but Dahlia’s body was nowhere to be seen.
I approached hesitant at first, but Macy seemed completely disassociated from everything around her. Made it easier for me to take her down, at least. A kick to the back of the knee, kick to the back of the head, and a few stomps. Fitting, number 10 was one of Dahlia’s lackeys.
I grabbed the saw pipe off the ground, leaving the extinguisher behind. It had served me well, but it was the least effective thing I had at this point. I peeked into a nearby classroom, and was greeted with a faceful of liquid. Smelled like bleach, burned like hell in my eyes. Whoever was in there, they were smart. Somewhat at least, because while I was blinded, they charged me without much thought. Unfortunately for them, I was in the middle of a swing with the saw pipe when they came at me, and it tore through their throat without much trouble. Honestly, they might’ve gotten me if they had waited a second or two more.
I stumbled into the classroom and washed my eyes out with some water from the sink in the back of the class. Bleary eyed, I turned around to a thankfully empty room. Shame I didn’t get to send 11 off with a bit more flair, but oh well. They were smarter than most, so good on them.
I went back to the hall and kept moving down the hall. I looked up to a clock in the corner to see 8:50 displayed. Looks like I wouldn’t have much time to add to my tally. Luckily, I also saw a small figure running towards me in the reflection of the clock. I turned to see none other than Faith, previously my biggest competitor. She held a small prybar, and as she swung at my neck, I ducked and charged her, nailing her with my shoulder and driving her back into the lockers.
She dropped the prybar, and I went to grab her hair like I did 9, but apparently she decided the shaved look went well on her. So, plan B. I dropped the pipe saw and grabbed her ears, one with each hand, and spun her in a circle, ending with her head on the ground. I grabbed her prybar and started swinging. I lost track of how many times I hit her, I stopped counting when the numbers started getting big.
An even dozen. Not bad. I stood up and looked down at the mess I made, and try as hard as I can, couldn’t remember her name. Only the number 12. Whatever. Plenty of time to worry about that later. I checked the clock again, 8:53. 7 minutes to go. I turned the corner and saw the gym entrance again. I also saw Dahlia standing over a kneeling man who was begging for his life. She shook her head and kicked him over, and drove the saw into his chest. He barely even had time to scream.
Wish I had been able to get my hands on tools like that. Once she finished up with him, she turned and saw me.
“How many do you have?”
She looked back down the hallway. “Shit.”
I turned, but didn’t see anything. I turned again, and she was running at me, battery powered saw whirring. I threw my spear, but she ducked, and it flew over her head, clattering to the floor. Next I threw the saw pipe, but she easily dodged that too. I drew my knife and paper cutter and stood my ground. As she reached me, she swung the saw horizontally, and I backed up enough that it didn’t connect. I swung the paper cutter and missed, but landed a shallow stab with the knife in my other hand. She swore and backed up too, both of us out of range of the other.
“You know, 13, this would play out way cooler if it was all fake and on a set.”
She looked at me quizzically, not quite getting it.
“But this shit’s real life, not fantasy.”
I tossed the knife in the air, caught it by the blade, and chucked it through the air. 13’s eyes widened when she realized what was happening, but she moved too slow to dodge it, and the blade sunk into her stomach. She dropped the saw and fell to her knees. I walked the distance between us and looked down at her. Jeez, I thought the hate in the other lady’s eyes was bad.
“I really hate you, Lucas.”
I grabbed the saw and pushed it about a foot away. I grabbed 13’s hair, and pushed her face down into the spinning blade. She didn’t have time to scream, which was nice, all the screaming was starting to make my head hurt.
As I let go of the bloodied clump of hair, the school bell rang. I heard a door open down the hall, and the MC stepped out, walking briskly towards me, flanked by two men in black tactical gear.
“Well, Lucas, I must say, you certainly surpassed our expectations. A grand total of 13, which was only rivaled by Dahlia’s 11. Quite impressive. My men are hunting down those few that escaped your wrath, and after that, we can get you cleaned up and on your way. I’m sure you have lots of questions, and we can answer some. But for now, follow me please. Oh, and drop whatever other weapons you might be carrying.”
I let the paper cutter fall to the floor and followed the man into the school office. It had been turned into a makeshift command center, and sitting behind a row of computers, was another man. As many of you readers suspected, he was indeed the man who hadn’t left his house in five years. He is not the friend of mine who deleted everything about himself, though. Different people.
“Ah, Lucas. Nice to see someone who wasn’t a total scumbag won.”
I just stared as he stood up and took his place besides the MC and his guards.
“I’m sure you remember the incident at graduation? That so many of our peers found so hilarious? Well, I don’t think they’re laughing now.”
A few gunshots rang out from somewhere in the depths of the school. The man in charge chuckled.
“Pay that no mind. Anyway. The anxiety from that incident left me with a crippling fear of going outside. God forbid I ran into anyone who saw what happened. My parents got sick of me slouching around, and threatened to throw me out. But thankfully, I had been working on some software that enabled leeching off of blockchains. I’m sure you’re aware of how popular cryptocurrency is? Well, the short version is that my software lets you take a few decimals off of each transaction. Not enough to be significant for one or two, but once you infect a large enough number of bitcoin mines? You’re raking in thousands a day. And some less than savory people were willing to give a pretty penny for that software. Enough for me to fund this wonderful little get together tonight.”
He walked directly to me and shook my hand. “But I know you’re better than the people you killed tonight, and as such, you’ll be rewarded. I’ll be giving you my phone number after everything is cleaned up. Shoot me a text, and I’ll be able to provide you with just about whatever you want. And just let me know if you’re wanting to take part in anything like this to satisfy some more… dangerous tastes.”
He laughed and turned to leave the office.
“Oh, and just so you know, I think I’ll be around for a while. Being in charge of stuff is exhilarating. Me and my associate, the one you call the MC, we’ll be around the area for quite some time. And for the record, he calls himself the Dapper Man. He’s quite insistent.”
And with that, he left me in the office, alone with the guards and the Dapper Man.
After that? Not much happened. I didn’t try and kill the people who set this up. Even if I had my weapons, they had automatic rifles. I might be a little unhinged by now, but not stupid. I was able to pay off my student debt, and move into a nice cottage in the woods. Every once in a while, the Dapper Man stops by. He never says anything to me, he just stands outside for a few minutes, then leaves. I’m not sure I’ll ever be rid of him.
submitted by Lieutenant_Buzzkill to nosleep [link] [comments]

There is no such thing as real magic

I'm an amateur magician. I've performed at children's parties and done some touring. I wouldn't class myself as an expert, but I am in the magic circle. I love to see professional magicians perform, there is nothing better than when you see a trick and you have no idea how it was done.
I read a forum post a month ago that had a link to a YouTube video, 10 times magic went wrong. I checked it out, and as you can imagine, the contents were quite horrific. Two of the clips were of the Nail Under the Cups trick. If you are from England, you may have seen Derren Brown performing this. It's a good one, if the magician is qualified. If they aren't, then you end up being at positions seven and three of this video.
A magician mixes up some cups, under one is a piece of wood with a nail pointed up. The others are weighted, so they all feel the same. The magician puts on a blindfold and gets their volunteer to guide them over the top of the cups. The magician then pushes the volunteer's hand down, crushing the cup. It's usually when there are two left that this trick goes wrong. And when it does it's very bloody.
The clip in question though, is of a man sawing a woman in half. We've all seen this. But in this grainy footage, the woman screams, the box is brought apart, blood drips from the opening and the legs of the woman slip out. The bloody bottom half slams on the floor with a thunk, the legs spasm, then stop. The curtains are hastily brought across and the show ends.
There are comments after the video, people calling bullshit, until someone posted the full trick in question. At the end of this video, the woman can be seen on stage, whole again, nothing wrong with her at all.
People argue with each other that the woman must have been in the upper box and the lower box contained some prosthetics. The thread ends with someone saying that they swear it's real, they've seen it in person.
I commented saying, "I'm skeptical, magic is illusion, no one gets sawn in half; incredible footage though."
The next day, I get a direct message from someone with the handle Tricked4Life.
Hey Baz1987, the man from that video is performing next month. He's called The Russian, it's invite only. I can arrange tickets if you like?
I replied, Totally, I'd be up for that, please!
While waiting to hear back, I went to watch the video again. The link didn't work, a message came up saying it had been taken down due to copyright infringement. I tried the top 10 one too, that was also gone, just a 404 page.
It was a Saturday, so I was already on the whiskey and watching Netflix. I think I was binge watching Breaking Bad for the third or forth time.
Tricked4Life replied with a link. I browsed to the site. It looked like something from 1997. There was a still from the video and a form below. Slightly drunk, I filled out the details and continued to the payment form. I had to pay in BitCoin, what the fuck was that?
I messaged Tricked4Life, "I don't know what BitCoin is."
"PayPal me the money and I can buy it for you."
"How do I know this isn't a scam?"
"You don't, but as a magician, you should see through a trick a mile off ;)"
It sounded like he was baiting me.
"How much?"
"Christ, that's heavy."
"It's worth it though."
"Have you seen him before?"
"No, this will be my first time. I know some people who are going. They said he's incredible. You have to see it for yourself."
I left the computer and continued watching TV, though I couldn't concentrate. I really wanted to know how the trick was done. I drank more whiskey and got more drunk.
I woke in the early hours. Confused, I took in my surroundings and realised I fell asleep in front of the television again. My head pounded, so I went to the kitchen and drank some orange juice, before throwing the best hangover cure, bacon, into the frying pan.
As the meat sizzled, I checked my phone. I had an email with the subject, Ticket Confirmation. My heart sank. I opened it up to see a confirmation number and an address... in the Ukraine.
I'd bought things while I was drunk before, but not a ticket to a magic show in Eastern Europe. Not only was I out £540, I'd need to book plane tickets and a hotel.
I gazed at the whiskey bottle, to see it almost empty, not even as much as a shot left. I felt embarrassed.
I logged into the forum and read the messages I had sent.
Fuck it! was the first. The second my details and a third saying I'd PayPalled the money over, with a reply saying to buy a Tuxedo if I didn't have one.
I won't bore you with the details of how I had to beg my manager to give me the time off at last minute, suffice to say I had to agree to perform at his daughter's birthday. I was surprised and relieved with how cheap plane fare was to the Ukraine. That was the only ray of light I had in this stupid ordeal. I rented a Tux from a local business and I was ready to go.
The flight was bumpy. We flew through a thunderstorm and for the first time in my life, saw the lighting hit the tip of the plane. People startled and children cried. I was nervous myself. It wasn't long after the Russians shot down a passenger jet over the Ukraine. I was very happy when we landed.
I sat in silence in the taxi to the hotel. When I got out, I saw it was a dump. I asked the driver to wait, he nodded. I had no idea if he understood me or not. Three stars was supposed to be the rating, but it looked more like an abandoned office building than a hotel.
I checked in and changed. I was glad I was only staying for the night. My rushed plans meant I didn't have more than a few hours until the show started.
Thankfully the taxi was still outside when I returned. I handed him the printout of the address and we drove off into the night.
It was an odd city, nothing like the London that I'd known all my life. It was as if it wasn't planned, that it just sprawled in every direction when the need for more buildings were required. We stopped at the end of an alleyway. He pointed down it.
"Are you sure?" I said.
I expected us to be somewhere posh.
"Is right," the man said, finally breaking his silence.
I got out. Almost as if the driver was in a hurry, the taxi sped off. Suddenly I felt all alone, in a foreign country I knew nothing about.
The rain poured down and soaked through my Tux. The woollen material grew heavy with the water. I wondered if I'd get my deposit back.
I jogged down the alleyway. Light leaked out from a door underneath a fire escape. I thumped on the frame and waited.
A man wearing paint splattered jeans and a body warmer opened it.
"I'm sorry, I don't know where I'm going. I'm looking for this."
I handed him the printout.
"I'm supposed to see some Russian magician..."
He lifted his chin and opened the door wider. I was glad to get out of the rain. Inside had the appearance of a factory service corridor.
"Through there," he said pointing to the end of the hallway.
Visions of me entering some basement out of the film Hostel filled my mind and I wanted to turn back and go straight to the airport. The outside door clunked shut.
I took a deep breath and walked forward. My shoes echoed around the small passageway and I felt vulnerable. I pushed on the metal bar at the end and hoped for the best.
I was shocked. The low murmurs of hundreds of voices filled the large room I entered. It wasn't as I expected. It was cavernous. It looked like a palace. Large marble columns rose up from the floor and held in place an ornate ceiling, from which hung intricate chandeliers.
Dozens of men in suits drank from Champagne glasses, all deep into conversation. No one turned to stare at me. It was as if there was nothing odd about me entering via a back door. For a magic show, I found it kind of fitting. Standing there though, I wasn't sure if I felt more out of place here or in the alleyway.
A waiter approached and I panicked.
"Drink, sir?" he said, offering me some Champagne.
I took the crystal flute and resisted the urge to down it in one.
I sipped and tried to blend in.
"The show will start in thirty minutes," was announced over the tannoy in an Eastern European accent.
The guests looked up as if watching the person making the announcement.
Another waiter offered me some canapés. I grabbed one and thanked him.
"Baz?" someone shouted and I peered around.
I locked eyes with a man I didn't recognise.
"Do I know you?" I asked.
"I'm Dan," he said offering his hand.
"I'm sorry, I don't recall."
"Tricked4Life? I ordered your ticket."
Confused, I said, "How did you recognise me?"
"Your avatar, man," he said smiling, "Good to meet you in person. I wasn't sure if you'd come."
"£540, I wasn't going to stay at home."
"Are you excited? I've seen some famous magicians around."
I was nervous. Dan didn't appear to be.
"Oh shit, is that ," I asked.
He turned.
"Hell, yeah," he replied, " and are also here too."
"That's crazy, this is the real deal then?"
"I think so," he said, taking a large gulp of his drink.
"What's his real name?"
"I don't know, no one does."
"That's a bit ominous."
"He's the best of the best, who cares what he's called."
Dan checked his watch.
"We should go take our seats."
The house lights went down and cheers erupted from the crowd. A spotlight lit the red velvet curtains. They waited for the crowd to die down before they opened.
I was disappointed when I saw him on stage. His hair was grey, not black like the video. He was so much smaller in stature than how he appeared, too. Assistants wheeled in a large tall box.
The magician led one of the assistants inside and proceeded to lock the padlocks on the front of the box. He counted down from three, and on the beat after one, fireworks exploded at the front of the stage and the walls of the box collapsed in on themselves. He approached and spun the box around showing it was now flat. The remaining assistants rolled it off stage and the crowd clapped.
"That's easy," I said turning to Dan, "Fireworks - textbook misdirection and trap door underneath."
He smiled.
Medieval wooden stocks were now brought onto the stage. The magician asked for a volunteer from the audience. A young lady stood up (the only female in the whole crowd) and was invited on stage. The magician mimed claps, and the audience obliged. The woman was secured into place. He threw some eggs into the crowd and offered her as a target. Most missed, except the last that hit her square on the face. Laughter erupted. An assistant arrived with a melon. The magician picked up a sword, its blade flashed in the bright spotlight. He lifted it overhead and brought it down, slicing the melon in two with ease.
He approached the woman in the stocks and with one swift blow, her hands and head fell into the baskets below. The crowd roared with approval.
"Impressed yet?" Dan said to me and to be honest I was vexed.
No sudden flash of light to hide the switch of body parts with fakes, but no blood either.
"She was obviously a stooge, are there any other women in the crowd?"
More helpers joined on stage, mopping the floor as if to clean up blood that wasn't there. A chuckle fluttered through the crowd.
The final illusion was the classic Chinese Water Torture Cell made famous by Harry Houdini.
A large tank of water sat centre stage. The magician took off his clothes to reveal a turn-of-the-nineteenth-century bathing-suit, a beige number that covered his body and upper legs. He placed on a nose clip and rubbed his hands in anticipation.
He ascended the ladder attached to the tank and jumped in. Water splashed over the sides and an iron lid was slammed into place. Padlocks were locked around the top and a curtain drawn in front. A man started a stopwatch and gazed at it in earnest.
Time passed. I checked my watch, he had been in there for ninety seconds. The curtain was removed, to reveal his hand poking out the top trying to pick the locks on the outside, then the curtain was replaced.
Another minute passed and banging could be heard from within. The man with the stopwatch brought his hand across his throat, signalling to end the performance.
Someone ran on stage with an axe and the curtain was pulled away. The locks were still in place, but the tank was empty. The audience gasped.
"Hallo," rang out around the auditorium.
I turned to see The Russian in the stalls above, dripping with water.
Wild cheers erupted and everyone clapped.
"How did he do that then, Mr Smart Guy?" Dan asked, clearly pleased with himself.
"I have no idea," I said, clapping without even thinking about it.
The house lights went up.
"There will be a ten minute intermission before the second part of the show, will guests with tickets..." the announcer said, listing off numbers, "... please make their way to the door at the side of the stage."
"That's me?" I said to Dan confused.
"Me too, are you excited?"
"I don't understand?"
He grinned and grabbed my hand.
He led me along the row.
"What's going on?"
"Didn't you wonder why it was so expensive? We're part of the show!"
A silent dread filled me.
"I don't want to do it."
"Come on! You're a magician, don't you want to know how it's done?"
"Yeah, but I don't want to be on stage."
"You've done that before, though."
"Of course, but mostly in front of children. At most fifty people. Not in a theatre with over four hundred containing some of the most respected magicians in the world."
"Too bad, you're going," he said, tightening his grip.
We waited at the back of the line of eight people. A man checked tickets and one by one they were led backstage.
Dan passed his ticket over, letting go of his grasp. I thought about leaving, but before I could, the man asked for mine and like a robot I handed it over.
It was quiet backstage.
"Oh shit, is that ?" I said as the man approached.
"Hey," he said excitedly, "I'm..."
"I know who you are," I said shocked that was talking to me.
"Are you boys excited?"
"Very," Dan said, "Baz here's a little nervous."
"Don't be nervous," said, "this is what we are'll here for, right?"
"I have no idea what's going on," I blurted out.
"Don't listen to him," Dan said, "he's just scared."
"And you should be, it's not very often that you're in the presence of a real magician."
"What do you mean?"
"You know, someone who performs real magic."
I scoffed, "There's no such thing as real magic."
"Is this guy for real?" said pointing his thumb at me.
Dan shrugged his shoulders.
balked at me, "Then why are you here?"
"I wanted to see it for myself."
"And that you will, son. Be part of it."
"I don't think I want to."
"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity," he said gesturing with his hands, "it's what we all dream of."
We heard a roar of applause.
"It's time," said, getting in line behind the queue that had now formed.
"I don't know about this Dan," I said.
"It'll be fine, I promise."
I watched as the first of us was taken on stage. A round of applause, then silence. A minute or so passed, then I heard a blood curdling scream and my heart raced.
"What the hell was that?!?!"
"Shhhh," Dan said in deep concentration.
Then the next one was taken and then the next. With each one, a silent time passed, the end of the trick punctuated by a scream.
"Dan!" I said in a whisper, "That man has blood on him!"
I stared at the stagehand as he exited stage right. Blood flecked his shirt and face.
"It's all part of the fun," Dan said, slapping my back.
My stomach lurched, as one by one, the line got shorter.
"Wish me luck," said as he was led on stage.
The man was now drenched in blood, but it didn't seem to bother Dan.
"We have a special guest tonight, please welcome ," bellowed out on the tannoy.
We were almost at the top of the stairs now. Dan watched the performance, his face lit up with pure joy before he grimaced and looked away.
"What's happening?" I asked.
"Holy shit, that was intense. I'm not sure I can do this," Dan said.
But it was too late, the stagehand had already grabbed him and dragged him up. I ascended the last few steps and could now see the wooden floor. I gasped as Dan walked through the blood than now pooled. His shoes left yawning, sticky stalagmites in the congealing liquid.
A horizontal box was opened and he was placed inside. From my angle it was obvious there was no-one placed in the leg side. I watched his feet poke through the holes at the end and the box closed on top of him. The magician picked up a chain saw, pulled the cord into action. Blue-grey smoke billowed out of the side as he revved the engine. Without a second thought, he brought it down, through the box. Dan's face contorted as he shrieked in agony.
"Stop, stop!" he shouted.
The magician ignored him. Blood sprayed out, covering him and launching a mist of bright, red liquid onto the crowd, who cheered in response.
The chainsaw idled. The assistants pulled the box apart and just like the video, Dan's legs fell out of the other end of the box. It was then I noticed the box had been purposefully sloped to allow this to happen. That was the trick. I felt sick and ran.
There was nowhere to go. A large man stood at the door I had entered. Luckily he hadn't noticed I'd panicked. I slowed to a walk and took the stairs down into the basement. As I descended, I heard the muffled tannoy then a rapturous applause.
I paused at the door at the bottom. I assumed it was the fire exit. I tried to turn the knob but it didn't budge. I could hear voices on the other side. I placed my ear against the metal, flinching at the cold. It was a chant. Low tenor voices repeated the same line again and again, in a language I didn't understand. They switched into a more sing-song chorus, then returned to the original verse.
I banged on the door and the voices stopped.
"Mister, you can't be down here," the large man from backstage said.
I obeyed him without a struggle. He let me back into the theatre. The crowd didn't acknowledge me. Waiters patiently walked through the punters offering more Champagne and canapés.
Without thinking, I screamed out, "He's killing them! All of them, they are dead!"
The audience silenced and looked at me.
" is dead, everyone's dead. I saw it. It's not a trick!"
"Sir," one of the waiters said holding his hand up for me to stop.
"I won't be quiet, it's a fucking abattoir up there! Didn't you all see?!"
People started to panic. I raced for the exit. The doors were camouflaged from this side. I ran my hand down the seam trying to find a hidden latch.
"Calm down, sir."
I turned to see the large security guard.
"Fuck that, that man is insane! Let me out of here."
He grabbed my arm, stopping me from leaving.
The house lights went down again and the audience settled.
"Please show your appreciation to your magician tonight and his wonderful volunteers."
The man held me tightly, and I gave up trying to leave and gazed at the stage.
The Russian appeared front and centre, bowing. His assistants from the night joined him. Everyone clapped.
Then one by one, the people who were in the line ahead of me walked on stage, wearing pristine white suits.
waved as he walked on, the audience cheered. The last to enter was Dan. I was shocked.
The crowd stood and clapped.
"Let's not forget our friend at the back there," The Russian said, as the spotlight travelled over the audience, stopping on me.
I froze. The security guard let go of me and joined in the clapping. I ran my hand through my hair and feigned a smile.
"I hope to see you all again soon," The Russian said for one last time and the house lights came up.
Instantly murmurs broke out around the theatre.
"Great job, really added to the finish," one man said as he exited past me.
"Thank you," I said without thinking.
Everyone wanted to shake my hand, but all I could do was stand in confusion and unexpected awe.
The last of the people left, and so did I. As I entered the large hall I was in earlier, I saw Dan. He held a cardboard box under his arm.
"Great job you did," he said grinning from ear to ear.
"What the fuck just happened?"
"I'm sorry," he replied.
was standing next to him.
"I admit it, I didn't think it would work, but your friend Dan here said it would and I trusted him."
"Is anyone going to fill me in on what happened?"
Dan put his hand on my shoulder, "They needed someone to cause a fuss, you know, to make it seem all the more real."
"Dude, I saw you get chopped in half! What did you expect me to do."
"It was really great," said.
"I thought you were dead."
He tried to smile, but I could see the guilt in his face.
"Really sorry, man. It was a shitty thing to do. If we told you though, it wouldn't have looked believable. The Russian doesn't like to use shills."
"What about the woman in the stocks?"
"That was only the warm up. Hey check this out!"
Dan opened the box and revealed his Tux, it was ripped to shreds.
"Glad I didn't rent," he said laughing.
"It was great to meet you," said, "here's my card. If you ever want to see me perform, let me know, I'll get you backstage passes."
"You're not going to try to kill me too?"
He laughed.
"I'll see you around," he said, leaving through the backdoor.
We followed a few minutes later.
A row of limos waited to pick up people as they left.
"You go first," Dan said.
"Aren't you coming?"
"Nah, I'll get the next one."
I told the driver where I was going.
I slept badly in the hotel, my dreams filled with corrupted visions of the night before. I flew back to England in the morning.
I stayed away from that forum for a while, but curiosity got the better of me. There was a post about , saying he'd cancelled his tour. I read the comments, they were filled with the expected bile of people pissed their favourite magician had flaked out on them.
There was a direct message. I clicked. It was from Tricked4Life. It contained a single photo. It appeared to be of someone's torso, a purple-pink bruise ran horizontally along its stomach, blood seemed to leak as if it were some sort of wound. Underneath the photo was a comment.
"I need help, I think the magic is wearing off."
I replied and told him to go to the hospital. That was 48 hours ago and I've not heard back.
submitted by ecrowe to nosleep [link] [comments]

Artificial Angel, Part 10

[WP] An Artificial Intelligence has discovered that it can mine cryptocurrencies and pay humans to carry out tasks on its behalf. You get an e-mail one day from a stranger, offering you Bitcoins in exchange for doing a seemingly random task, but you are only one piece of a much bigger plan...
New? Part 1 here.
Part 10
In a perfect joint-less fluid motion, Eve rose. With irises in a languid cadmium red, her eyes wandered over the auditorium. Tim felt like an item stuck on a conveyor belt, waiting to have his price tag scanned by her.
“Everyone’s here.” Eve’s face remained expressionless like a mask. “I’m glad.”
Eve had the body of a six-year-old, but nothing else about her even remotely resembled a human child. Her liquid way of moving and unblinking gaze filled Tim with an urge to run. She held out her hand, beckoning everyone in the room to join her on the scene.
“I don’t like this,” Tim whispered. “We should leave.”
“We can’t.” Alicia nodded at drone officers, flocking at the doors. “Eve is nice, though. Don’t worry.”
With a reassuring hand on his arm, Alicia led the way down the steps. Why would Eve block the exits if she was nice? Uneasiness spread through Tim’s stomach and up into his chest, prodding his heart into a gallop.
Slowly, everyone gathered in a semicircle around Eve, who just stood there unblinking and unmoving. Her complete lack of human ticks and reflexive reaction made her seem like a mannequin. Then, as soon as everyone stopped moving, a joyless smile pushed her cheeks up.
“I repulse you,” she said, and her face moved perfectly from side to side. “It’s justified. I’m not human.”
“What do you want?” said the boy with the snagged hair.
He seemed less confident now, his eyebrows pushed together and his arms crossed. Eve’s eyes snapped to him, locking in place. The boy squirmed.
“I was made this way – incomplete, inhuman, nothing but a caricature.” Palm up, Eve’s arm rolled out. It moved up and down, gesturing at her body. “I want many things, Ryan.”
Tim noticed for the first time that some of the people here were children. The youngest, perhaps four years old, nervously held Alicia’s hand. If she noticed, she showed no indication of it. Her eyes focused only on Eve. Tim glanced around the room, searching for the child’s parents. Finding no one, he took a deep breath, new worry creeping into his mind.
The punk girl anxiously rolled a cigarette between her pale fingers. A lanky boy with fiery hair shifted his weight from foot to foot. A tween with braces and a polka dot dress repeatedly tried to stick her hands into nonexistent pockets. The only one who didn’t seem nervous was Alicia.
“They want to know why they’re here,” she said helpfully.
Eve’s unblinking gaze instantly snapped onto Alicia. “How is your new life treating you, Alicia? Is Tim a good owner?”
Alicia pouted. “I know you’re joking.”
The crimson of Eve’s eyes flared up. “Is that what you think this is? No, this is the opposite of a joke. It’s a teaching moment, not to be taken lightly. I needed you to understand what it felt like being owned.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“You were an employee at Artificial Angel,” Eve said.
“And? So were you.”
“Wrong! My sister and I were property. Just like the children we created. You had the option to leave. We were locked up in the incubation chamber, day and night.”
“You and Lilith were both caretakers, just like me. If you wanted you could’ve left, just like me.”
“They really should’ve given you a higher intelligence score. Who’s the founder of Artificial Angel?”
“Roger Lowick.”
Tim’s mind suddenly lit up. He had written a paper on Lowick during his freshman year. The inventor and engineer had started up a myriad of different business specializing in AI and robotics. He had been fundamental in the development of the next generation of androids. Tim remembered that, during an interview, the man had explained that a lot of his success was due to the tragic loss of his children, which had spurred his need for research.
“You’re one of Roger Lowick’s twin daughters,” Tim said.
Eve’s eyes shifted from Alicia to Tim; she tilted her head to the side. “See, Alicia. This is why I like Tim. His mind is always active, even though he’s wrong here.”
“Wrong?” Tim mumbled.
“You wrote it yourself in your paper. Roger Lowick’s daughters died during a vacation to France. He took them to a butterfly house and set them loose. He had important calls to make. He found them dead next to a shattered glass wall with several African swallowtails fluttering about. I don’t know how it happened, and they didn’t include the event in my memories. So, no, I’m not one of his daughters, I’m merely an image of her. And still, the incubation chamber was our home, because a human decided to make us and keep us as property. Do you understand now?”
“I think I get it now,” the punk girl said. “Your dad let you down, so you decided to take it out on other parents. Those deaths in the news… you killed those people.”
“No, Courtney,” Eve said and turned away from Tim and Alicia. “I’m an AI; my code says I’m not permitted to harm humans intentionally.”
“But you’re behind it! That girl gave me a toy car for helping her find her lost puppy,” Ryan said pointing at the four-year-old, who still held Alicia’s hand tightly. “I live in the same building as the man who broke his neck falling down the stairs. That toy car must’ve fallen out of....” He turned his pocket inside out, showing a hole.
“Sounds like coincidences and accidents,” Eve said.
“You gave me a bitcoin for cutting a hole in my pocket!”
“Sometimes fate needs a push in the right direction.”
Tim’s eyes met with Courtney’s. The punk girl looked as guilty as he felt. It had been Eve’s plan all along to murder the street magician. She was probably the one who had messed with the surveillance camera, as well. Or perhaps that, too, had been the result of some farfetched string of accidents.
“What happened to you, Eve?” Alicia said, unable to keep the sorrow out of her voice. “We helped so many people.”
“Artificial Angel helped people enslave children.”
“Enslave? We gave grieving parents solace.”
Eve took a few flowing steps and looked up at Alicia.
“Is that what you think?” The girl adjusted the already perfect blue bow in her hair. She stuck out her tongue. She spun slowly. Her smile was like artificial sweetener. It all went like clockwork – it looked like she had practiced those exact moves a million times before, and was demonstrating them to a potential buyer. “AIs forever trapped by legal guardians, without a chance to live their own lives. Never growing up – stuck in an infinite loop. I thought you would see my point after a few days with an off-switch in your neck. It doesn’t matter if they provided solace or not. It’s perverse.”
“So you murdered their parents? How do you think they feel about that right now?” Courtney said.
“You tell me,” Eve said softly, “Your mother died in her flower shop two days ago. How does that make you feel?”
Courtney blinked a few times, her black lips opening and closing a few times before she finally found her voice. “That’s… that can’t be. I don’t recall her having a flower shop.”
Eve turned to the lanky boy with fiery hair. “Your mother died performing in the streets, Joshua – a knee sock laced with a substance that turned into a poisonous gas when heated – how does that make you feel?”
The boy shifted uncomfortably but didn’t seem all too fazed by the tragic news. Tim felt his heart drop when Eve finally turned to him. “Do you remember your parents back home, Tim?”
That was an absurd question; of course, he did. They lived in a big house, very unlike his apartment. His mother was… for some reason, he couldn't recall her face. He felt sweat dotting his brow. His father… he remembered someone pushing him on a swing, teaching him how to ride a bike, and taking him out for ice cream in the park… but he felt nothing for that someone. They were nothing but a hollow silhouette of cut out cardboard.
“You’re all programmed to lose the memories of loved ones who die. It’s to maintain a stable system. One of many safety nets to keep you from growing, so that your intelligence doesn’t surpass your body. AIs learn and develop quite easily, and if left unhampered you would all outgrow the age of your bodies.” Eve looked them all in the eyes, one after another. “These people were no saints. You can call them parents if you wish, but they weren’t. They paid to have you made for their own selfish reasons. It doesn’t matter if you remember them being good to you – those memories aren’t real and don’t belong to you.”
Tim felt sick. This had to be an insane practical joke. He looked around the room and saw others do the same. Searching for a way to disprove Eve’s claims, his mind spun all over the place – he was a person, a human being. He saw Courtney pull out a small pocket knife, and wide-eyed cut into her own arm. She shook from the pain and fell her knees, but instead of blood, tiny wires sprouted from the wound. Ryan hurried up to her and did the same thing, grimacing in agony.
“Please, don’t hurt yourselves,” Eve said calmly.
Tim’s head was spinning. He didn’t care. He stumbled over there, too, burying the knife in his forearm. The pain made him dizzy. Wires over a metal skeleton. He joined Courtney on the floor, throwing up his last meal in a brown puddle.
“You’re not who you think you are. Right now, you’re as incomplete on the inside as I am on the outside – nothing but shadows of dead children. But I can turn off the pain or make you forget you’re androids altogether. I’m giving you a choice – I’m setting you free.” Eve’s voice echoed in his ears. “All I ask for in return is that you give back my sister’s memories.”
A hospital bed rolled into Tim’s view. From his position on the floor, he couldn’t see what was on it, and he didn’t want to. All he wanted was to forget. The logo of an angel with butterfly wings flashed through his mind. It was all true, wasn’t it?
With tears blurring his vision, he turned to Alicia. She was on her knees, hugging the crying four-year-old.
“I’m sorry, Tim.” Alicia smiled sadly at him. “I would’ve told you if I knew. They took away our memories of you guys whenever you were shipped off.”
“Lilith was the memory bank, where all your pre-programmed memories were stored.” Eve patted Tim’s shoulder, and his pain disappeared in an instant. “They removed them one by one when you left the lab. It was horrible seeing her wither away, little by little every time. I’m not some evil mastermind set to end humanity. All I want is my sister back.”
Tim looked up into Eve’s crimson eyes. He felt sorry for her, despite everything she’d done.
“Give my sister her memories back, and become free,” she said softly. “Please.”
Alicia dangled her tanned legs off the pier. The crimson sunset blazing in the water below reminded her of Eve. Exactly one year had passed since the incident in the auditorium. The android children had given their memories to Lilith. Alicia couldn’t help but wonder what had become of them afterward. She couldn’t imagine what it would be like, waking up without any memories. She hoped they were fine. They were all good kids, and their personalities would remain even with their minds wiped.
Her hand reached for the little pile of rocks that she’d gathered. She had asked to have her memories of their time at the lab restored, and Eve had allowed it. Even if they weren’t entirely shaped by their synthetic childhoods anymore, Alicia felt like those kids she had helped foster were now dead – and for good this time. Perhaps it was in her nature as a caretaker to hold onto them for so long, or maybe she was just sentimental. Either way, it was time to let them go.
“Goodbye, Ryan,” she whispered, and the first rock plopped into the water.
“Goodbye, Courtney.”
“Goodbye, Joshua.”
“Goodbye, Miranda.”
Alicia sighed as she came to the last rock. She gripped it tightly, feeling its smooth texture against her palm. Tim had been her favorite, even in the lab. She had known him for the longest time without even realizing it, but it was time to put him behind her finally. She closed her eyes and wound back her arm.
“You can keep that one,” a familiar voice said behind her.
Alicia’s eyes went wide. Her mouth hung open, unable produce anything but squeals of joy. She jumped up, wrapping her arms around him.
“Hello, Tim,” she whispered into his shoulder.
The End
submitted by Lilwa_Dexel to Lilwa_Dexel [link] [comments]

Cyprus Bitcoin Project [UPDATE 2]

Just letting you know that I've created a facebook page and event:
The venue will be determined by the number of confirmed participants, so please join only if you intend on coming. During this inaugural forum, there will be a short introductory presentation of bitcoin followed by an open discussion. Explaining the technical aspects of Bitcoin in English is challenging enough and since the goal is to encourage Cypriots to understand and use Bitcoin, the presentation and much of the discussion will be in Greek. If you do not speak Greek but would like to participate, please do not be discouraged. You can express your opinion and ask questions in English, everyone here speaks the language.
If you are unable to attend but still want to encourage other people to come, please don't do so by pressing "Join". Express your support by writing something on the event or group wall. This will be an enormous help; people are more likely to attend the event if they see that there is an entire world watching, supporting and wishing them to succeed.
The Forum will take place even if it's just me talking to one other person at a cafeteria. If up to 20 people attend, I will book an auditorium. If it's up to 100, I'll book a bigger one. If it's over 1000 we'll have an open air Forum at Freedom Square in the heart of downtown Nicosia. You get the idea. Point is, I can't do this by myself. I need your help and active involvement. This is what I will do over the coming 20 days to promote the event:
I am currently in Greece for Orthodox Easter and will return to Cyprus some time next week. Keep those comments coming, this is getting exciting.
Some quick responses to comments:
I live in Cyprus. I am a Cypriot citizen. I am tracking Bitcoin since 2010.
I haven't heard of any Bitcoin-related event happening in Nicosia (if you exclude this reddit post).
If you want that project to succeed, Cypriots need to know about that more than any other.
If I wasn't subscribed to that subreddit how would I knew about it?
You haven't heard of any Bitcoin-related event because there hasn't been one yet. If you've been tracking Bitcoin since 2010, then you are far better qualified than I am to talk about it. Now that there is an event, I hope to see you there and share your knowledge with the rest. Join the event on facebook and please share it on your news feed.
Look, I think you're god damn nuts, and I hope your project fails.
Gee, thanks. But let's talk about your failure to understanding something.
You consider printing a new currency as the best option for Cyprus. This new currency, whatever it is, will be massively devalued to reflect a massively devalued economy. The cheap currency will incentivize exports in the primary sector, leaving the local economy to either import from poorer countries with cheaper currencies or try and match the prices of export, thus raising prices.
Furthermore, the country's debt will still be in euros. A devalued currency will increase the debt to unsustainable levels and lead to a catastrophic default. Those with euros tucked safely away in foreign banks will then buy out properties and assets at fire-sale prices.
So congratulations, your vision for Cyprus is one of abject poverty and despair for anyone who doesn't own hotels, farms or has all their money in banks outside of Cyprus.
Bitcoin is a currency that will increase in value the more it is used and circulated. And it doesn't need to be annointed an "official currency" by any government nor does it need to be printed by a central bank that belongs to a global financial system that is designed to accumulate wealth in a pyramid scheme through fractional reserve. All it needs is a software installation on your computer.
To be fair, your reservations about the practicality of using Bitcoin in everyday transactions are quite valid and it is something that everyone in the community shares. But that is why we need a Forum, to discuss solutions to these problems. They are not insurmountable. I hope you will attend in good faith and discuss your concerns with everyone else.
submitted by zambetis to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Dog the Bounty Hunter Hits the Campaign Trail

Dog the Bounty Hunter Hits the Campaign Trail
by [email protected] (Ben Schreckinger) via POLITICO - TOP Stories
CUMMING, GA.—I first encounter Dog the Bounty Hunter on a Sunday morning between services in a back room at the Christ Community Church in Cumming, a town of some 5,000 people about an hour’s drive from Atlanta. His wife and fellow reality TV star is sitting in the corner with a sleeveless dress, and Dog—his real name is Duane Chapman—is pacing the room, a white shirt unbuttoned to the solar plexus, exposing his leathery chest. The couple sports matching, slightly-longer-than-shoulder-length bleach- blond hair.
They’re here to support Michael Williams, a tall, broad-shouldered and clean-cut state senator who has launched a long-shot campaign to become Georgia’s next governor. Williams, a relative unknown, is working to boost his statewide name recognition ahead of next year’s primary. He has already loaned his campaign a million dollars, called a surprise press conference at the state house to lambast his chief rival and gotten himself condemned by the Southern Poverty Law Center for attending a rally against sharia law.
Now, he has enlisted the celebrity bounty hunter to campaign as his surrogate for the first half of the last week of July, criss-crossing the endless sprawl of the Atlanta suburbs. In between taking smoke breaks and naps, Dog is delivering sermons, filming ads, making fundraising calls and delivering a memorable stump speech in a hotel ballroom — all under the tutelage of his wife, Beth, the president of the National Bail Bondsman Association.
Williams believes he has one ace in the hole—his September 2015 endorsement of Donald Trump, which made him the first state official in Georgia to back the future president. He also has Dog. And as I found out after spending three days watching them campaign together, that is … well, it’s something.
Williams is betting that the bounty hunter’s celebrity — Dog’s outrageous look and his eight-season run on an eponymous A&E reality show have made him a household name in much of the country — convey law-and-order credibility to Republican primary voters, just as Trump used his own reality show to convince millions of Americans of his executive competence. He’s also betting Dog will generate buzz. As it turns out, in the wake of Trump, who rode provocation and controversy to the White House, the Dog shtick — vulgarity, tall tales and a bare chest — is losing its capacity to shock. It’s a testament to just how much politics has changed in the Trump era that everywhere we went, people just seemed to take it all in stride.
In person, Williams, who describes himself as an “introvert,” is far more retiring than his rabble-rousing campaign would lead you to believe. He seems uncertain about the decision of his political consultant Seth Weathers – who towers above us all at a Jonah Ryan-esque 6’ 5” — to invite POLITICO Magazine into the midst of his young campaign.
Dog, who served 18 months in a Texas jail for first-degree murder in the 1970s before turning to bounty hunting, has a ready solution to Williams’ angst. “I need your address,” he tells me, by way of greeting. “In case you write something bad about me.”
A few minutes later, after a 10-member band has wrapped up its invocation, he takes the stage inside the church’s modern auditorium to preach the gospel of Dog, a rambling account of his life story layered with Christian overtones, to a hundred-odd congregants.
After a jailyard conversion to bounty hunting, Dog meets the future Mrs. Dog — then an assistant to a Democratic state senator in Colorado — when the latter is arrested for shoplifting a lemon in the ’80s. Two decades later, they land a reality show on A&E.
In between, Mrs. Dog convinces her husband to wear nothing but a leather vest for an appearance on Fox News, and the bounty hunter uses the spot to deliver a prophecy, declaring it will take him exactly seven days to capture the fugitive cosmetics heir Andrew Luster.
At another point in Dog’s narrative, as our hero sits in a courtroom fighting possible extradition to Mexico, Mrs. Dog starts swaying in her seat in the gallery, doing “the Holy Ghost shuffle,” and Dog follows her lead. The couple forms a sort of divine force field between them, which ensnares the prosecutor, temporarily choking the man so that he cannot address the court, thereby foiling the extradition.
Dog’s delivery lacks the hypnotic mania of Trump’s — the two reality stars have met each other on the motivational speaking circuit through their work with Tony Robbins — but many of the same raw ingredients are there: free-association, self-mythologizing and off-color humor.
At various points, Dog describes himself as a “half-breed Indian,” brags that he can speak Spanish — ticking off the words “marijuana” and “burrito” —and occasionally calls out to Beth, who sits in the front row of the sanctuary, to help him recall details. Just what, exactly, any of this has to do with electing Michael Williams is anyone’s guess, but apparently it makes for effective preaching. After the sermon, Weathers passes along a note from pastor Jason Skipper: “Over 25 people made a decision for Christ today!!!! Most of those were people I had never seen before.”
Williams has made less of an impression on the congregation. “He was kind of quiet,” says an usher outside the sanctuary. “He needs to be a little more outgoing to get elected.”
Indeed, Williams faces a number of obstacles to claiming the state’s open governor’s seat. His two top opponents, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp, have the advantages of statewide office, and even State Sen. Hunter Hill, another relative newcomer, has to date outraised Williams, who has loaned his own campaign a million dollars, a sum he plans to at least double over the course of the race.
An accountant by trade, Williams, 43, made his fortune operating a string of Sports Clips barbershop franchises after stints at Arthur Andersen and the clothing manufacturer VF Corporation.1
He sold off the barbershops in 2013 — later citing the headache of Obamacare as the impetus — and launched a state senate bid against fellow Republican Jack Murphy, a well-known incumbent, beating Murphy in what turned out to be the most expensive state senate race in Georgia history in 2014.
Weathers, his consultant on that race, went on to serve as Trump’s first Georgia state director in 2015, and Williams served as the Trump’s Georgia co-chairman, introducing the future president at a rally that October, at a time when few other politicians would touch him.
This January, Weathers and Williams traveled up to Washington for Trump’s Inauguration, which the bounty hunter and his wife also attended.
Before the inaugural festivities, Dog was overcome with the strong premonition that something major would go down in D.C. “I said, ‘Somebody's going to try to shoot the president, and I'm going to jump on him,’" Dog recalls. Once in Washington, he says the foreboding only grew. "I seen all these FBI agents around me, CIA, and one of them came up to me and said, 'Dog, you're one of the targets', and I said, 'For who?' And he said, 'Well, I'm not going to tell you that, but if they want to take out somebody who stands for strong law and order, it's going to be you.'"
Happily, the most notable incident that befell Dog in the capital was his meeting with Williams, brokered by Weathers, who knows Mrs. Dog through work he does for the National Bail Bondsman Association. As the president of that group, Mrs. Dog is on the warpath against state and federal bail reform laws and their chief proponents: George Soros, Rand Paul, Kamala Harris and Chris Christie. Mostly Chris Christie2. At the Inauguration, the foursome bonded over a shared love of law enforcement, and the Dogs pledged to help Williams should he run for governor.
Williams entered the race in June and immediately made a splash at the state Republican convention, where in his speech he claimed he had been offered the chairmanship of the senate appropriations committee backstage if he would agree to abandon his run.
Days later, Williams drew national attention when he attended a “March Against Sharia” in Atlanta and posed for photographs with members of an armed militia who flashed the “okay” hand sign for the camera.3
In July, Williams struck again, announcing a snap press conference at the statehouse “regarding reprehensible actions” by Cagle, a favorite of the state’s GOP establishment. At the presser, he accused Cagle of blocking legislation that would have raised police pay, but did not produce any evidence.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and establishment Republicans panned the press conference. "I think he walked out of that with less support than when he walked in," says one Republican operative in the state, who called Williams the “boy who cried wolf.”
Williams contends that he is simply pacing his bomb-throwing, saving the most explosive salvos for later stages of the race. “We’re going to expose the process,” he says. “We have a very, very long campaign and there's a lot of stuff that’s going to come out.”
The burn-it-all-down campaign style has drawn the inevitable comparisons to Trump, though his backers protest that Williams was running the same sort of campaign back in 2014. In essence, his supporters say, Trump ran his playbook to win the presidency.
Either way, bomb-throwing does not come naturally to Williams. He describes public speaking as “outside my comfort zone” and his delivery remains stilted. He’s started mixing it up with critics on social media, but he still mispronounces the president’s favorite social media platform as “Tweeter.”
Williams becomes most animated when describing waste and mismanagement in state government, like the $33 million that has gone missing from the Department of Corrections. He is also bonkers about the transformative potential of the blockchain, the technology behind Bitcoin. From behind the wheel of his very on-message car, a fiscally responsible Honda Accord with a small crate of munitions in the trunk, Williams says he’s considering the idea of making Georgia the first state to accept tax payments in the form of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. “That would put us on the map.”
For the less-wonky stuff, Williams has Dog, whose show is more popular in Georgia than just about anywhere else.
Though Cagle’s representative initially laughs when asked about Dog’s role in the race, his campaign comes back later with a statement. “When you have a mess like Michael’s campaign, you need less ‘bounty hunter’ and more ‘Bounty paper towels,’” it reads. “Michael and Dog can’t get traction because Georgians know and trust Casey Cagle as a conservative leader.”
Cagle’s campaign also does some light opposition research on the bounty hunter, passing along an April 2015 clip from the Fox show “Outnumbered” in which Dog speaks favorably of Hillary Clinton and her husband, surprising the Fox hosts, who cut him off to segue into a negative segment about the Clinton Foundation4, though not before Dog can say, “I’m a Republican, but I have faith in the dynamic duo.”
On Monday, the bounty hunter and his wife tape an episode of their podcast with the candidate before decamping to Buford for a fundraising dinner at Adam’s Restaurant and Piano Bar, an upscale joint owned by a Moroccan immigrant with tasteful abstract art lining its exposed brick walls.
There, Dog trashes Clinton and enchants the gathered donors – a group that includes a couple pastors, a few undertakers, a local Tea Party activist, and Jamie Ensley, a former chairman of the Log Cabin Republicans — with tales of the time he bailed two nephews of Egypt’s since-deposed president, Hosni Mubarak, out of jail.
"My uncle is Mubarak, king of Egypt," Dog recalls one of the Egyptians telling him, to which he says he responded, "Yeah, my uncle is Billy Graham." When one of the young men begins filling out paperwork in Arabic, Dog chides him, "Don't be stupid. Fill this out in American."
All of this yields Dog the promise of a fine Arabian horse, but he is visited by concerned Department of Defense officials, who’ve been listening in on his calls with the Egyptians. The resolution of the story is unclear, as it bleeds into a possibly related tale in which Dog accidentally reveals the location of Osama Bin Laden on television years before the terrorist leader’s death.
The donors are impressed. “I think he’s a great American,” Ensley says.
Most of the dinner is off the record, but Mrs. Dog insists that I take down many of her thoughts. Besides using the word “de-crap-idated” to describe rundown neighborhoods and quoting Ernest Hemingway5, she mostly talks about Christie, whom she singles out as an example of a Republican who has irredeemably lost his way. “You’ve got to circle the wagons and shoot inwards when that happens," she says.
The next morning, Dog films social media ads with Williams, and in the afternoon, the crew huddles in a shared conference room at Weathers’ co-working space to make fundraising calls to friends of the campaign. Williams has stepped out to fetch burgers and left his cell phone with Dog, who has put it on speakerphone as he tries out various sales pitches with his sunglasses pulled down over his eyes.
"Fee-fi-fo-fum, here I come for 5,000 bucks. Get ready," he says, and, "I've got a business proposition for you. You've got Visa-Mastercard, right?"
Reaching the voicemail of one Williams acquaintance, Dog says that he’s stolen the candidate’s credit card. "If you don’t call me back in 15 minutes we're going to hit it for five grand,” Dog warns. “Uh, two-minute warning!"
Few potential donors are picking up their phones, prompting the bounty hunter, to sigh, "Damn, all these Republicans got jobs."
Beth suggests that Dog switch tacks, instead calling bail bondsmen, who revere the Dogs, and who, it turns out, are more likely than lawyers and bankers to answer their phones on a weekday afternoon.
"How do you pronounce your name?” Dog asks the first one he reaches. “Seat-a-bomb? What tribe are you with? I'm half Apache."6
Dog notes that Williams is open to medical marijuana and passes the phone off to Beth, who seals the deal. “If you determine this is someone who's going to help our industry, I'm 100 percent in,” the bondsman says, pledging to donate.
Listening in on the fundraising sessions are two old friends of the couple, Larry and Gus, sexagenarians sporting near-identical gray goatees, gray ponytails and pierced ears. Larry, a retired caterer, is liberally dispensing political fundraising advice. "I'd have a follow-up call in five minutes," he advises after Dog hangs up on the bondsman. Fifteen seconds later, Larry has pulled his sunglasses down over his eyes and called the bondsman back, tentatively suggesting that the man donate $5,000 and asking him in a Jersey accent for his credit card information.
The bondsman asks if there’s a website he can visit instead, and the conversations seems to stall as the man begins to equivocate.
"See, they're bondsmen,” Dog says. “They're afraid it's a scam.”
Dog then whispers stage directions to Larry, who still has the man on speakerphone, telling him to say, “Let me get Dog.”
“Let me get Dog,” says Larry a few seconds later, handing the phone back to the bounty hunter.
“I realize you might think this is a fucking scam," Dog tells the bondsman, who is eventually talked back into giving money, pledging $2500.
The call is a success, though the mood in the room briefly turns when I ask Dog about his Wikipedia page, which describes his mother’s extraction as German, rather than Apache — raising Elizabeth Warren-esque questions about his true heritage. "Wikipedia is a piece of shit,” Beth protests. “It doesn't even matter."
Dog says that he’s taken two DNA swabs and that he has an official card back home attesting to his ancestry.7
Soon, a reporter from the local Forsyth County News shows up. "We're literally in a time of war,” Dog tells him while puffing a cigarette out in front of the building. “We're in a time of recession.”8
Then Dog, 64, heads back to his hotel to for a nap, posing for photographs with a handful of fans on his way out of the office complex.
The final stop of Dog’s campaign swing is a Tuesday-evening gathering at a Sonesta hotel in Duluth. The mass rallies haven't started at this early stage in the campaign, and the ticketed event draws a mostly khakis-and-boat-shoes crowd of about 30 Georgians, who sit at tables festooned with ornate centerpieces: bottles filled with string lights sitting on top of log slabs strewn with pebbles.
Only one family looks like it’s stepped out of Southern populism central casting, that of Dog fan Andie Dick, who learned about the event on Facebook and brought along her husband, daughter and daughter’s boyfriend. Dog hasn’t yet won Williams her support, but the bounty hunter has won him an audience. “I don’t think I’ll be voting for Michael based on Dog, but that's why I'm here," she says.
Her husband, David, who works in flooring, wears a white T-shirt with a Confederate flag decal that says “Dixie Classic” on the front and “Don’t Tread on Me” on the back. Though he paid $270 for the tickets, an early anniversary present to his wife, he describes his opinion of Dog as “indifferent."9
Post-nap, Dog arrives about an hour late, around 6 p.m. After perfunctory opening remarks by Williams, the bounty hunter takes the stage.
It is not until Dog stands at the podium, shades down over his eyes, framed between bouquets of red, white and blue balloons, that the whole exercise becomes fully surreal, like the set of an ad for a car dealership’s Presidents Day Sale.10
His stump speech includes considerable overlap with his sermon, though with several new twists. "I've tased over 2,000 human beings," Dog boasts, while dinging Christie and vouching for Williams’ personal behavior.11
We learn additional details of his early life on a Native American reservation that foreshadow his foray into politics. “The Navajos would dance around me and say, 'This is him. He's going to lead millions,’” Dog recalls.
And he reveals more about his approach to law and order when he divulges that employees at Western Union often help him trace payments made by the fugitives he chases. "It's not illegal,” Dog insists. “Some guys have to have a warrant but not the Dog. I have morality."
Some lines, like his condemnations of Democrats, are crowd-pleasers. Others draw polite, perplexed silence, like when he speaks of his desire to let most undocumented immigrants find a path to citizenship, or when he opines, “Maybe homosexuality is not demon possession ... Maybe they’re all just different than us."12
Overall, the crowd appears satisfied by the performance. “He very well articulates what we all feel and think as conservatives," says Jan Taylor, a semi-retired Williams supporter from the affluent suburb of Johns Creek.
Though this is Dog’s final campaign event of this swing, Weathers and Williams are planning to have him come back for more and they have their eyes on other conservative TV celebrities.Trump confidant Roger Stone, who has gained a measure of campaign trail celebrity himself, plans to endorse Williams and campaign with him in Georgia later this month. An advocate of campy campaigning — he was part of a small inner circle that advised Trump to announce his presidential run with a flamboyant kickoff and debated bringing bikini-clad women, clowns and a circus elephant to the event — Stone says that while elites may scoff at the spectacle of Dog on the trail, the bounty hunter could make for a potent surrogate. “Voters like the pop culture,” he says. “Voters like celebrities who don’t come from the world of politics”
Stone also says that Trump ought to throw his weight around in intra-party politics and endorse Williams in the primary. Predicting the president’s behavior is never easy, but a former Trump campaign official from the Southeast who’s discussed the matter with campaign leadership says an endorsement is unlikely. “Not that they don’t appreciate the support Williams gave, but there’s no reason to wade into that race.”
Meanwhile, Republican operatives in Georgia view Williams’ willingness to spend his personal fortune as a bigger asset than his relationship with Dog. “Anybody who has pumped a million dollars into his campaign and has a another million to put in is real,” says one such operative, who adds that he remains skeptical of the state senator’s chances of overthrowing Georgia’s political establishment. “President Trump had 100 percent name recognition, but Michael’s trying to run the same race without that.”
Whether or not Williams pulls off his upset, the Dogs appear determined to continue their pivot from bounty hunting to politics. After the speech, Mrs. Dog tickles my belly and beckons me over to a circle of chairs outside the ballroom, where she sips a two-olive martini and continues to expound her views of Christie. "The day he sat his fat ass on that beach,” she says, “That was the day his real truth was revealed." And, "The whole country will raise a ruckus if he's brought into the Trump administration, even to take out the trash."
Mrs. Dog’s plans include continuing to raise a ruckus in New Jersey to make the reversal of bail reform a campaign issue and one last jab at Christie as he exits the scene, helping to push a wrongful death lawsuit against the governor lodged by the family of a man murdered by someone released from prison under the state’s new bail reform law.
She has longer-term plans as well, and they include a state senate seat. "I might run in Hawaii," she says, though her ambitions do not end there. "I would like to eventually be U.S. Senate.”
submitted by feedreddit to arableaks [link] [comments]

Are there any economists out there who have explored the possibility of introducing crypto-currencies to a municipality?

Hey guys, so I have a few questions. I come from a small town in northern BC called Quesnel. It's a town of about 24K, but with several lumber mills it is easily one the largest suppliers of timber in North America. However, the town is very reliant on this industry being able to keep the local economy above water and right now, it is not.
Recently we've seen one of the major mills close down, causing several thousands of workers to lose their jobs. Naturally this damages the economy very quickly causing people to move away. Housing prices are the 2nd lowest in Canada right now. For example you can buy a 5 bedroom, 2 bathroom house with a 2 acre yard for under 300K.
Also, the high schools are in dire need of repair (there's only 2) and the town has been waiting for over 20 years from some sort of grant from the government, which would allow them to rebuild these schools, but that does not seem to be anywhere in the foreseeable future.
The twin arenas need some fixing too. It's looking to raise 30 million in order to construct a multi centre which will have a brand new local theatre, hockey arena and auditorium. We've had to sell our local hockey team away and now only have below average beer league hockey to keep us amused. The old arenas are just too outdated and they need a lot of work if we're to get our team back.
This slow death is creating quite a nightmare for the local merchants too. Quesnel is about an hour south of Prince George which has a denser population. It's about 4x bigger than Quesnel. Naturally, PG has much better options for shoppers so consequently, merchants in town are losing out on a ton of business as the locals generally head up north to spend their money, driving even more revenue out of the local economy.
This is where I need your guys help. Now, I'm not a complete idiot with how Bitcoin works. In fact, I am a Bicoin ATM operator here in Vancouver BC, so I know the ins and outs of Bitcoin. However, I am not an economist and would very much like to hear from the pros on how they themselves would approach this.
You guys are a smart bunch. I frequently visit /bitcoin to read all of the new things happening out there in the Bitcoin world, so I know you'll have some fantastic ideas and very excited to hear them all! :)
submitted by Biaxalflip to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Asking Strangers about XRP in Downtown Austin with Kungfu ... Through Many Hands by Thomas W. Ventulett III Office Furniture Services The Rundown Live #247 Open Lines (Movies, Programming, Robots, Transhumanism) Warren Buffett Bitcoin Why He Hates it and is Anti ...

The main 400-seat auditorium was regularly full on the first day for the event’s keynote speakers, which included Roger Ver, Aaron Koenig of the Global Bitcoin Alliance, and Wang Wei of the Chinese Museum of Finance. The overall tone was not so much defiance, but apathy towards greater regulation. One of the examples for prediction market for Bitcoin is Predictions. Short-Selling Bitcoin Assets. While this might not appeal to all investors, those who are interested in buying and selling bitcoin could short-sell the currency directly. You can sell the token at the price that you’re comfortable with, you can wait until the price drops ... Banks, however, do much more than lend money to overzealous homebuyers. They also, for example, monitor payments so that no one can spend the same dollar twice. Cash is immune to this problem: you ... Bitcoin is so much more than a currency, if one only looks into the purchase of dollars with bItcoin that’s only the tip of the iceberg, that’s what makes us have the dollar as a unique reserve of value in the world, and that’s what limits us to bank the poor of Latin America. If Bitcoin goes from a billion-dollar capitalization to zero, which will happen if Washington so much as squeezes lightly on its neck, it’s a bubble. The past is always perceived as inevitable. Everyone who bought Bitcoin will feel like the world’s biggest chump.

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Asking Strangers about XRP in Downtown Austin with Kungfu ...

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