Chapters Fiction

Chapter 109: Coffee’s for Examiners

In this scene, Vinnie is confronting the examiners of a tough US Patent Office art unit (Mike, Sam and Arpan) while their unsympathetic supervisor looks on.

Vinnie: Let me have your attention for a moment! So you’re talking about what? You’re talking about…(puts out his cigarette)…bitching about that rejection you shot, some son of a bitch makes a good point, somebody doesn’t agree with your interpretation, some broad you’re trying to screw and so forth. Let’s talk about something important. Are they all here?

Supervisor: All but one.

Vinnie: Well, I’m going anyway. Let’s talk about something important! (to Mike) Put … that coffee … down. Coffee’s for examiners only. (Mike scoffs) Do you think I’m fucking with you? I am not fucking with you. I’m here from upstairs. I’m here from Doll and Harvey. And I’m here on a mission of mercy. Your name’s Mike?

Mike: Yeah.

Vinnie: You call yourself an examiner, you son of a bitch?

Sam: I don’t have to listen to this shit.

Vinnie: You certainly don’t pal. ‘Cause the good news is — you’re fired. The bad news is you’ve got, all you got, just one biweek to regain your jobs. Oh, have I got your attention now? Good. ‘Cause we’re adding a little something to this quarters production contest. As you all know, first prize is a pair of tickets to a National’s game. Anyone want to see second prize? Second prize is a trip to Jimmy Johns. Third prize is you’re fired. You get the picture? You laughing now? You got references. Use the references to reject them! You can’t use the references you’re given, you can’t reject shit, you ARE shit, hit the bricks pal and beat it ’cause you are going out!!!

Mike: The references are weak.

Vinnie: ‘The references are weak.’ Fucking references are weak? You’re weak. I’ve been in this business fifteen years.

Sam: What’s your name?

Vinnie: FUCK YOU, that’s my name!! You know why, Mister? ‘Cause you rode the metro to get here today, I drove a eighty thousand dollar SUV. That’s my name!! (to Mike) And your name is “you’re wanting.” You can’t play in a man’s game? You can’t reject them? (at a near whisper) You go home and tell your wife your troubles. (to everyone again) Because only one thing counts in this life! Get them to file a Request for Continued Examination! You hear me, you fucking faggots?

(Vinnie flips over a blackboard which has a set of letters on it: AGF)

Vinnie: A-G-F. A-always, G-go, F-final. Always go final! Always go final!! You got the amendments comin’ in; you think they sent them in ’cause they were bored? Applicant doesn’t submit an amendment unless it’s worth money to him. They’re sitting out there waiting to give you their money! Are you gonna take it? Are you man enough to take it? (to Sam) What’s the problem pal? You. Sam.

Sam: You’re such a hero, you’re so rich. Why you coming down here and waste your time on a bunch of bums?

(Vinnie sits and takes off his gold watch)

Vinnie: You see this watch? You see this watch?

Sam: Yeah.

Vinnie: That watch cost more than your car. I made 273 percent of production last year. How much you make? (Sam looks away) You see, pal, that’s who I am. And you’re nothing. Nice guy? I don’t give a shit. Good person? Fuck you — go home and play with your dog!! (to everyone) You wanna work here? Reject!! (to Arpan) You think this is abuse? You think this is abuse, you cocksucker? You can’t take this — how can you take the abuse you get on an appeal?! You don’t like it — leave. I can go out there tonight with the references you got, get myself fifteen RCE’s! Tonight! In two hours! Can you? Can you? Go and do likewise! A-G-F!! Get mad! You sons of bitches! Get mad!! You know what it takes to get RCE’s?

(He pulls something out of his briefcase)

Vinnie: It takes brass balls to get RCE’s.

(He’s holding two brass balls on string, over the appropriate “area”–he puts them away after a pause)

Vinnie: Go and do likewise, gents. The RCE’s are out there, you pick ’em up, they’re yours. You don’t–I have no sympathy for you. You wanna go out and reject, reject, they’re yours. If not you’re going to be shinning my shoes. And you know what you’ll be saying, bunch of losers sitting around in a bar. (in a mocking weak voice) “Oh yeah, I used to be an examiner, it’s a tough racket.” (he takes out large stack of green folders tied together with string from his briefcase) These are the new cases. These are the Hitachi cases. And to you, they’re gold. And you don’t get them. Because to give them to you is just throwing them away. They’re for examiners.

Vinnie: I’d wish you good luck but you wouldn’t know what to do with it if you got it. (to Sam as he puts on his watch again) And to answer your question, pal: why am I here? I came here because Doll and Harvey asked me to, they asked me for a favor. I said, the real favor, follow my advice and fire your fucking ass because a loser is a loser.

(He stares at Sam for a second, and then picking up his briefcase, walks out the door)

Chapters Fiction

Chapter 73: The secret life of Sam

When I posted the previous chapter, I had hoped to answer more questions than I created. This was unfortunately not the case.

“Wait, you never explained why your AIM name is “bacon the spy“. Where does the spy part come from?”

As with much of life there is a short answer and a long answer. I will attempt to resolve them in that order.

For the past 8 years I have been living a lie. I am a Canadian spy.

My family moved to Nova Scotia in the spring of 1996 so that my father could manage an industrial cleanup project. The Sydney Tar Ponds were a tidal estuary contaminated with a variety of coal-based wastes from coke ovens that supplied the now defunct steel industry. Unfortunately, the project was stalled by an intense amount of bureaucracy including the involvement of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). Though not publicly disclosed at the time, the CSIS investigated the majority of the high ranking Americans involved in the project, including my father. The CSIS publicly involves itself primarily with Canadian internal security, but like most North American nations involves itself in international matters when such involvement would be beneficial to Canadian interests.

I learned of the CSIS in what at the time seemed to be a happenstance way. My 8th grade class participated in a career day of sorts, the highlight being the inclusion of someone billed as a Canadian Secret Agent. He wasn’t really a secret agent, rather a middle aged office worker with an interesting set of coworkers. This disappointed many, but myself and several other boys still cornered him after the presentation to ask questions. He didn’t seem surprised that I was the only American in the school, and pulled me aside afterwards to continue talking. Though at the time I didn’t know I was doing it, I managed to confirm for him that my father was not a US government employee, he never went to Washington DC on the weekends and that I loved tuna and macaroni.

I didn’t think about the agent until several years later, after I had returned to the US and was attending high school in Pittsburgh. The phone rang one morning when my mother had just left for groceries, and I picked up. He introduced himself as Agent McDonahue and asked me if I would meet him at a certain park in exactly 20 minutes. It seemed that the initial impression I gave McDonahue was positive enough that they had initiated an entry level background check which culminated in the extension of an offer. I was an Agent in training.

I set up a cover job first at Giant Eagle and then Wal-Mart. When I said I was cashiering I was lying around a quarter of the time. The rest would be spent at a small unassuming house with a large and sophisticated basement. It was there that I learned how to program, how to persuade, how to defend myself. They encouraged me to take up paint ball to increase my tactical and situational awareness skills without raising any flags.

My strength was my age and my sense of strategy, and they used both to great ends. Shortly after I started attending college in Cleveland they decided I had enough training and would be useful in their first assignment. When they told me what the assignment entailed, I walked away. I was furious and I felt betrayed. They had broken their promises regarding the limits of what I said I would do.

A week later I was using a student employee pass to swipe discreetly out of the Cleveland Clinic. The job had been easier than I thought it would be. He didn’t even struggle. I felt fine. I was proud, but at the same time I was ashamed. Either way, I didn’t stop.

It’s hard to explain the next several years, partly because it’s hard to remember. I was a full time student and a part time spy. The best lie is always the one that is closest to the truth. “Let’s go to Niagara Falls!” “You know, Delaware is one of the few remaining states I haven’t been to, let’s go.” It was remarkably easy to blend in. Maybe everyone didn’t want to know, and passed off my random desires for travel or my familial “commitments” as standard operating procedure for me. I did everything I said I did.

You can still be dishonest and tell the truth.

I’m a story teller at heart. Most of my life revolves around the creation and telling of stories. With this in mind, it has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done not to speak of what this job has let me do. Do you know what it’s like to smoke a cigarette in a burning car? Do you know how it feels to rock climb in a tank top and high heels? Or the pain associated with beating a man unconscious with a live cat? You don’t, and I wish I didn’t. Meeting the British boys was always an adventure; they knew how to have a good time on the Queen’s dollar. Sometimes my inexperience got the better of me; I was young and drunk and … she was South African.

Canada doesn’t involve itself in world affairs except when world affairs involve themselves with Canada. American importers of prescription drugs were a target several times, but human traffickers were my most common assignment. Even with my limited experience, all my prior work left me ill prepared for my current assignment: intellectual dismemberment.

It’s common knowledge that China has spies at the US Patent Office. Slightly less commonly known is the fact that everyone has spies at the US Patent Office. When Research In Motion (RIM) was sued for patent infringement, the darling of the Canadian tech industry was hung out to dry by the American patent system. Several phone calls were made to keep that from ever happening again.

My job is to look out for Canadian interests. Whether it be the drug trade or intellectual property, I fight the good fight for my friends up north. The next time someone wants to talk about how the Maple Leafs suck or the latest Alanis album was a piece of proverbial ‘shit’, just remember one thing:

Nobody suspects the Canuck.