On Thursday, June 28, 2001
there was a preview screening
for those who participated in the game. When I went, I thought that everyone in the theater would know about the game. As it turned out, no one had any idea what I was talking about when I asked them if they were a cloudmaker
When the movie was over, they passed out posters. It was a silhouette of David's face with blurry black and white streaks going down it and border that was made up of dashes. I was happy to get a poster and just rolled it up and started walking away. The friend I was with, however, noted something very interesting on the poster. Looking closly at the black and white streak, you could read usernames. As I read the names, I recognized a few of them. At this point I was freaking out; screaming and jumping up and down. "Oh my God!" I exclaimed, "these are cloudmaker usernames." The puppetmasters (the people running the game) had thanked us all in a very special way. Yet, sadly, my name was not included. Later I found out that the names were from a place on www.unite-and-resist.org where you could enter an email address and other information and would receive a "UAN" or Universal Access Number, something I had not done. I was not amused.
I got home and started examining the poster in further detail. I noticed that the border of the silhouette was made up of dashes and spaces. They had to contain information. I counted them and this came out: 713-867-5980. A phone number. More on that in a minute.
While examining the poster under the light, I also noticed that there was a reflection of something, like an invisible seal or something, when you held the light at the correct angle. I considered looking at it under ultraviolet light, but had none available. After a while of moving the light back and forth and turning the poster ev'ry-whicha-way, I found that the image on the seal was in fact a marionnette. A kind of joke from the puppetmasters.
Back to the phone number. Calling the phone number would produce this message: "Warning: this line is hours away from activating." What excitement! I called back a couple of more times that night and got the same message. I went to sleep.
Next morning I woke up and had forgotten about the number. My mom asked me to run an errand with her. As we were driving down the highway, I remembered suddenly, it was around 11:10. I reached down into my pocket for my cell phone and I called the number. "This line will active at 8:30 AM Pacific time." I added 3 to to 8:30 in my head. Eleven-thirty. Christ, this thing was minutes away from activating. I thought that since the puppetmasters had required a UAN for the poster, they would probably require it for this. Good thing I got one right after I found out about their importance. I quickly called my brother at home and told him to go to my computer, open Outlook, and check the email I had received from unite-and-resist confirming the activation of my UAN. He couldn't find it, he told me.
The reason why calling this number was so important was that on the website where the screenings were announced, it said that there would "be something for each and every one of you to take home as a thank you from us." By this they meant the poster. But it also said: "Abuela says she managed to pick up a few things while she was working on the set, and she wanted to give them out as presents, too." By this, I imagine, they meant props from the movie. So it was pretty important to call this number.
My mom asked me if she should turn around and drop me off at home, seeing as I had something more important to do. I refused her request and didn't make any more phone calls. Eleven-thirty still hadn't rolled around. She ran the errand and we went back home. It was 12:15 when I got in the car to go home. I called the number: "This line has been deactived." No. Fucking. Way.
I got home, ran to my computer, and went the cloudmakers yahoo group to check the forum. It turns out that during the brief time when the number was active, a message had told the callers to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with their name, address, and a reason why they should get what he's got; if they were too greedy or slow, they wouldn't get anything. I did this, I waited a moment, I checked my email. One new message from themanbehindthecurtain, subject: automated response. It said: "You're too slow."
And that's it. It seems that some did get through and got no such automated response. Let's see what they get.
I hope it's anthrax.