The Night of Halloween

This article was published by ComputorEdge, issue #2443, , as a feature article, in both their print edition (on page 20) and their website, under a pseudonym (John Deplume). Author bio: John Deplume fondly recalls, as a child, swapping almost all of his Halloween harvest in exchange for his younger brother's Baby Ruth bars.

'Twas the night of Halloween,
when all through the house,
not a gadget was stirring,
not even a wireless mouse.

A large bin of candy
was set by the door with care,
in hopes that trick-or-treaters
soon would be there.

The children had pulled
pillowcases from their beds,
while visions of sugar highs
danced in their heads.

I started up the Wi-Fi,
booted up my new PC,
and relaxed in my ergo-chair
for a programming party.

But then inside my computer
the hard drive began to clatter,
so I ran some diagnostics
to see what was the matter.

A nasty pop-up window
appeared in a flash,
and soon it began haunting
my Web browser's cache.

The sickly glow of my lamp
on my flat-panel's screen
revealed a digital demon
infecting my pristine machine.

When, what to my
bleary eyes should appear,
but eight pieces of malware —
all with payloads to fear.

They attacked my PC's defenses,
so lively and so quick,
and popped up new windows
just as fast as I could click.

More rapid than eagles
these monsters they came,
and I cringed and I cursed
as I called them by name:

"Now, Melissa! Now, Sasser!
Now, CodeRed and CodeBlue!
Oh, Noclose! Oh, Nocan!
Oh, Klez and ILOVEYOU!"

I ran some more tests,
updated my firewall,
and started a virus scan,
in hopes of catching them all.

Despite all the measures,
the malware kept getting through.
But some laughter on the street
gave me a valuable clue.

I peered through the window
and saw, to my regret,
some jokers with laptops,
in a car, surfing the Net.

Parked in front of my house,
they were somehow online,
using some fool's wireless network —
and I bet it was mine!

This old programming cat
just might still have nine lives,
because I then found a program
I wrote for wiping hard drives.

"passwords.txt.exe"
was an enticing filename,
and to not share it with those guys
would have been such a shame.

Like a crafty old peddler
with a bag full of tricks,
I made the file available
to any crackers seeking kicks.

Over the network they came
with reindeer-like speed,
and snagged my jolly "treat"
with a bit of ghoulish greed.

I then added overdue security
to my Wi-Fi network,
peeked again at the jokers,
and saw them go berserk.

Their mouths — how they swore!
Their eyes — how they cried!
I couldn't help but chuckling,
no matter how much I tried.

Then they bound out of the car
joined a trick-or-treating group,
tried to blend with the others,
and to my house did troop.

I met them all at the door,
and opened the candy bin,
with my droll little mouth
drawn up in a ghastly grin.

A wink of my one good eye,
and a twist of my hoary head,
gave some of them to know
that they had more to dread.

The good little children
were given candy and toys,
while AOL disks
went to the angry bad boys.

They all heard me exclaim
as they drove out of sight,
"Happy Halloween to all,
and to all a safe night!"

Copyright © 2006 Michael J. Ross. All rights reserved.