Bohuslav and Jitka

../ r

2022-11-02

Bohuslav and Jitka sit in a cafe at the foot of the hill on which the Vysehrad castle stands, overlooking the river. It is a warm autumn afternoon, but most of the tables outside the estabilishement are empty. It is yet too early for the bulk of the regular patrons to saddle the wooden chairs and rest their books, laptops and notebooks from recycled paper, while sipping from porcelain cups from the 20's, but the man and the woman have been here for quite some time, ready to order a round three of their favorite beverages.

Jitka "No, it doesn't seem like it was his fault. Do you even know what you are suggesting?"

Bohuslav "That he got drunk and drove the car into a tree? Look - wait - I know you are the numero-uno fan of his, but that shouldn't mean you'll defend every stupid choice he made."

Jitka "The truth is that he was most obstructive to the predefined ways of authorship. Nobody dared to publish his works, fearing it would rattle the foundations of their businesses. he was the -"

Bohuslav "Digitalist, yes, you keep saying that. Nothing in print, all freely distributed via... what was it called?"

Jitka "Gopher."

Bohuslav "Yes, that. I just don't find it very plausible that his death was some kind of a global conspiracy of book publishers."

Jitka "You read the stuff I showed you. Obviously you could see for yourself how his material was not exactly safe for the general market. It was not the publishers. It was governments! Global corporations! They all feared him!"

Bohuslav "The, uh, 'On Free Brain Augmentation and the Price We Shouldn't Pay.' Yes, well, it was fairly pornographic, but the gist, as I've told you before, was no unusual opinion in his time. It surely doesn't justify the need to live off of donations from a dozen readers inside a van. Hardly a danger to society."

Jitka "His way of life was the result of his genius mind. He made it clear to his readers that he has peeked beneath the curtain of our world and wanted the people to grow the courage to reclaim what was once in their control."

Bohuslav "Again, I don't disagree, but I have to regurgitate - anyone who managed to install a Unix system back then shared his beliefs. The web has always been filled with blogs on just the exact topics, albeit with much less analogy to copulation, I'll give him that."

Jitka "But saying that just goes to show you miss the point. Not only was he a man of immaculate literary talent, he was convinced that the world ran on sex! A hard hitting truth."

Bohuslav "Yes, I got that. I also think that was a step too far for quite a large number of his potential audience. I'm not saying he was a bad author, I did enjoy what you sent me, but not everyone wants to hear about genitalia in philosophical texts on software freedom."

Jitka "But you say you enjoyed it."

Bohuslav "Yes, but I also work for the biggest porno-portal in the republic. Degeneracy and code go hand in hand in my profession, but I doubt I am the intended reader of his works."

Another man walks to the cafe and sits down at a table next to Bohuslav and Jitka. He puts down a heavy sports bag next to his chair and pulls out a very old looking laptop. As he waits for it to boot, he pulls out a pouch of tobacco and rolling papers from his chest pocket and begins rolling a cigarette. Around the same time a waitress comes around, bringing more coffee to the two and asks the man for his order.

Milan "Chamomile tea, thanks."

Jitka "Is that an X40?"

Milan "X41.

Jitka "Excuse my intrusion, but - while I was hoping to stir the conversation with my colleague here elsewhere, there's a point I feel like I could prove just now..."

Milan "Go on."

Jitka "Don't take this the wrong way. I myself am an ally - seeing you with that aging machine makes me want to state, for the sake of my argument: Surely you've read *BEEP*.

Milan "Did you hear that?"

Bohuslav "What?"

Jitka "I did... Anyway - have you?"

Milan "Of course. I probably read everything he ever wrote. Despite its age, I think it is still the required reading material in all free hacker circles. Of course not many members of the general public have even heard of him, but... you know..."

Bohuslav "Seriously?"

Jitka "Now you believe me?"

Bohuslav "Believe what? That conspiracies spread like wild fire? It was not that long ago when every other person thought the shadowy cabal of reptile aliens was placing nanobots inside our bloodstream."

Milan "It's actually the tetanus shot. What you're referring to was just a social engineering effort to get more people hooked on non-free software. But of course it was all predicted in 'The Needle and Microsoft'.

Jitka "Released to the gopher-verse in 2002!"

Bohuslav "You are serious..."

Jitka "Despite your convictions, the undergrowth of our world is bustling with revolutionary minds that refuse the reality that is presented to them by the tie-wearing wanna-be-your-friend corporate pricks."

Milan "Hell, back in college I ran a group of consciouss folks - quite, dare I say, famously, I was the one who translated 'Foucalt, Brouk and the Act of Penetration.' One of the few texts that found appreciation in broader audiences. It is still the guide on OpenSSH."

Jitka "No kidding?! I've shared that translation wherever I could. No way you are the zab0r32..."

Milan "For the sake of mystery, let's say I am not." *he winks* "I was young and coming up with handles was just as annoying as it is today. Albeit much less limitting."

Jitka "Remember when twitter usernames weren't '@firstName.lastName?'"

Bohuslav "I better get going, I gotta pick up the kid. And I'm sure you two might have some more stuff to talk about, which I would clearly disapprove of. Jitka, zab-zero-r-32, good afternoon."

Bohuslav gets up, places a bank note underneath the coffee cup and begins to walk away.

Bohuslav "At least they still let us use physical currency, eh? Whatever happened to that conspiracy..."

Jitka and Milan simultaneously "'The Illusion of Currency.'"

Both laugh awkwardly. Bohuslav rolls his eyes and walks off.

Jitka "Don't mind him. Corporate brain. He'll come around eventually."

Milan "So, um... are you single?"

Jitka "Well, I best get going too... It's been a pleasure."

fin~

[REDACTED] "It is not too uncommon for the learned user of SSH to treat the protocol akin to the ways of astral projection. This in its very foundation is a flawed perception. Just like any long distance interfacing method in computing and human desire alike, the SSH protocol stems from the brain's want to force the vessel it inhabits to penetrate objects [or beings?] beyond its reach."

Excerpt from Foucalt, Brouk and the Act of Penetration

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