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  • Annmarie Throckmorton, M.A.

Sneak Thief

Author/Artist’s note: When someone, somehow stole the bitcoins that I had had accruing in my digital wallet for a few years (a couple hundred US$), I could not get even. This story is a little bite back on that e-ASSailant.

All necessary translations have been made

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“Well, blankety-blank, someone stole the bitecoins from my old account digital wallet, and all Coinbite.fin offers me is the suggestion that I delete the wallet? And, then Coinbite.fin asks me how satisfied I am? There is no accounting for the nerve of some financial institutions.”

On-Line Survey:

How satisfied were you with the customer service resolution we provided today?




My Feedback (not sent): “May the hounds of hell pursue you for pretending this is customer service.”

Chat with Coinbite.fin exchange:

Agent Gorge, (rhymes with morgue) [09:03 GTC] : "Hi Solar Citizen, Thanks for your feedback. Would you like that I delete for you the Coinbite.fin account related to, and purge wallet? You have a zero balance BC$ off that wallet. Please take into account that due to our policy terms we can only provide one Coinbite.fin account per user."

Sincerely, Agent Gorge. [09:16 GTC] : "Someone hacked into Coinbite.fin and stole all of my BC$, so if you won’t fix that, go ahead and delete my old account, and open a new one for me. I don’t see that I have a choice, monetary hegemony prevails."

Not a happy wallet,

How annoying, especially as my new account wallet is a void and I’ll have to shop until I drop if I want to make my life support payments this month.

As a Professional Purchaser I’ve done fairly well in life. I’ve pulled my share of the economy each month, for the solar system at least, the galaxy will have to take care of itself. And I’ve managed to set aside some clearspace for my later years. Not that it’s been easy. Most people could not or would not do this kind of work. Very few respect it. I have to admit that I have few friends, okay, actually I have no friends. I’ve tried buying friends but most people are too smart for it, and run from me like bunnies before a hound. Filthy lucre does not slow them down.

Purchasing gets wearisome, dragging in purchase after purchase, regardless of my own needs, all for the sake of stimulating a solar system economy so it can hold its own in the big, bad galactic economy. Double-checking my wallet, I see a grayed-out blank. I am completely devoid of moola, with just hours left in this purchasing period. What to do, what to do? Sooo, just to get started, I scan the charitable listings. Last season I purchased plain water and basic food for starving Dutterdrickles on planet Dutter. Do they really still need more? The last visual I saw from planet Dutter showed teeming hordes of Dutterdrickles at points all over the planet sprawling out happily at upscale buffets and quaffing sippy cups of beverages they seemed to enjoy. Well, the Dutterdrickles are still listed as accepting donations so whether this is a reprehensible primitive transaction for greed or not, click, out goes my donation, and in comes my credit of a few bitecoins from the grateful Dutterdrickles. It’s a start.

I can’t face buying anything more for myself just yet, I’m stuffed with stuff. However, a pay-attention-to-me nudge from my miniature rhino Ruffles reminds me that Ruffles doesn’t know any better, so I’ll shop on-line at Toys-For-Pets. Let’s see: ‎Chew Toys · ‎Squeak Toys · ‎Flying Discs. No, none of that is quite right. Actually, all Ruffles really likes is me and eating twigs and grass. I could just buy any new thing to build my credits, but I’m a professional, I’m going for a goosed economy and a grateful pet. Scrolling down Toys-For-Pets I see balls, buckets, scratchers, etcetera. Ruffles would probably like a poke-mat to hone its horn but I don’t see any listed. My pint-size pudger is already provisioned with feed, litter center, bedding, calming halter, short leash, and black patent leather footgear with bubble cushions. That last is really important as Ruffles has surprisingly dainty ankles and tender tootsies, three on each foot. Ruffles also has winter booties and blanket, both with heat built-in. Maybe I should buy a spare set? Nah. I’ve got it! Oversized fun glasses, that’s what I’ll get Ruffles. Twinkly chrome sunglasses on a chrome-finish lanyard for when I take Ruffles for a walk. This will be highly admired at the miniature pet park. Click. And, maybe a pack of lip gloss for Ruffles’ prehensile lip. Yes, a 12-pack of bark-flavored lip gloss in primary colors will be perfect! Click. And, I also buy mentholated, cooling mud packs for me, and plain mud for Ruffles. Such a lovely sensation to wallow in it. Click.

Just in passing, I’m thinking of sending a miss-you gift basket to my former, best, and only friend, Bersy. We parted ways, well, actually Bersy veered off track from me like a train down a cliff after finding out just how deeply into purchasing I really am. I had told Bersy I was an info-techno specialist, for which Bersy had expressed sincere if simplistic assurances that the job does not make the person, and encouraged me not to let the high salary get me down, I would probably find something better soon. It was when Bersy chanced upon my Professional Purchaser credentials, which I had carelessly left out, that our friendship ended. I have found no one to replace Bersy. No one admires purchasing, it doesn’t really help others on a one-to-one basis, there is no room for promotion to, say, Über-purchaser, and I utilize bitecoins exclusively which is totally off-putting. It is the perfect job to hate, and I hate it, just like everyone else. I do miss Bersy though. Googling gifts I consider gift baskets with sentimental motifs such as Forever Remembered, Deluxe Emotional Entanglement, I Still Care, and Healing With Hope. Without much hope, I purchase and pay to have Bersy served with a Fine Goods Gift Basket containing: fine chocolates, fine cheeses, fine wines, fine fruits, and fine beverage sachets, all assembled into a fine gift tower of decadence and topped with the finest flower in the galaxy, I forget its name. Bersy did not respond to these excesses, but a few more bitecoins symbolically plunked into my wallet.

I had an on-line acquaintance once, more of a cyberbully competitor actually. We never met face-to-face but this cretin and I used to find ourselves at counter-bids on some of my favorite buying sites. I’d bid high and three seconds later this bedeviler would bid just a bit higher. It happened every time. I tried to stay on top but it wasn’t easy because I was typically distracted with cross-bidding across multiple auctions trying to take advantage of their price differentials. Anyway, it got so that we’d tag insults onto our bids. I don’t really like being called a materialist, a money-grubber, or a glutton in public forums. What does food have to do with it? What a creep. This repeated and habitual dogging of my bids wore me down and chased me off those sites. It crushed my professional esteem and slowed my productivity for quite a while. I won’t be sending that cyberbully a gift basket.

As I get down to the serious work of filling my wallet, I look to purchase some jewelry as a warm up. I flip through the screens of the latest catalog from the Galactic Museum of Art. I’m not sure where the museum is located, or even if there is a real museum anymore, but its on-line gift shop has a huge market in almost every solar system, and it is a surprisingly strong trend setter. When I buy GMOA I know I’m totally in sync. My eye catches on hand-crafted jewelry with a rosemary motif. I love rosemary or at least I love the idea of it. I’ve seen it in visuals but I think it’s extinct now. There is something about the needle-like leaves pointing in determined rows off of rough woody stems that prickles my fancy. Ha, ha. This particular necklace is of pale seed pearls suspended from a snapped branch of silvery-green bronze rosemary. It is very attractive. But maybe this would not be my cleverest buy, considering it would be the 12th purchase of jewelry in a rosemary motif that I’ve bought this year. And if I buy it, I’ll wear it, maybe wear all 12 purchases at once, like strands of decorations around an old-fashioned Christmas tree. Clicking through screen after screen I search for something different and expensive. I find “unique” alien jewelry which is grotesque, black and bloody with jagged edges, obviously designed by the uninformed. I see Old Earth Etruscan jewelry with delicate filigree which is not my style; ditto for Egyptian cloisonné. I have no interest in “treasures with a past”. I’ve seen them all before, many, many times. I do linger over the gold and silver coin jewelry which is not surprising considering my professional involvement with money, but I know that the authentic historical coins which are the pricier items, are long gone and the facsimiles don’t cost enough to bother clicking on. So far no one has figured out how to hammer a virtual bitecoin into a ring. If they do, I’ll be first in line to buy. Maybe a bitecoin symbol hologram projecting from a pricey implant on the ring finger? I was disappointed with my drop earrings made of fancy ½ dram vials of Jovian gases, hydrogen and/or helium, I don’t remember which. I was hoping they would contain some giant red spot residue, but no such luck in the vials I received. Going back to the screen with that rosemary jewelry, I click to open details. This purchase would be a surprisingly expensive ensemble. It includes the aforementioned necklace with matching earrings, and a few needles of rosemary pinched together and worked into a startling tufted nose stud. Click.

I’d really like to go on a gambling channel, to work off some steam by just letting the cash flow. I could bet on one of those quirky startups like YellowCake1344-57-6 or CO2Hilarious. I would enjoy that. Or maybe I should just go with an old classic like blackjack, or video poker, or maybe pokies. The combination of risky decision-making and high stakes is very, very appealing. But games of chance don’t add to the economy, gambling just moves the money around—usually down a whirlpool directly into the casino. I don’t want to lose any of the credits I have in my wallet. I don’t know if there is a “sin” penalty attached to gambling, like there used to be a “sin” taxes on cigarettes, alcohol, and soda, but I do know that gambling will not bring me any credits because Galactic laws won’t allow it. If you gamble you do so on your own, and in a way that’s fair since it has always been that way.

I’m tempted to buy fantasy goods on a game I’ve seen advertised, Neo-noir Dragons. I could relax into it while I stock up on basic lightening bolts, studded war clubs, a rubbed-leather breastplate, invisibility jerkin, Trojan horse, and other such accoutrements. But then I’d have to play them and with my extensive purchasing obligations, I just don’t think I have the time. I’ve gone down that rabbit hole before, and rued the days, weeks, and even months I lost. I kept getting boggled by the soft-porn and crazy plot twists that cost me credits instead of earning them. Fantasy games beyond the basics are hard credits to earn, and actually I’m just not the medieval sort. I’ve also tried Game-of-Deader, but the sad truth is that I’m not very good at it. It took me forever to unlock the right to even buy a cyber-knife. Humiliating, actually. Besides the initial credits for buying it, I didn't get anything for the hours I played. I just got a little credit for buying a few trinkety weapons, and a lot more addicted. Furthermore, some of the fantasy game features don’t work. Sorry to break your heart about that, but it is what is it, or isn’t. I know I’m an @$$, but I am what I am.

Speaking of which, I probably won’t be buying any more skill augments, and certainly no more physical revisions. My blue sauce-sized eyes please me well. I see it, I like it, I buy it. I don’t care what other entities think. My progenitors made a nice prenatal choice for me with this chrome-finish on a blocky body type. After my first couple of minor but very expensive body tucks, with some random augments tossed in for giggles, my wallet was fattened with credits but the changes just didn’t sit right with me, in fact, it seemed like just another type of self-cutting. I don’t want that kind of emotional pain, and I won’t be spending that way today. My desires are otherwise.

Drugs? No. No? Really, how about some drugs? Just a little of the pricier stuff, get something nice and spend big? NO! My dealer is a criminal who scares me, the drugs are sometimes lethal, they don’t deliver me anything “nice”, and they are always illegal no matter where you are in the galaxy. Already been there, done that. Sometimes I wonder if that wicked little voice inside of me will ever learn.

I haven’t brought in nearly enough credits yet. If I want enough credits to pay for my life support this month, and I do, no early death for me, I need to spend up on a big ticket item. Perusing the internet, some possibilities pop up. No, not memorabilia—too much work organizing and displaying it. Ditto for collectables. Ha, another name for collectables is dustables. I already have an extensive, expensive collection of Martian meteorite fragments. They are okay, but after you've seen one lumpy, gray rock, you’ve seen them all. Geologicals are just for kids, although in a pinch in the past, I have bought outsized rock, mineral, and fossil specimens. But I found that they are very heavy to move when I needed to sweep under them, and they attracted insects which seek that sort of natural ambiance.

Artwork is a good spend monetarily but nothing jumps out at me just now. I don’t like the new trend of “Joy Incandescent”, it's too much like joy incinerated. Besides, the protocol is to have art hung up on display, which means looking at it, no matter how hideous it is. Some of it smells, I don’t want it in house. Frankly, physical paintings are passé—the best art is probably virtual, which unfortunately is free. So, no, art is not my buy today.

Property? Well, yeah, it’s always profitable to buy property and the initial incoming credits can be astronomical, but my permits are not in order because I didn’t renew them after some bungled property purchases cost me more than I made. I had property that came with needy tenants and extensive grounds, an estate really, both of which required complex management. I was unwilling to fuss with it, and actually abandoned the purchase with significant loss of credit. If I had the skills I’d buy a company, but I don’t know how. Companies tend to generate profit which would work against my credits, or is it the other way around? I’m not sure. Vehicles? Oh, no, no, no. These renewable energy powered vehicles are so economical, they are hardly worth a click. I’m quite comfortable using the citizen glides and chutes along with the rest of the public. Ah, here we go, vacations. I’ll fulfill my need to buy more and desire to run away from it all at the same time. Click. Although I can’t leave just yet. Need more purchases to reach my credit mark for the month.

To top up my wallet, I begin to buy gifts for me from me. I don’t waste time personalizing anything. I don’t waffle choosing between one style or another. I click with confidence; selecting designer clothing, appliances, electronics, furniture, and supplies for my lifestyle as a professional purchaser: cabinets, hutches, racks, stands, plastic cases, velvet pouches... This job is not for the faint of heart, the weak of will, or the unprepared. Buying with confidence and fortitude is a finely honed skill. Click, click, click. To do so on a long-term basis, year in and year out, is an almost athletic endeavor. Clickity, click, click, click. I feel a flush of pride in what I do and how well I do it.

My rush of exhilaration gives way to the nausea of too much. I begin to sink into longing for the clearspace that my hard life of purchasing will earn me in later years. But today I must not fold before the material onslaught with which I am entangled. I push through and continue to buy even as an avalanche of my purchases today begins to descend into my house via the purchase discharge chute on the wall. It is a mind-scrambling mass of stuff pouring in, an ice floe of clutter crunching up against the packed glacier of objects that I already have. Fortunately the dispenser does not jam as it sometimes does, so I do not have to contend with prying loose my packages and crates. Still, I know it will take me hours, maybe even days to unpack my buys, sort them out, and store them among the hoarded masses of product that already fills my home. I have a hoard to make any professional purchaser proud, a real pile of loot.

Done, my wallet is as fat as it gets. All of the credits that I needed are accrued, my purchaser’s obligations are met, I can pay my life-support for this month. All hail electronic commerce. But wait, what? Oh no! I’m outbid on everything I bought today? I didn’t realize I had my settings at <bid>. That in itself should have prevented delivery before the bidding closed. Is this a new and terrible prank from my cyberbully? Not only have I lost the credits from all of my purchases, but I’ll have to reroute and return every package and crate, then wrangle over how much and which way the bitecoins will flow to settle accounts. I am down to the last second, it passes, and now I watch the bids blink closed. Except, that I’ve paid in advance for an occasion just like this. Not so long ago I convinced a real info-techno specialist to sell me a backdoor into closed bids, highly illegal but what do I care? I open the backdoor with a couple of decisive clicks, double down on my bids, and override my competitor. Done, I win, the bitecoins credits pile back into my wallet. Exceptional, I am truly exceptional.

This is a victory of acquisitions. I got away with buying an insane amount of product, the credits I needed are secured to me in my bitecoins wallet, and I ring a metaphoric closing bell for life support paid in full. Just call me Sneak Thief.

Now for my great escape into a grand vacation. Reprobate that I am, this all feels good. Where will I go that is most expensive? Clearspace. Without a doubt, I go to Clearspace. And what is Clearspace you with lesser resources may ask?

Clearspace is an exquisite place, emotionally independent from all other places we might inhabit. How so you say? Well, although Clearspace is biologically robust, with healthy people, animals, plants, whatnot, that’s not it. And although some might think that its environmental uniqueness is the source of the Clearspace allure; the lack of mountains overpacked with menacing snow, no scorching, screeching desert haboobs, no turbulent ocean storm surges, none of that is the defining quality of Clearspace. The defining quality of Clearspace is that there are no piles of purchases, no obligation to purchase, and even no opportunity to purchase should one slip momentarily into old compulsions. There is no stuff, there is no object-for-the-sake-of-object, no obscurants to one’s naturally expanding sense of self. There is room to breathe, to gaze, to think, to sing, and even bellow from the belly if one wishes. Once within Clearspace one immediately perceives that this is the place, this is the “home” for which everyone instinctively longs. It is a sort of heaven in life. Once you have made your way to Clearspace, you will share the local belief in its truly fine, clear quality of life. Just a glimpse of the physical infrastructure puts one at peace: clear, open spaces within buildings and without, no clutter, especially no product, just those clear, open spaces. One experiences protective habitat serenity within the infinite.

Clearspace is a glimpse of our brighter future, an alternative world beginning to take shape throughout the Galaxy. Only a sneak thief like myself could get in so soon, with so few credits. The sad truth is that I was born rich, got richer, and then had to work very hard, for a very long time, to spend down enough to qualify for work as a Professional Purchaser. I’m trying to achieve the richness of much less is much more. For now I’ll settle for my little vaca in Clearspace.

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This work is copyright protected. It is a work of fiction. Incidents, places, and names (especially those of alien entities) are products of the author/artist’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to actual events or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Caption: Sneak Thief

by Annmarie Throckmorton 2016

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