The Actual Spelling is FU

Here’s a frat house near Kansas University:

I failed, with my wee phone camera on a day where sweat was my main wardrobe accent, to capture just how much this place screams MONEY. This is the place rich assholes send their asshole kids to learn to be better assholes.

In this frat, the residents will have a chef to cook their meals, maids to clean up after them, and will learn nothing of independent life.

But we know that Harvard does not produce the best lawyers, it produces lawyers that know other Harvard lawyers. This is the system. The building you live in during your college years matters more than the education you get.


Fresh Air

I’m taking a long train trip right now, and there are stops designated as “fresh air stops”. In this context, “fresh air” means there will be time for people to get off the train to smoke.



The Official Sweetie and I have been thoroughly enjoying a thriller on Netflix. It features high-end assassins doing high-end assassin stuff for high-end assassin payoffs. These killers live well, if not necessarily happily.

One of the sponsors for this show is an online housekeeping service that offers to clean your house for less. “I fired my housekeeper!” one customer gleefully says.

Uh, good for you, I guess. Some giant company is putting a lot of advertising muscle into driving down what housekeepers earn, and then taking a slice of what is left and keeping it for themselves. The business model is based on the premise “there will always be enough desperate people to work for shitty wages and make us rich.”

This is also known in Silicon Valley as “disrupting a market.”

So while watching these two things juxtaposed, I started to think: what would happen if Silicon Valley decided to disrupt the murder market?

There is a story I will likely never write taking shape in my head, and I’m on a train right now, and almost by magic my literary muscles are suddenly flexing after months of quiet. The story’s basic shape is that a suave international assassin suddenly finds himself competing for work against bargain-basement thugs who are considered disposable by their clients.

Then instead of limos his clients start sending Ubers with drunk and shitty drivers, and instead of fancy hotels they put him in AirBnB’s with all sort of privacy intrusions.

At the end of act one, Javier decides he needs to kill iSassin.

Here is how such a story might begin (if the dialog is a little too conveniently twisted to include the phrase ‘disrupt the murder market’, well, that would be something I fixed if I actually wrote this, but I’m not going to):


For Javier, there were five kinds of kills, each to accomplish a specific purpose. If the client simply wanted someone to not be around only longer, a “natural” death was called for. Or perhaps a tragic death, a terrible accident, would earn the client sympathy they might find useful. Of course, simple murder — a gunshot, swift and clean, or a cut throat — might fit the budget of the client. Occasionally Javier was asked to make things messy, to make an example of the victim.

Javier’s favorite type of kill, however, was the shocking, humiliating destruction of a person, a death that would be talked about with hushed whispers and the occasional laugh. Javier wasn’t just killing a person, he was killing what they stood for.

Today he was in a particularly good mood. The Senator would be found, apparently dead of a heart attack, wearing nothing but lipstick, a codpiece with spikes on the inside, and a massive rubber dildo standing tall and proud from his rectum. The senator’s associates in government and in the clergy would try to suppress the news, but of course they would fail.

He sipped his Islay single-malt and smiled as he looked out over the cityscape from his apartment high above the grime of the street. His lights were off, and he sat in darkness, watching the city lights, listening to Brahms and thinking he should turn it up a little louder. He took another sip of whisky instead.

His phone purred softly on the hardwood table by his soft leather chair, as another phone pinged to indicate a deposit had been made to an account in a bank far away.

Before he answered he engaged the voice encryption app and entered the key they had shared for the after-job call. “Hello, Meyer,” he said.

“Congratulations, Mr. Rodriguez.” Meyer said. Of course that was no more his actual name than Meyers was the name of the man calling him. “My supervisor is well-pleased.”

“Always glad to be of service,” Javy said. “Is there anything else I can help you with?” Meyer’s organization, whoever they were, had been steady customers for a while.

Meyers hesitated. “Actually, Mr. Rodriguez, I have some bad news. My supervisor has decided to cut some costs, and I’m afraid you are one of those costs.”

“So… he or she has decided to not engage in this sort of business anymore?”

Meyers hesitated again. “No, it’s not that. It’s just that your services are frightfully expensive.”

“Are you trying to get me to lower my price? This is a high-risk business, and not just for me. Sloppy work could get you in trouble as well.”

“Oh, I agree,” Meyer said. “But what can you do? My supervisor recently discovered a service called iSassin. Have you heard of it?”


“iSassin. Apparently some Silicon Valley money guy has decided to ‘disrupt the murder space’. Quietly, of course. Most of the people listing themselves there seem perfectly competent.”

“Perfectly competent until something unexpected happens. This is bullshit and you know it.”

“Welcome to the future, Mr. Rodrigues.”