Posted by: normanlgreen | December 29, 2011

Dream, December 29, 2011 Cisco, the prankster

Dream, home 3:18 am

Having worked through the night in a law office crowded with file cabinets and document tables, I find at sun-up that a paralegal and three attorneys have come into the building. They too have been up all night, sorting through materials to identify what is germane to their case. They have hopes that I will interrupt my other work in order to copy the documents they need for an early meeting. I walk around cabinets and through a doorway into an office with morning sun pouring in through its picture windows that open to the sidewalk outside. In this office, I find a cart on which are stacked several bales of papers of various dimensions. Starting at the top of the pile, I quickly knock out a few stacks of documents that have been bundled with rubber bands and binder clips. Post-it notes stick out from all four sides and many of the pages have been abused. Having completed 6 inches of such evidence, I take the results back to the waiting lawyers and to the paralegal who coordinates this part of the process. I do not know her from the waking world, though she reminds me of several people without being any one of them – a composite.

When I show her what has been completed, she tells me that those are the portions which might have waited until the next day, that the copies that they will need are those on the bottom of the stack– in this case, they need scans of a roll of oversize drawings – ratty and tattered, with portions cut out of the centers of some of them. These will be hard to handle – very delicate and liable to tearing in the scanning process. Again, these have been tagged with post-it notes . There is a group on 8.5 x 11 documents that are part of the same exhibit.

I call on the help of an absurd genius. The young man I need stands up from behind one of the chest high file cabinets. He strikes a samurai pose, miming a sword which he extends at his eye level with the imagined blade held steady on the horizontal. He speaks in non sequitur, and slips around the office, moving from task to task, passing between the rest of us with no conventional interaction with any of us. We all understand that he operated with a higher level of thinking that we are capable of grasping, yet it inspires confidence. At times I enter his head and see from his angle. At other times I am in my first body and watching. From his view I see that he has squatted down before a wooden fining cabinet dating from the 1930s. The cabinet has been secured by a retro-fitted combination lock – electronic — which is mounted to the face of the top drawer. He has identified this as the cabinet containing the most critical information. Now he looks within the lock to crack its sequence. As he/I stare at the lock, one young lady, out of sight behind him/me calls out his name “Cisco” she is joined by another woman in calling for his help with a computer issue. When they both say “Cisco” they find they have said it in harmony. One of them starts singing a pleading song for help, which the other woman joins. Their voices are thin – untrained and tentative, yet the tone is so childlike and plaintive, that the appeal is very strong. He will turn his attention to help them.

Now I am inside of his head, creeping around a college campus as he brags and narrates a confession of his secret life as a high level prankster. He and a group of other gifted students pull off elaborate hoaxes and hacks – mostly targeting their university. As he describes it, the prank itself is only a first step – the real goal is to publicize the story, but in such a way that the participants are nearly revealed, but without their getting fully identified by the authorities.

“You change the location of the story, or tell it so that, though we may have succeeded in real life, in the published version, we are foiled in the end. Twist the story enough so that it is just short of evidence.” As he tells this, he scampers under the low branches of a pine tree that grows in a strip of lawn between sidewalk and street. At the street corner, he pauses before crossing on the diagonal between the corners.

”Then,” he says, “you tag the other people involved in the original prank.”

He bounces across the street in two leaps, passing over the head of another student in his circle. He calls out “Tag, you’re it.” This student passes another young man saying “Tag, you’re it.” and so on until several voices – some of them sped-up and high-pitched – repeat the phrase.

This “Tag” indicates that the story has been hidden in some publication – print or electronic – and that the person tagged must figure out where it has been published. This is as deep a part of the grand game as the execution of the prank itself.

He approaches the recessed entrance to a brick faced campus building. Again, he passes under the branches of a mature pine tree, though this time the branches are high enough that he can walk upright beneath them. We hear the two voices of the young woman singing the plaintive “Cisco” song. He will find them in the building and help them. Though he is difficult, he is well liked and helpful.


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