I picked up my bag. I walked home.
> Why I'm not jamming
> I won't tell anyone else what to do, because I'm not anyone's leader, no matter what Fox News thinks.
> But I am going to tell you what I plan on doing.
If you think that's the right thing to do, maybe you'll do it too.
> I'm not jamming.
Not this week. Maybe not next.
It's not because I'm scared. It's because I'm smart enough to know that I'm better free than in prison.
They figured out how to stop our tactic, so we need to come up with a new tactic. I don't care what the tactic is, but I want it to work.
It's stupid to get arrested. It's only jamming if you get away with it.
> There's another reason not to jam. If you get caught, they might use you to catch your friends, and their friends, and their friends.
They might bust your friends even if they're not on Xnet, because the DHS is like a maddened bull and they don't exactly worry if they've got the right guy.
> I'm not telling you what to do.
> But the DHS is dumb and we're smart. Jamming proves that they can't fight terrorism because it proves that they can't even stop a bunch of kids.
If you get caught, it makes them look like they're smarter than us.
> THEY AREN'T SMARTER THAN US! We are smarter than them.
Let's be smart. Let's figure out how to jam them, no matter how many goons they put on the streets of our city.
I posted it. I went to bed.
I missed Ange.
Ange and I didn't speak for the next four days, including the weekend, and then it was time to go back to school.
I'd almost called her a million times, written a thousand unsent emails and IMs.
Now I was back in Social Studies class, and Mrs Andersen greeted me with voluble, sarcastic courtesy, asking me sweetly how my "holiday" had been.
I sat down and mumbled nothing. I could hear Charles snicker.
She taught us a class on Manifest Destiny, the idea that the Americans were destined to take over the whole world (or at least that's how she made it seem) and seemed to be trying to provoke me into saying something so she could throw me out.
I felt the eyes of the class on me, and it reminded me of M1k3y and the people who looked up to him. I was sick of being looked up to.
I missed Ange.
I got through the rest of the day without anything making any kind of mark on me.
I don't think I said eight words.
Finally it was over and I hit the doors, heading for the gates and the stupid Mission and my pointless house.
I was barely out the gate when someone crashed into me. He was a young homeless guy, maybe my age, maybe a little older.
He wore a long, greasy overcoat, a pair of baggy jeans, and rotting sneakers that looked like they'd been through a wood-chipper. His long hair hung over his face, and he had a pubic beard that straggled down his throat into the collar of a no-color knit sweater.
I took this all in as we lay next to each other on the sidewalk, people passing us and giving us weird looks. It seemed that he'd crashed into me while hurrying down Valencia, bent over with the burden of a split backpack that lay beside him on the pavement, covered in tight geometric doodles in magic-marker.
He got to his knees and rocked back and forth, like he was drunk or had hit his head.
"Sorry buddy," he said.
"Didn't see you. You hurt?"
I sat up too.
Nothing felt hurt.
"Um. No, it's OK."
He stood up and smiled.
His teeth were shockingly white and straight, like an ad for an orthodontic clinic. He held his hand out to me and his grip was strong and firm.
"I'm really sorry." His voice was also clear and intelligent. I'd expected him to sound like the drunks who talked to themselves as they roamed the Mission late at night, but he sounded like a knowledgeable bookstore clerk.
"It's no problem," I said.
He stuck out his hand again.
"Zeb," he said.
"Marcus," I said.
"A pleasure, Marcus," he said. "Hope to run into you again sometime!"
Laughing, he picked up his backpack, turned on his heel and hurried away.
I walked the rest of the way home in a bemused fug. Mom was at the kitchen table and we had a little chat about nothing at all, the way we used to do, before everything changed.
I took the stairs up to my room and flopped down in my chair. For once, I didn't want to login to the Xnet.
I'd checked in that morning before school to discover that my note had created a gigantic controversy among people who agreed with me and people who were righteously pissed that I was telling them to back off from their beloved sport.
I had three thousand projects I'd been in the middle of when it had all started. I was building a pinhole camera out of legos, I'd been playing with aerial kite photography using an old digital camera with a trigger hacked out of silly putty that was stretched out at launch and slowly snapped back to its original shape, triggering the shutter at regular intervals.
I had a vacuum tube amp I'd been building into an ancient, rusted, dented olive-oil tin that looked like an archaeological find — once it was done, I'd planned to build in a dock for my phone and a set of 5.1 surround-sound speakers out of tuna-fish cans.
I looked over my workbench and finally picked up the pinhole camera. Methodically snapping legos together was just about my speed.
I took off my watch and the chunky silver two-finger ring that showed a monkey and a ninja squaring off to fight and dropped them into the little box I used for all the crap I load into my pockets and around my neck before stepping out for the day: phone, wallet, keys, wifinder, change, batteries, retractable cables... I dumped it all out into the box, and found myself holding something I didn't remember putting in there in the first place.