The story so far:
Ned’s vacation was cut short. Twice. One of paranoia’s byproducts is an uncanny tendency to reschedule.
He’d spent several sessions concocting “Best of” lists, deeply hoping to flatter any and all new suckers into returning fives. Lincolns, he’d call them. After all, that was the profile on the five-dollar bill, of which he hoped to earn 60. He’d offer his pair of Lincolns (pennies, in this case; creatively rewording old cliché’s was reward-worthy, no?) in chapters instead of comments, thereby providing eligibility into the contest. He hadn’t yet posted the best of lists, as it was difficult including every new fish who jumped into this ocean. But should one get away, that could poison his whole master-plan. And how else, with only two days left, was he to undermine the Ringleader?
Ringleader, indeed. This place was a circus. Full of clowns. He hated every last one of them. Those who continued their own stories ad infinitum. Those who neglected (accidental or not) spell checking and grammar. Those who submitted more entries than him, as they’d have more chances to win. Those who submitted less entries than him, as they focused their energies better than he did. Those who submitted the same number of entries, as they were copycats and could potentially split votes. Far too many clowns in this Volkswagen.
He scrapped the latest “Best of” in favor of a “random line” selection. Grab any five words in a row and rip the authors a new hole. Didn’t matter if it was genius – writers just wanted to see their name in print. Masquerade all of it as constructive criticism and kamikaze the votes. That’d ruin his own chances, as well... under this log-in. Sybil was famous for multiple personalities; couldn’t the world handle another?
Ned scanned through his comments. Vacation, indeed. How could his wife have planned a getaway so close to the 20th of the month? Wasn’t that the ides of April plus a fiver? Tax day and a Lincoln?
He grabbed his communicator – the special one he’d reconfigured to appear like he was The Ringleader – and transmitted:
“**** the **** with **** **** ****, you **** little **** ****! If **** ****-**** don’t **** the ****, you’ll **** **** **** **** **** **** **** **** **** mayonnaise!”
(Research showed the more curses you could litter a sentence with, the better reception you’d get.)
Ned peeked down at his sockless piggies. Man, he had really ugly feet. No one would want transparency there – cover those ten-toed ogre hooves and start another chapter with hopes of coherency. Perhaps he’d use his German log-in. After all, there were still 48 hours before the contest wrapped.