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OPINION OCTOBER 30 , 2000
Talkin' Smack: Real Time

[Page 4 of 4]

The phone rang again.

"Hello?" I answered.

"Don't hang up. This isn't a wrong number, you idiot." It was Gates.

"I know that now," I said. "I suppose I've always known it was you."

"No you didn't, you moron. You thought it was a wrong number."

"Did I? Or were we just fooling ourselves."

"Shut up and listen. I switched bodies with you so I could take your place and sabotage Creative Mac and make your readers hate you. But then I realized—"

"Then you realized they already do," I cut in. "And now you want your own body back."

"Yes. This body of yours is too perfect to bear. And your mutton chops are too sexy. I must have my own body back so that I can continue my evil reign over the computing industry. We must establish an Internet connection to make the transfer complete."

"Never, Gates!"

"Then you'll be stuck in my body forever."

"Will I really? My eyes have been opened, and now I see what must be done. I will take back my body and send yours back to the evil realm from whence it came."

"You wouldn't," he said. "It's not human."

"It's all too human, Gates, and that's the greatest tragedy of all."

"Nooooo—"

I hung up and dashed for my Mac.

When I reached it, I proclaimed: "By the supercomputing power of the Macintosh G4, I cast thee out, Bill Gates, and I summon my own body back to me in the name of Mac OS 9.0.4 or OS X Beta, whichever is more relevant in this particular case."

With that, I pushed the power button on my G4. The startup sound played, echoing throughout the world. It felt clean. It sounded like victory. My body shuddered, and, judging from the feeling of perfection that permeated my flesh, I knew I had returned to my own body and banished Bill Gates from this dimension for another thousand years.

And so ends my tale of horror, depravity and redemption. I hope that my own suffering has taught you something of value so that it will not have been in vain.

"Uh, Dave," you say, "Are you telling me that Bill Gates is gone forever?"

Yes, dear reader. I cast him out myself.

"Not quite."

What do you mean, dear reader?

"Think about it."

Okay.... Hmm.... I don't get it.

"I'm Gates, you idiot!"

Nooooooooooo!

"Yes. And now you must do something for me."

What?

"Earlier in your little story, you said a liquid was dripping from your ceiling. You must explain what it was. I don't like loose ends."

Leaky pipe or something, I guess.

"What? Oh, you are such an idiot."

I know. Isn't it delicious?

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Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac and Digital DTP; host of the Creative Mac, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion and Synthetik Studio Artist WWUGs; and executive producer of Creative Mac, DCC Designer, DCC Workstation, Digital DTP, Digital Pro Sound, Digital Webcast, Plug-in Central, Presentation Master, ProAudio.net and Video Systems sites. All are part of the Digital Media Net family of online industry hubs.

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