Whilst enjoying the charms of the Monkeyton Village Show over the summer, I was surprised to to see that between the coconut shy and the hook-a-duck stall (not to be confused with the Hooker Duck stall, which was something else entirely) was a booth belonging to the local Masonic Lodge. Being a curious sort of fella, I went over for a look – I knew that the brethren are trying to come out of the shadows a bit more these days, but I hadn’t realised that this went as far as openly recruiting noobs. I chatted with a very pleasant chap for a while, then made my excuses and left.
I like secret societies, have done since I first read the wonderful Illuminatus! Trilogy as a teenager. If you haven’t read it, you really should – it’s one of those books that can change your whole outlook on life if it gets you at the right time. I don’t think I’ve ever really taken anything seriously since reading the chapter where one of the main characters, in trial lawyer mode, convinces the United States to cop an insanity plea. I’ve never really been inclined to join one (never been invited either, snooty buggers), but I enjoy reading the conspiracy theories about them on the more rolling-eyed websites as a break from the excessive reality that can creep in at work.
Imagine my flabbergastation then when a few weeks ago I came across an ancient manuscript inside an exhibit (yeah, we’re working on the backlog). It contained Information. Secret Information. Information with an capital I.
The Information, dear reader, is this: there is a secret society at work amongst the digital forensics community, and there has been for a looooong time. They trace their lineage back to the Pharaohs and possibly further, where they were in charge of investigating fraud by the stonesmiths who built the pyramids and monuments of those times, when it was all abacus-based. They’ve updated over the millennia and are still going strong – I’d be surprised if a large number of the LE folk reading this aren’t initiates, in fact…
Anyway, I’ve decided to release this information to the world now. I may well have noble reasons, a motive based on a desire to bring truth and enlightenment to the masses. I may have, but I don’t. I’m just after the lolz and I’m prepared to break a 3000-year old confidence to get them. So here they are:
Rites and Practices of the Ancient Illuminated Order of Forensicators.
Initiation into the First Degree (Revised Accepted Monkeytown Rite, version 126.96.36.199)
Dramatis personae: Neophyte (the person to be initiated), Neophyte’s Mate (the one who helped the Neophyte write his application and proposed him for membership), Grand Poobah (head of the Chapter), Chapter Fluffer (dongle-bearer to the Grand Poobah), Old-Arses (the congregation of initiated brethren).
The Neophyte and his Mate stand outside the doors of the Lodge. The Mate knocks thricely with his forehead.
Old-Arses (shouted) Use the other door!
Grand Poobah shakes his head despondently three times, signifying the sadness felt by Saul Haberdash, Forensicator to King Nebuchadnezzar, at his acolytes’ inability to remember the correct door to use.
The Neophyte and his Mate walk solemnly to the side door, where the Mate knocks thricely again with his forehead.
Fluffer Who seeks access to this tower of learning and truth?
Mate A neophyte, cold and tired of working in the dark.
Fluffer And what does he seek?
Mate A day-job.
Fluffer And what else?
Old-Arses (shouted) No chance of that here, the Job’s fucked!
Fluffer Shut it, you lot. Enter, Neohphyte cold and tired.
The Neophyte and his mate are admitted to the Hall, where they approach the Grand Poobah at his Desk of Nobbing-Off
Grand Poobah Who comes before the Lodge?
Fluffer A Neophyte, cold and tired, and his Mate who is known and true.
Grand Poobah And has he brought his £5 for the tea kitty?
The Mate whispers the response to the Neophyte
Neophyte I’ll bring it in tomorrow.
Grand Poobah That’ll have to do. And what do you seek, Neophyte?
Neophyte A day-job
Grand Poobah And do you know anything about computers?
Mate whispers the response to the Neophyte
Neophyte I fix my mum’s when it goes wrong.
Grand Poobah As did Imhotep the Lecherous. It is well. You stand before us, Neophyte cold and tired, ready to be admitted to our ancient roles, in sight of brethren and under the gaze of the Celestial SIO. I present to you the Kit of our Craft.
The Fluffer hands the Grand Poobah each item in turn
Grand Poobah This is the Hub for which the power supply is lost. It will hold all of the dongles you accumulate during your journey, but may drop off at any time for want of power. This is to remind you that everything is a bit shit.
The Neophyte accepts the Hub.
Grand Poobah This is the ceremonial mind-soap. It signifies the need to clean your mind of all the bizarre crap you see on your journey.
The Neophyte accepts the soap.
Grand Poobah And this is the dongle-that-will-be-lost. It reminds you to trust no one.
As the Neophyte takes the dongle, the lights are suddenly extinguished and a pre-chosen Old-Arse runs forward and grabs it, then returns to his place. The lights go back on. The Neophyte’s Mate whispers the correct words to the Neophyte.
Neophyte Oi! That’s my dongle!
Old-Arses Bollocks it is, it’s the Celestial SIO’s dongle!
Grand Poobah Welcome to the force, son. It’s your round. Don’t tell anyone about this or we’ll kick your face off.
The assembly retires to the bar for drinks and unlikely stories.
That’s as much of the manuscript as I’ve been able to decipher so far – it’s written in ancient glyphs on parchment that I strongly suspect is human skin, and it’s very thirsty work…
If anyone else knows of this ancient order and is willing to share, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
This post was brought to you with the help of the album ‘Orphans’ by Tom Waits, and Morgan’s spiced rum.