The Last Weblog of Jonathan LippinCott by A. R. Yngve

Mr. Ngolo was a massive man, with a broad dark face and a loud suit. He spoke good English with a nasal accent, and his demeanor was calm. He sat facing Innis Garris, detective at Homicide, Precinct 20.

Sergeant Bolland stood by the door to Garris’s office, and regarded the two seated men with his usual flat expression.

Garris said: "Mr. Lippincott’s wife called the university when her husband wouldn’t answer her phonecalls, text messages, and e-mails. Then they took one look at his weblog, and alerted us. I have now read Mr. Lippincott’s weblog, and I’d like you to read it."

"If you wish," said Ngolo.

Garris turned the flatscreen monitor on his desk around, and handed Ngolo the computer mouse to scroll with. It was a seemingly ordinary weblog, with postings arranged chronologically from July the 4th of that year…


July 4, 2004

Hi, Web people!

I’m Jonathan Lippincott, welcome to my first blog.

Everyone’s blogging, and I’m late on the bandwagon (as usual ;)). I asked my wife: what should I blog about? She told me I must not post pictures of the kids and family, because you never know what psychos out there might notice.

I promised her not to post any photos. That doesn’t mean you’re a psycho. 😉 I live in that big city up East that we all love, with my wife Sheryl and our two kids. Our apartment overlooks Sanford Bay. I work in the philology department at Antonioni University, nothing to write home about, but a nice job. Sheryl is a stay-at-home mom who does a little day-trading on the side.

There are so many things I could blog about, but I want to talk about things I wonder about… not everyday stuff, but curious things. (Everybody talk about their kids, look at this picture, isn’t he adorable, yadda yadda.)

Like, for instance, junk mail. It’s getting weirder and WEIRDER. It used to at least try to sell something. Now it’s just an empty mail and garbled text that doesn’t mean anything. Taglines like "Gorww your ckokk." What’s the point?

And now I hear 80% or more of all communication on the Internet is junk mail. Junk mails which you can’t read and don’t sell anything. It makes no sense…

Or does it?

There are rumors, of course. Some say junk mail is really a code system, used by terrorists and organized crime for their internal communication.

Another rumor, I heard it at work, is that it must be a conspiracy: some covert group is flooding the Internet with junk mail and comment spam as sabotage, in order to choke it. But who would want to stop the Internet? Your guess is as good as mine.

But I’ve been thinking about it, and I’ve read through all my spam for a whole two weeks, and I’m beginning to make my own theory.

You want to hear it? I’ll formulate it tomorrow. Gotta set off the evening’s fireworks… Happy 4th of July! God bless America!




WorkMate wrote:

Welcome to the blogging community, Jonathan! I feel partly responsible for your blog, since it was I who recommended the free blog service you’re using. Don’t wrack your brain over spam, it’s just a bunch of morons trying to scam other morons off their money. Happy 4th of July. 🙂

Benton Colson wrote:

Hi, great blog. Try the Maxihhatr Npepis elongator, it really really works.

Margaret B. Whammy wrote:

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July 5, 2004

Whoa! Who inflated my head last night? It was a great 4th of July party. But I couldn’t stop thinking about my theory. I sat up late, drunk, and wrote it down.

Here it is: The garbled junk e-mail and comment spam that’s been appearing online, with the nonsense spelling and pointless messages… it’s not code, at least not the way we’re used to thinking of code.

It’s a language.

Did you hear about those kids in a South American school for the deaf, who spontaneously created their own unique language? Suppose the Internet has spawned a language, one we’ve never seen before. I can’t even begin to guess who speaks this new… "Spamlish" or whatchamacallit. Maybe a kind of "tribe" in the new World Wide Jungleweb. But they exist, and this is the way the talk.

And the rest of us read and go "Huh??" just like we can’t figure out the graffitti on the wall. I am going to test my theory.

First, I’ll try to contact this "tribe" who write in the "spamlish" lingo. That’s fairly easy. I’ll Create collages of the existing spam messages in my mail-box and send them as replies to spammers. Here’s what such a test-probe message will look like:

"Hi! Here’s the mhessage nice Teen looking for Kcoks Huge Nheighbore Contact With Phennis Cialixxx spamlish speakers. Who are you? Finnd out etevyrthing atbou New Internet Lhingo…"

If I’m close enough to writing legible Spamlish, I should get a response.

Second, I will try to decipher the Spamlish "code". I think it’s built up of layers. The first layer replaces a word or expression with a "slang" term. Instead of, say, "I", they write "Nice Teen"… or "Hot Neighbor" instead of "someone I know".

The next layer scrambles the slang expressions – partly to get past spam filters, but mainly to confuse outsiders.

The next spammer who mails me in Spamlish will get my test reply. I will continue sending replies to them until I get a response. Wish me luck!




WorkMate wrote:

What have you been drinking, Jon? Spammers must be laughing their asses off right now. But hey, don’t tell me I didn’t warn you. "Spamlish", Jeez…

George Hammerton wrote:

Hey, try this mexican phramacy cialixxx recipe free.

Cindy A. Commoner wrote:

H=0=UNKNOWN?=1; Htot Neighbor Mtohers Need Huge Kcoks


July 8, 2004

I’ve been busy at work, hence the late update. Every evening I’ve replied with my test e-mails to every spam address which has sent me a mail in "Spamlish."

So far, no response. Of course I keep getting the same amount of nonsensical spam as usual, but how am I to make sense of it? If one or more of the latest junk e-mails were meant for me personally, I can’t tell – there is no mention of my name in any of them.

Still haven’t cracked the code of the spam messages. My first theory about a layered cipher may have been premature. What if I sent back replies in plain English? Like, "I’m on to your code, let me join the conversation"? Worth a try. And if I happen to stumble onto a crime ring, let this serve as a warning to the cops (kidding!)…

Let me share the content of some emails I’ve received in the past few days. The total amount has grown, but not much. Here’s one from "David Lemming":

"Want get HOT CIALIHXXX for make your wife SCREAM? Try African Phramcacy now, your member will hget HUGE nice Teen Teen sphurts"

Again: the mail contained no link, nowhere to make an order and actually send money. And the text makes no sense. Another one, from "1=UNKNOWN?=1=???", reads:

"PLEASE ANSWER SOON TO me fhdAAAkjlll I have offer you get rich if you send monLLLey to my representative at Bank of Nigeria. bnbBBBndxs tHHHank yoUUU. The BanKKK of NigeRRRiAAA"

It looks like someone cut and pasted parts of a Nigerian Banking scam letter and added… what? A code? Note the letters in threes, "AAA", "LLL", and so on. They seem to form the word "ALBHUKRA". And the phrase in capital letters…

"Please answer soon to Albhukra"? Is that it? I Googled it. There is no such thing as Albhukra.

I might be on the wrong track here, but I’ll send a reply to this particular spammer: "I understand. You want me to answer soon to Albhukra. Who or where is that?"

I’ll post an update soon. Are we having fun yet? I’m having a ball. This is better than The DaVinci Code.




Linda Mortello wrote:

Answer soon Mexican Pharmracy Answer soon Teen Jenjoying Answer Soon Huge Ejackulation. Want to make your Wife SCREAM and SCREAM and SCREAM?

WorkMate wrote:

Get a life, Jon. This is boring. Visit my brother’s blog instead, he’s got some great poker-playing advice. I’m playing regularly and earning money. Join me on poker night Friday, and forget this "spamlish" nonsense. Or is it another prank of yours, like when you showed up with a "golden nugget" from "your own mine?"

Scott F. Guld wrote:

Article Submission 1=UNKNOWN?=!=0=1=?


July 10, 2004

This morning, when I went outside to pick up the newspaper, there was a postcard in the mailbox. The card showed a photo of some God-forsaken hotel in the oldest part of Ratboro, with a pyramid-shaped neon sign. In the pyramid was a painted sign: "THE VOODOO INN". The colors of the photo were false, like a 1950s postcard. The cars on the street seemed at least 40 years old.

My address was on the card, but no sender’s address. The message was just a single handwritten word: ALBHUKRA.

I brought the card to the university, and asked one of the old ladies in the mailroom to trace it for me.

At the end of the day, she brought back the card. And she told me that the Voodoo Inn Hotel and Bar had existed, at the same address in Ratboro, since at least the Great Fire of 1963 – perhaps before. And it had a bad reputation. "Are you involved in drug dealing?" she replied, and then she laughed.

The spam has changed since my last blog post… it’s gotten more aggressive. It’s almost as if someone is threatening me. But it could be my imagination.

Mustn’t worry Shirley for no reason. But I told her to keep her eyes open, in case some weirdo approaches her or the house.


I just got five copies in a row of the same e-mail! Sent from "" with the heading "BUSINESS PROPOSAL TO JONATHAN LIPPINCOTT" (sic!), this is what it said:



I am Joshua Ngolo, the new Chairman of the Ratboro Chamber of Commerce.

Please allow me to ask for your needed assistance in an urgent matter. I used to be the Cashier to Colonel Bertrand Mkele, a commander in the NLA (Namibian Liberation Army).

The NLA leadership bought diamonds from Mkele and paid him 50 million dollars. Unfortunately Mkele was murdered before he could extract the money from his Swiss bank account. Since my life and my family were also in danger, I fled to the United States shortly after the colonel’s death. The 50 million are still untouched.

I am now living in exile in your fair city. I have the access code to the Swiss bank account, but my expense account is now nearly exhausted.

Here is my offer. If you use your connections in the city’s municipal bureacracy, we can get the account legally transfered to an American bank.

I will pay you 20 million of the money, if you help me with the formal arrangements and expenses.

This is a serious offer and a great opportunity.

Yours sincerely,

Joshua Ngolo,

Chairman of the Ratboro Chamber of Commerce

The Voodoo Inn, Suite #12-14


I agree – it sounds as phony as a 13-dollar bill. Ratboro isn’t big or rich enough to have a "Chamber of Commerce." But it doesn’t look any ordinary banking scam. And why did he send the postcard – if it really was him? What’s that supposed to signify? Too vague to be a threat, too strange to be ignored. Maybe some African incantation, a wish for good luck in business?

I will send a reply back to him: Did you send the postcard, and what is ALBHUKRA? Is there something you want other than the business deal?




Scott F. Guld wrote:

Article Submission 1=UNKNOWN?=!=0=1=?

Scott F. Guld wrote:

Article Submission 1=UNKNOWN?=!=0=1=?

Mallard Ramsey wrote:

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July 11, 2004

Ngolo’s reply was quick. He claims he did not send the postcard, but his denial is so transparent it may be an "official" one: it seems he’s admitting it between the lines.

He also wrote that "ALBHUKRA" is a legend among his people, a fairytale:

"Albhukra is a demon, perhaps several demons, who feed on our dreams and live in our speech, in our books. Its dung is the evil that festers in the wells of our souls. From time to time, the Albhukra grew so strong that it had to be appeased with sacrifice. Then it slept, and the evil in men’s souls subsided, like a well dries up when there is no rain."

Balderdash, of course. But the legend intrigues me all the same. I wrote a quick reply and asked: "How does one recognize the presence of Albhukra? Do the possessed spin their heads 360 degrees, spew green vomit and talk backwards?" If he was kidding me, I would make him lose his cool.

Still no reply.

I knew it. Another phony, as if the country wasn’t packed with phoneys already.


Ngolo did reply! I read his e-mail when I came home:

"Mock me if you want. The evidence is before you, even in the mighty computers you have created. Even there, Albhukra feeds and leaves its mark – the dung of Albhukra, which you call ‘spam’. I have heard possessed men and women speak in tongues, the very same words in your so-called ‘spam’, long before the Internet was invented. If you still want to consider my business offer, visit me at the Voodoo Inn."

Who does he take me for, a complete sucker?

But I’m having too much fun to quit now. A Lippincott never runs, my father always told me. He fought in Vietnam, his father fought the Nazis, and grandfather’s father fought the Confederacy, and his father fought the Indians, and his father fought the British. Quitting just isn’t in our blood.

So here is my answer, Mr. Ngolo. I will visit you, at a time of my own choosing. I wouldn’t advise you to visit me. And then you will tell me everything you know, about the secret code language of spammers. I’m sure you have lots to tell. And I’ll bring my laptop and phone modem, so I can blog it to the world. The whole world will know.




Cindy Trenter wrote:

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July 12, 2004

My wife is going to be so mad – I told her I’d take a short trip to the Voodoo Inn, just for fun, and I brought the gun so she shouldn’t worry.

Here I am in Ratboro, and boy is it the dead end of the city. It’s no longer the black ghetto it used to be in the Seventies; now you see people from all over the world here.

In this neighborhood there are some natives, whose features and dialects I can’t place at all. Swedish? Dutch? They’re really pale, they only speak to each other, and they drink Coca-Cola all the time – even the babies do. Weird.

I sit and write this in an Internet café, across the street from Voodoo Inn. Been here a few hours, and I’ve seen people enter and leave the hotel. Many of them are from Africa; they dress in that kind of way, and the women wear really gaudy patterns on their skirts and scarves.


The man who owns this café, a Mexican, knows alot about the neighborhood. Yes, he told me, he knew Joshua Ngolo, a big fat African in an expensive suit who moved in across the street last year – with his fat wife and four kids. They took up permanent residence in the hotel, and the word on the street is that they really are rich Namibian exiles.

Maybe the heat was getting to the Mexican’s brain, or he was just lonely. But he invited me to join him for lunch, at a table facing the street. He couldn’t leave his computers out of sight for a minute. (I wonder how he managed to visit the bathroom?)

"Lunch" consisted of microwaved burritos, tomatoes and his own moonshine tequila. (Made from cactus plants a relative grows in a greenhouse, he said. The tequila business was booming.) The booze was not that strong, but it tasted pretty good.

I asked him if Ngolo met any business partners. The Mexican said he didn’t poke his nose into other people’s business. When people move into Ratboro, he explained, they don’t want undue attention. "This part of town got no website!" he said, and laughed. He pointed out the parking spaces on the street in front of the Voodoo Inn.

"He’s not home," the Mexican said. "He’s often away on business, but he always comes back in time for dinner with the family. I can hear them talking and singing and laughing from here. Their suite is on the third floor, see? Walls are paper thin. You can expect Ngolo here around seven p.m."

It was silly of me, but I asked him if Ngolo was into superstition and voodoo. The Mexican gave me a frown, as if I’d uttered a racist statement. I killed the tension by praising his tequila, and bought a whole crate. He cheered up and shook my hand. And I walked across the street and into the Voodoo Inn Hotel & Bar.


Here I am, in the Voodoo Inn hotel lobby and bar, using the wi-fi spot near the Mexican’s Internet Café to report this. The Ngolo family use virtually half the third floor for themselves.

It turned out Mrs. Ngolo works the reception desk! When I told her about my errand, that I came from the university and wanted to interview Mr. Ngolo she introduced herself to me, and offered me a free drink while I waited.

Their kids hung around the place, spying on me, or probably just bored.


Five in the afternoon, and Mrs. Ngolo says there’s a phonecall for me. I walk over to the reception and take the receiver. Mr. Ngolo answers, speaking from his car. His wife had alerted him about the visitor, of course. He sounds pleased, too pleased, to have me visit, and he asks me if I’m treated well. He’s on his way, and will be there in an hour, and do I want to join his family over dinner?

He insists, but I politely decline. I’m in Ratboro in business. I explain that I study Internet "dialects", and I think he may have information about how certain communications are made through e-mail. I tell him – just to be safe – that I don’t have any cash on me, but I’m prepared to pay handsomely for any real information.

(Unless you’ve been living on Mars for the last five years, I don’t have to tell you that Mr. Ngolo is a professional scam artist. Everyone in the Western Hemisphere receives the kind of email "business offer" he specializes in. Funny place to find him, though. Most of these guys operate from Europe and Florida, or so I’ve heard.)

He goes quiet for several seconds. Then he speaks, and these are the exact words:

"You want to learn about the secret languages. This is not for anyone to know, you understand? It is not to be trifled with."

"You said languages. There’s more than one?"

"There is the one I use to contain and keep the Albhukra away. And there is the other language – the filth of Albhukra."

"You mean the spam. The messages that don’t make sense."

"You should not know these things. You Americans talk too much. It attracts Albhukra."

"You’re not scaring me away. I’ll keep digging until I find out the truth, and then the world will know. It could be profitable for you! You’ll be on TV."

And then he starts to sing, over the phone! Some sort of incantation in Swahili. He switches back to English and says: "Tell my wife to let you into room 12B. She will come to you with food. She is a very good cook. Please do not leave the food untouched, she would be extremely insulted if you did not eat at least a little. Then, after dinner, we will talk."

I promise him to eat, and he ends the conversation. I hope she doesn’t cook too spicy. It gives me heartburn.


Got to get myself together. Is night. Damn woman put something in my food! I fell asleep and woke up grogy. The food and wine is gone.

I tried the door it’s locked from the outside. Shit. And she stole my cell phone while I were sleeping. Lucky me, I’d hid the laptop before I ate, so she didn’t find it. I’m still in the Mexican’s wi-fi zone. Or maybe she didn’t understand I could use the PC to send a message to the cops. Ha! I’m too smart for them.


I’m still dizzy from whatever she put in my food. My head and my tongue tingle. Wonder if the Mexican puts peyote in his moonshine?

I turned on the room’s old TV set and turned up the volume to the max, to stay awake. Ngolo must’ve arrived, but I can’t hear or see anything from outside. They boarded up the window, too. Bastards.

focus gets all blurry can’t hear what’s on the tv

tv voices all garbled but now they speak english. it is ngolo on the tv the picture is all snow but i hear his voice or is he outside room talking to me

he tells me everything

spamlish is a language he says. not a cipher, like I thought before is the language of what we westerners call the id

the things who speak spamlish are monsters of our baser desires – greed and lust and aggression. they are not human but part of our world and we think it was only in our imaginations.

they live in a dimension we westerners call it a brane next to to to our cosmos

and crawl into our dimension like worms crawl from one leaf to another. they enter our brains and form the parts of our thoughts we call the "monsters of the Id."

They feed on the energies of our nervous systems. In return they feed us with unutterable thoughts of destruction, hate and degradation. In ancient times before the "Enlightenment," these things were called demons or succubi. But they are neither.

They are the tapeworms of the cosmic fabric. And through us, they infect the great web of human minds we call the World Wide Web, and choke it with spam. Their worshippers are the ones worst infected.

I think I can hear them outside my room. They are stomping and clapping and chanting:

"Albhukra! Albhukra! Kali ra, Albhukra!"

I have a gun. Anyone try to get in, I shoot. I tell them. What if they set the rooms on fire? Or my home? I must call Shirley and warn her.


I tried to email her but there is no reply. Wi-fi still working. If you can read this call the police NOW and tell them to protect Shirley Lippincott! FOR GODS SAKE CALL NOW

They are still chanting outside…… No. It stopped…. Can’t hear a sound. Only the laptop hissing… buzzing… glowing… screen’s glowing blue.




WorkMate wrote:

Stop this prank, Jon, it’s not funny! If you’re in trouble, please get in touch. Shirley called and she’s worried sick.

Joshua Ngolo wrote:

The Worms of the Well have fed. Albhukra Kali Ra sleeps. In the deepest pits of our hearts, in our darkest night it sleeps. Sleep, Albhukra. We sing you to sleep.

Horton A. Raffart wrote:

1=1=1=0=?=1=!=UNKNOWN=0=0== = = = =

Rob M. Selling wrote:

1=0=0=0= = = = =


Garris faced Joshua Ngolo, who had stopped reading and was staring into thin air.

"Where is Mr. Lippincott? We searched every room, wardrobe, basement and laundry chute of the building."

Ngolo’s face resembled a sweating rock. "You can read what he wrote, officer. He went into room Twelve B."

"I went to the third floor myself. Looked through your suite, rooms twelve and fourteen. The Voodoo Inn never had a room Twelve B."

"This is a very special part of town, officer. Here things can both exist and not exist at the same time. I’m sure you know from experience. That is why I came to work here."

"You could have put a false number on the adjacent room, and locked him inside."

"If I did, where is he now? I couldn’t have pushed him out a window, could I? Where is the body? Where is his computer? Where is the drugged food and wine he claims my wife served him?"

"Is that an admission of guilt?" Garris rose and leaned over the table. "Witnesses saw him enter the hotel, Ngolo, but never saw him leave. What do I tell his wife? What do I tell the media? What do I tell the mayor, the city’s chief of police?"

"Tell them the truth: that he has disappeared. You can arrest me if you want. Take the whole building apart. But you will never find evidence to hold me or prosecute me or my family."

Garris leaned closer and fixed his deep-seated gaze on Ngolo’s large black eyes. "Why?"

The African’s eyes did not flinch one millimeter; he spoke with absolute conviction. "Because I did not kill or abduct Mr. Lippincott. He disappeared."

"Maybe not. But as long as you won’t cooperate, I can put pressure on your family and the hotel management. The FBI will of course be informed about your junk-mail business. That alone can get you in prison for some time."

"Be my guest, officer." He seemed confident that he would not get caught for junk mail – or prison did not frighten him. Or, Garris thought, there were things Ngolo feared more than the judicial system.

"No thanks. I’ve read what happens to your guests." He nodded to the sergeant. "Let him go, Bolland."

Ngolo’s two teenage sons were waiting for their father in the police station’s lobby. The three of them walked out to his shiny new car. Garris and Bolland trailed them to the entrance, and out onto the stone steps.

Garris stopped and watched Ngolo drive off. The streets were still hot. Off to the east, thick rainclouds were gathering over Sanford Bay.

"Is this case closed, sir?" asked Bolland.

The detective returned to the computer in his office, and clicked the "Refresh" button in Internet Explorer.

An error message appeared on the flatscreen: the address of the weblog no longer existed. He would post a stakeout team by the hotel. Cops would search the area for signs of the missing person. A reward would be offered. It was what everyone would expect him to do. And yet he was almost certain they would find nothing related to the Lippincott disappearance.

He hated it, but there were other cases to solve – the city morgue held enough real corpses as it was. With slow, awkward fingers he started to type in the report that would file Jonathan Lippincott under "Missing Persons."

"Go home, sergeant. You may want to check what your kids are doing with the computer."

A flash of worry crossed Bolland’s face, and he hurried out through the door.

10 Responses to “The Last Weblog of Jonathan LippinCott by A. R. Yngve”

  1. Zarathustra Wrote:

    Finally! A believable explanation of spam. 🙂

    Good story.

  2. JJ Burke Wrote:

    i liked everything except lippincott’s final entry about worms coming out of the laptop. not so much the idea of it, but the fact that he sat and typed while the worms attacked. that’s not unheard-of in mythos stories, but it’s something that always bugs me when i see it. now excuse me, my left foot has been on fire for the last 3 minutes and the smell is distracting.
    (just messing with you.. it’s a good story, thanks for posting)

  3. Dario Wrote:

    Hey, A.R., cool idea and a lot of fun — well done!

  4. Fabbe Wrote:

    Great writing as I had a wonderful time reading it!

  5. Craig Wrote:

    Great story, I loved it! I kind of share JJ’s feeling of eek as the worms came out of the monitor, and he was still typing about it. A way around that might be to have the guy set up a webcam, since he’s afraid of the people marching around in the hall…he wants it recorded if they try something. Then, his last few seconds are recorded and the police watch it, and promptly erase it, rather than try to explain it 😉

  6. Pino Wrote:

    I loved this story, the device of the weblog and the ‘spam language’ concept work excellently.

  7. Ihnathi Wrote:

    Great stuff! An idea I’ve had for years myself; it was nice reading someone who had the same thoughts about the WWW. In reality, the web is one living, breathing entity..and yet it’s still just a baby…

  8. Thom Wrote:

    I enjoyed this a bunch! The idea to have a webcam on the blog is a fair one, and one that I personally like better than the last message…I mean, if they’re coming out of the screen of the laptop, and they’re ravenous, wouldn’t the fingers be the first to go?

    Anyway…this was very entertaining. Bravo!

  9. Goatman Wrote:

    Awesome. The internet worms were very very awesome. Is this a mythos story though? Albhukra seems to me to be an Old One and the internet spam worms are his Servants.

  10. I'mnotNyarlathotep Wrote:

    Awesome story. My theory is that the internet worms were “nice” enough to type finish up his blog entry for him by typing in his last words and submitting them.

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