The Mischievous Nerd's Guide to World Domination
Author: Stephen Oberauer

Chapter 10
Cold shudders


11 January, 1999, 7:02am. After my morning shower I smelt smoke. It couldn’t be a normal wood or coal fire. It didn’t smell right. What were the neighbours up to? Having a morning braai perhaps? (‘Braai’ is the South African word for barbecue). I walked out onto the balcony to take a look. A little stream of smoke was rising from the chimney of the house across the water from us, an unusual thing to see on a summer morning. The next thing I saw was a helicopter flying in, which then circled above our houses. I fetched the video camera and filmed for a bit, but couldn’t figure out what had happened. Why would they need a helicopter for such a small fire?

I went to work that day and forgot about the strange happenings that morning. I was completely involved in my personal project, an internet spider. A spider is a program that crawls around the internet and gathers information. My latest program could do quite a lot. It had collected about 100,000 e-mail addresses, and indexed about 200,000 web pages. I also used it to put random messages in guest books and a website called ‘Public Diary’, which contains hundreds of thousands of diaries and one can write messages to people about their diaries. I was so tired of receiving useless spam that I decided to send people little, anonymous, positive messages.

After a fun day at work I arrived home, but the atmosphere at home was not fun at all. I opened the front door and walked into the kitchen. My mom had her glasses off and her eyes were red. My dad was sitting at the window, staring outside. Something bad had happened, something very bad.

‘What’s wrong?’ I asked my mom.

She closed her eyes and put her head in her hands.

‘The neighbours were murdered,’ she replied softly.

I felt a cold rush of anger, fear, sadness and confusion.

‘Across the lake? The house with the smoke?’ I asked.

She nodded.

‘The children?’ I asked, ‘The three children?’


‘All of them?’

‘All of them, and their parents.’

The three children who used to play outside without a care in the world were no longer there. Everything was quiet. I lived in one of the most violent countries in the world, but this was the first time that it wasn’t just on television, or on the radio. We would, for many years to come be reminded of this day by the silence we could hear, and the empty swing that we could see.

On the news that night they revealed that the family had been shot and the bodies set alight, explaining the smoke and the unusual smell. They revealed that the mother had actually survived, but had a bullet wound in her head, and was in a coma. If she wakes up, she’ll wish she hadn’t.

That night I decided that I would do whatever it took to fix the world. I don’t know about you, but whenever I come across a problem, it has to be solved. I was in the perfect position to do something since I had loads of free time, because I was single and I had no work to do. It did also help that I was, well ... a genius. It seemed like it was my fate, like God had decided that I should be spending my time on more important things than writing software to sell insurance, or making out with girls.

I climbed up into my room and switched on my computer. I created a new text file and started typing:

My Ideas For Getting Rid Of Crime

Why does crime exist?

Crime exists because poor idiots want more money.

What can we do about it?

Amputate their limbs.

Chop off their balls.

Kill them all!!!!

I was too angry to write anything realistic, so I saved the file, and decided that I would work on it another day when I was in a more rational mood. I was quite confident that I could figure out a system that would actually work, something that didn’t involve mutilation.


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