3419 words · 17 min read
Florian sat at his place in the open-planned office, staring at the grey screen, with colourful codes standing out against the dark screen. He was asked to fix a stupid bug in the operating system his employer sold to millions. Fixing bugs had ben his only job for a few years now.
This is so fucking boring. This job is just a glorified fire-fighter. In fact, even fire-fighter’s job is more glorious than mine. At least they save lives. I am here to make sure fonts render correctly on the new type of screen that no one has!
No one with his level of skills and intelligence would want a job like that, but the job was very well-paid, with all-you-can-eat buffet served at the cafeteria, stupid swimming pool machine in the backyard of the office, and the badge of honour attached to being employed by a company with illustrious history and flying stock price on Wall Street. When he was offered a job after going through dozens of gruelling and demoralising interviews, he was so overjoyed that he ran to the middle of the street, screamed to random pedestrians that he made it, and almost got hit by a lorry.
Now, he was miserable. His colleague sitting next to him, a stupid prick, was working on some new features so awesome that Florian wanted to punch him every time he saw that fucking face. Every now and then, that colleague would stalk at his screen, as if checking if he was browsing porn at work.
That fucking moron can get to decide what features get in and out of the next version of the OS, and I am hear to fix bugs that cunt made two years ago in this version of the OS because his brain is full of worms! Fuck him!
In the bar Florian frequented, he drunk himself to a point where he would say anything to anyone who asked.
“So, what is this security vulnerability that no one except you know?” a young man with a massive beard asked while drinking beer.
“You can control any computer running this system with this vulnerability. This is a stupid bug a stupid colleague of mine made.”
“Tell me more, my friend,” the young man tapped on his shoulder and asked.
So Florian went on to describe the technical specifics of the bug, and his new friend listened with great interest.
“So will I be able to take money from those motherfucking banks without anyone noticing?”
“Yes, if those motherfucking banks use that stupid system we sell!”
Florian met his new friend again a month later in the same bar. He’d forgotten his name.
“I am now a millionaire!” he said. “Thanks to you!”
“The vulnerability only you know!”
“Wait, I told you about that?”
“Hey, don’t worry man! I haven’t told anyone! You won’t get caught! Besides, didn’t you say that fixing stupid bugs wasn’t what you like to do?”
“Did I tell you that?”
“I can’t be implicated in your scheme, you stupid fuck!”
“Hey wow, calm down man! Have you seen the news lately? Have you ever read any reports of any banks losing any money? No! They just keep on making record profits by ripping people off! I will be a billionaire before they notice anything weird!”
“Are you mad!?”
“Hey calm the fuck down man! I’m not going to steal one billion. I’ve something better in mind.”
The sales of that shitty operating system had been disappointing. They are losing market share and money. A drastic measure was taken. In the meeting room where all four walls were painted bright orange, Florian’s entire team was sitting there listening to the announcement from the lead engineer of his team.
“We are going to cut one person from this team. Florian, you are out.”
“Me? Are you fucking kidding me?”
“Yes,” his idiotic colleague said. “You watch fucking porno at work, of course you’re out!”
“Are you hallucinating shits in your brain? Which eyes of yours saw porno on my screen at work?”
“Sorry, the server log clearly says that there’s been browsing of porno site from your computer.”
“Are you shitting me?”
“You bunch of douche bags, I hate everyone of you.”
“Hey, good to see you again!” that new friend whose name he couldn’t remember showed up again in his favourite bar. “How are you?”
Florian told him everything in a fury, and he listened to his rage with interest.
“So, what are you going to do?”
“I don’t fucking know. I hate the world. I hate everyone!”
“Does that include me?”
“Well, most probably.”
“But you are not sure.”
“Does it make any difference?”
“Yes, I want you to join me!”
“You see, I hate everyone too. You know all the vulnerabilities inside that stupid operating system, right? Now that you are gone, no one fixes bugs any more! That’s very valuable to our cause!”
“Revenge! Don’t you want to watch those people who put you down suffer?”
His first targets were his ex-boss and ex-colleague, not just because they forced him out of a stupid job, but mostly because they were stupid. Florian hated stupid people more than any other kind of people. And by “stupid,” he didn’t mean those who are mentally retarded, because they could do nothing about it; rather, he hated those people who had normal or even very high IQ, went to Ivy League schools, but thought and spoke like retarded.
“Look at that fucking Donald Trump,” he explained to his new sidekick Jason. “He went to Wharton! Surely he’s not retarded, but he’s stupid, and he talks like a five-year-old.”
“I totally agree with you man! Or George W. Bush! He went to Yale!”
“I always wonder what’s in their brains.”
Inside the damped and dark basement of Jason’s house, the headquarters of their revenge plot, with their own sophisticated and powerful machines, they hacked into his ex-boss’ home computer that control everything in his house.
“You know what I’m going to do?”
“I’m going to set fire on his house.”
“Wow! You can do that?”
“Theoretically, yes. In practice, we’ll see. Let’s see…”
Florian turned the CCTV cameras at his ex-boss’ house, and there was no one inside.
“Right, let me have a go at it.”
Florian typed a series of commands to control his ex-boss’s computer, which then turned every electrical appliance in his home on. Ten minutes later, a small fire appeared on one of the CCTV cameras.
“Man! You are amazing!”
“No, this fire is too slow… Let’s see if we can crank it up.”
With a few more commands, the stove in the kitchen lit up, the television in the living room exploded, and the stack of newspaper next to the heater was burning. Everything soon burned, the computer was disconnected from Florian, and he could no longer see anything.
“Now we wait and watch the news and set my stupid colleague’s house on fire.”
The fire department was confused: two houses owned by two employees of the same company were burned down within half and hour. They couldn’t find any evidence of anyone setting fire on the houses. They couldn’t find anything at all. It seemed as though the two houses self-combusted.
“There are too many morons in the world,” Jason said while holding a beer. “When you think too much ahead of them, they think you’re crazy, not smart! It’s hard to fit in with those idiots and pretend you are not annoyed by them. And so you are alone while the other so-called ‘cool guys and girls’ hang out. You are so out-of-place that you wonder why the fuck your mother gave birth to you. And then your mother expects something from you on fucking Mother’s Days, but you hate your mum!”
“I know how you feel.”
“Watching how to take down those morons’ houses without even going there, I wish I could do the same sooner.”
“Is that why you now resort to ripping off money from banks using the hacks I told you?”
“Well, I have to eat to survive, so I have to create money from somewhere. Besides, I want revenge, just like you, and banks are my target.”
“So you worked for a bank.”
“A motherfucking bank. You know how these people do business? They lend money to people who can’t repay, and they sell worthless junk at huge markup to people who can’t afford to lose. If you work for a bank, you can either go with it in order to meet your own sales target and get the bonus, or you don’t go with it, and you leave on your own, or they fire you. In the end, you may well be right about those worthless shit, but before you get the vindication, those stupid colleagues who don’t question shit will have got millions of dollars and moved to another job. And then no one remembers the crime after they’ve moved on. These people should burn in hell, but they live in heaven!”
“Well, as I always like to say, you can be on the right side of history but on the wrong side of reality.”
“I like how you put it.”
“Something weird’s happening,” Sophie said to her boss.
“What is it?”
“Some money’s missing from thousands of savings accounts.”
“Thousands? Are you kidding me?”
“No. Maybe millions of accounts.”
“And yet no clients of ours have reported any problem?”
“No. Each account only loses a few dollars at most. Some only lose a few cents. No one would have noticed.”
“Keep monitoring the situation, but don’t alert anyone yet.”
“So what’s next? Do you think you will ever get discovered?”
“Does it matter? I am going to blow up the entire world, and I will make sure I succeed before they figure out a thing.”
“So you are a terrorist.”
“Vigilante. Also, by blowing up the world, I only mean it figuratively. I am not crazy enough to hack into nuclear plants around the world to blow them all up.”
“So what are you going to do?”
“I am going to blow up all the big banks and the Federal Reserve. I don’t care if that’s going to set the economy back a century, but I am fucking doing it anyway.”
“That sounds cheerful.”
“That’s the ultimate revenge, and it’s our ultimate revenge.”
Sophie sent people to track down where the money had gone, but they came away with nothing. Soon enough, her boss got the wind from other banks having strange things happening that every bank’s boss would rather not say.
“I think they all have the same problem, and like us, they don’t want to admit it.”
“So what do we do now?”
“Can our IT people trace them down?”
“They are trying, but the enemy is careful, so they haven’t found anything yet. I’ve told them to inform me if they find anything.”
“So, this is the plan,” Jason said. “We will take down the biggest banks on earth through the security vulnerability only you know. In exactly a week’s time, at nine-thirty Eastern Time, we will crank up all the overdrafts owed by customers to the banks and empty those money into a dummy account. Many of those borrowers are other banks and financial institutions. They will panic and sell shit loads of stuff in the market. The repercussion will be global. Europe will watch Wall Street plunging to death, and their banks will be in trouble too.”
“But what do you get out of this?” Florian asked. “You are talking about moving billions of dollars to a dummy account that you can’t really touch, because once you do, we can be traced, right? And how did you move a million from millions of accounts into your own account anyway? Surely people are going to get suspicious?”
“If I’m right, those banks should already be suspicious now. They are investigating their mysterious disappearance of small amount of money in large number of accounts now.”
“Are you saying that they will track you down eventually?”
“Maybe, or maybe not. But you should know better, right? I exploited the vulnerability only you know. So I ask you now: will they be able to track me down?”
“Well…” Florian hesitated. “It’s improbable, but not impossible.”
“Sophie, I think I’ve found something,” Terence, Sophie’s right-hand man, said.
“The money lost from different accounts was all moved to one account created a while ago. It has no name associated with it, but someone has been withdrawing money from it.”
“Can you track down that person?”
“That person is careful, so it’s hard to track him down. We have to rely on him being careless.”
“But you said he’s careful.”
“One only has to make mistake once.”
“And has he?”
“Yes, only a very small trail, very hard to spot, but our people managed to spot it.”
“Don’t ask me how, because I can’t understand half of it when my guys explained to me. Ask me who did it.”
“Ok. Who did it then?”
“Your old friend Jason.”
“Are you shitting me?”
Is that you?
A message showed up on Jason’s phone. It was Sophie from the other side.
I don’t know wtf you are talking about.
Have they discovered it already?
Stop it, you are going to be in big trouble.
Jason looked around his house through dozens of CCTV cameras. In one of the camera, he saw a man watching his house with binoculars.
“Who the fuck is he?” he said to Florian while pointing to the screen.
“Shit. Have they discovered us already?”
“Fuck, I’m afraid so.”
“So what are we going to do?”
“We can’t stop our plan!”
“We are going to be in big trouble.”
“We are going to be in big trouble anyway, if they’ve really discovered it. Isn’t it better to blow up the world as much as we can before we miss the opportunity forever?”
“That’s a very crazy idea!”
“Please! What else are you going to do? Walk out and surrender? What difference does it make? You set fire on people’s houses! That’s attempted murder, arsoning, whatever fuck! You won’t come out of this well even if you walk out now, and you fucking know it.”
“So what the fuck are you suggesting me to do?”
“We bring forward our plan to blow up the world. We begin now!”
For people on Wall Street, it was a boring Wednesday until 2pm Eastern Time. No one could tell exactly what was happening, but some massive sell orders came through from nowhere, which triggered more sell orders from more places, which led to an avalanche of sell orders. People scrambled to their Bloomberg Terminal, wondering if there was any sudden news hitting the wire. The only thing they saw, however, was the alert that the market was dropping like a stone.
“What the fuck is going on?” Sophie’s boss shouted everywhere. “Hey hey hey, why is the money drying up?”
“Where’s the money gone?”
“Check with other banks to see what’s wrong?”
“Other banks are scrambling for money too! And brokers!”
“Our clients are calling up! They all say their lines with us are suddenly used up without actually drawing any money from those lines!”
“Our lines at all other banks are used up too!”
“Hey things are not looking good across the pond!”
“Boss you should call the Fed!”
“It’s useless, even the fucking discount window is not working now!”
“Are you fucking shitting me?”
“The Fed is running out of money even though they can fucking print it!”
This might be as close as one can get to blowing up the world. Wealth around the world was evaporating, and people would soon suffer the consequence, including Florian and Jason, who would most likely be jailed or something, but part of Florian felt good when he watched everything crashed and burned.
These, he thought, are the fuckers who fuck the world hard, these idiots who run the rest of the world to the ground so that they can be in heaven, they should suffer as much as the rest of us.
The battle raged on when America headed to the evening. The news was all over the sudden financial panic, which was so disastrous that financial reporters had tears in their eyes.
“Look at them,” Jason laughed, “these idiots talk shit on TV day in day out without knowing what they are talking about. They think they are smart after talking to a few so-called gurus!”
“I admire your not-giving-a-fuck-ness, if you know what I mean.”
“No, I don’t know what you mean, but I probably don’t give a fuck.”
At that instance, they heard a knock on their main door.
“Shit,” Jason ran and panicked. “Who the fuck is that?”
The two of them ran up to the ground level, then slowed down and tread carefully towards the door. Through the peephole, Jason saw Sophie at his doorstep.
“Who is it?” Florian whispered.
“I know who is it, but I don’t know why she’s here.”
“So are you going to open the door?”
“Jason! Let me in! I’ve something important to tell you!”
“Is she going to betray you?”
“Well, I don’t know.”
“Is she alone out there?”
“Looks like it.”
“So, are you going to open the door?”
“Jason, if you don’t open the door now, I am going to call the police in 10 seconds. One… two… three…”
“What the fuck woman!” Jason shouted and opened the door. “What the fuck are you doing here?”
“I know what you are doing here,” she rushed in and said; then she saw Florian and asked, “who are you?”
Jason slammed the door and followed her into his living room, which was dark and stale. Sophie turned on the light switch, as if she knew the place well.
“What the fuck are you doing here?”
“I know it was you. You ripped off all the money from our bank, and other banks.”
“I have no idea what you are talking about.”
“I’m giving you a chance. Return all the money back to the bank, and I won’t tell my boss. I’m protecting you. You are committing a massive fraud.”
“Your bank. Your motherfucking bank! Who cares about banks any more! Do you even know if your motherfucking bank still exist? In fact, I think you should not be here! You should be back in your office counting corpses! Hey do you know your boss just jumped off the building of your motherfucking bank? Have you watched the news? It was broadcast live a few minutes ago!”
“Should I leave for a moment?” Florian asked, embarrassed.
“No you stay here, I need you,” Jason said.
Jason then walked up to Sophie and wiped her tears off her face.
“I love you, I really do… but you are such an idiot.”
“Who aren’t idiots in your eyes? Everyone’s idiot according to your book! EVERYONE!”
“No. Wrong. This guy,” he pointed to Florian, “this guy, is a fucking genius.”
He picked up the remote control from the coffee table and turned on the television.
“Japan is about to open. It’s going to another bloodbath.”
“You shorted the market?”
“Do you think I would get paid if I shorted the market? All my counterparties would be broke!”
“Why are you so excited then?”
“Because the world is a better place when these scumbags become poor.”
“Did you make this happen? The crash?”
“Well, we made this happen.”
“Jason, why the fuck are you telling her this? Are you mad?”
“No,” he said calmly. “I am prepared. If they want me in jail, let them take me. If they want me dead, let them kill me. But don’t touch my friend here.”
“Why?” Sophie asked.
“Because he’s a genius.”
“What are you doing?” Florian asked as she started making a phone call.
“I’m going to call the police!”
“No, you can’t do that!”
“Let her,” Jason said.
As she listened in, her face looked shocked.
“What’s the matter?”
On the television, the head of police department was making a press conference.
“The police department is running out of money after this sudden and violent global financial crisis. As a result, all police work has been suspended. No one will be answering your call to 911.”