“I’m going to say this for the last fucking time, so take your daddy’s dick out of your ears! I didn’t bully anybody backstage and I didn’t take any shortcuts! Everything I have in my career has been earned! There’s no controversy! There’s no early stoppage or misjudged scorecards or any of that bullshit! You all are just a bunch of whiny snowflakes who commit suicide over the stupidest shit! If someone calls you a doo-doo head on Twitter, you slash your wrists! If someone calls you an SJW on Face Book, you tie the noose! If someone you don’t like shows up on your college campus, you destroy everything like a big fucking baby! I didn’t do shit to those refs and judges, so wipe tears out of your mascara!”
Zoey Davis wouldn’t have bought Marcus McKnight’s press conference speech if his tongue was notarized. She watched the whole thing on her tablet with furrowed eyebrows and clamped teeth. She firmly believed that being an MMA heavyweight like Marcus didn’t entitle him to do whatever the fuck he wanted. Zoey remembered her own locker room experiences in high school. The N-word echoed throughout he brain quicker than having her dreadlocks ripped out. The jokes about her having a visible ribcage were usually followed by racist jocks throwing fried chicken and corn biscuits at her. To Zoey, Marcus McKnight looked and acted just like those dip shits in school…and she was going to do something about it.
With her gray hoodie pulled over her head, Zoey watched the mixed-martial arts pay-per-view from the back of the arena, hardly anybody seated around her. Those who took up real estate close to her were too invested in the cage fights to pay attention to her playing with her tablet. Every knockout punch within the eight-sided wire fence earned a boisterous roar of approval from the audience. Every choke, every dislocation, every head kick, every vicious elbow, they were appetizers to a much larger meal in the form of the main event, featuring Marcus McKnight and an opponent whose Polish name was difficult to pronounce, but easy to make fun of for any xenophobe in attendance.
The thumb stick in Zoey’s tablet picked up a signal from Marcus’s cell phone. He had recently logged onto Twitter and Face Book, using the same password for both accounts. Zoey shook her head and smiled, “This is too fucking easy.” She noticed that Marcus didn’t even bother using numbers and punctuation marks in his passwords, just a series of lowercase letters. “Lazy as fuck,” Zoey grinned as she worked her hacking magic on those accounts.
What to post, what to post, what to post. Zoey swiped through a bevy of embarrassing Photoshop pictures that would look hilarious on Marcus’s social media pages. Which one would hurt him the most? A picture of Marcus sucking off a goat? A picture of him getting sodomized in a clown suit by a horse? How about one of him milking a cow with his yellow-toenailed feet? Oh, why not all of them? She fiddled around on her tablet some more and posted all three of these pictures onto Marcus’s Twitter and Face Book pages. She quickly tucked the tablet away in her hoodie pocket and watched the action with a smile.
She was so busy with her hack job that she didn’t even notice that Marcus McKnight was already making his way to the octagon with the Polish opponent inside. Even from so far away, Zoey could easily see why someone like him would be intimidating to a bullying victim. Seven feet tall, barely cracking the maximum weight limit at two hundred sixty-five pounds, more muscle on his sausage fingers than most people had in their entire bodies, and “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns n’ Roses blasting over the sound system. Zoey crossed her fingers in hopes that he would actually lose his match tonight, but given that the Polish opponent looked like a midget next to him, it was unlikely.
The referee explained to the fighters the rules of the match and already Marcus was in bully mode when he spit a silver glob in his opponent’s mouth. Zoey shivered hard enough to make herself dizzy. If she thought that was sickening, she was in for a real treat when the match started and Marcus threw bloody haymakers at his opponent. With every stone fist that connected, Zoey’s stomach turned as she remembered more bullying from her childhood. She felt her own bones break, her own face get disfigured, her own skin being ripped open like a birthday present of violence. She felt so ill to her stomach that she stuck out her tongue and gasped for air, while everyone around her stood up and cheered at the “delicious” gore.
Zoey secretly wondered if her vigilante hacking would be doing any good to begin with. At the very worst, Marcus could just delete the pictures and change his password to something more secure. She kicked herself for thinking this immature prank was even a good idea. There were evil corporations and governments in the world that needed to be brought down and she chose to use her skills on one backstage bully in a world swarming with them. One guy could get humiliated and there would be more Marcus McKnights waiting in the wings. Tears welled up in her eyes as she tucked her face in her lap.
And then she heard the drunken choir around her chanting, “Goat fucker! Goat fucker! Goat fucker!” Zoey lifted her wet face and saw that people in attendance were looking at their phones and laughing their asses off. It was at that moment she remembered the old adage of whatever was on the internet was there forever. She smiled and wiped away her tears as the chants continued. Hell, she even stood up herself and chanted along with them with her fist pumping in the air.
Marcus’s bruised ego was more obvious than the bruises on his opponent’s hamburger face. He kept yelling, “Shut the fuck up!” to the crowd and missing wildly with his punches. Meanwhile, the Polish fighter, as bloody and swollen as he was, threw some punches of his own and even landed a nice head kick, which staggered Marcus backwards against the cage. Zoey stood on her sneaker-wearing tippy-toes and cheered wildly as Marcus was getting his comeuppance.
The raucous taunting turned to dead silence when Marcus’s answer to his opponent’s offence was a head-splitting elbow to the side of the face. Blood squirted out of the brand new orifice as the fighter flopped to the ground unconscious and the ref waved the match off, awarding the victory to Marcus McKnight.
“No…no…no, this can’t be happening,” Zoey whispered to herself with wide eyes. She pulled her hood back and grabbed her fuzzy hair in disbelief. All that taunting did was anger Marcus to where he nearly killed his opponent. He had never hit an opponent that hard before, not even in victory. “This is all my fault…” the hacktivist whimpered. These were the same words she used in high school whenever she got clocked by smaller bullies, thinking she could easily take them with her six foot stance. Zoey pounded the sides of her head in a feeble attempt to exorcise these traumatic ghosts from her mind.
She felt a meaty hand clamp down on her shoulder along with the word “Ma’am!” shouted in her ear. Zoey slowly turned around and saw a chubby security guard with a bald head and sunglasses standing over her, menacing stare and all. “You’re in a lot of trouble, ma’am. You need to come with me peacefully. And hand over that tablet you got in your hoodie. I ain’t joking around, baby girl!”
Zoey would be damned if she let another traumatic vision flood her mind for the rest of her life. This guy easily had two hundred pounds of meat in his tale of the tape and he could snap her in two just like that. If she handed over the tablet, it would all be over for her. When she realized it was over the day she left high school, she formed a nasty frown on her face, pulled out the tablet, and smashed it against the security guard’s jowly face.
The glass from the tablet shredded a few pounds from the guard’s face, causing him to drip all over the arena steps like a running faucet. Any last shred of evidence that Zoey hacked Marcus McKnight’s accounts was little more than computer dust on the floor, mixing perfectly with human blood. Zoey hopped over the barricade when she saw more security guards chasing after her.
Zoey’s lightning quickness on her feet was an afterthought when security guards seemed to pour in from every exit she had. Turned to the right, a pack of Shrek clones in blue shirts. Turned to the left, a flood of human protoplasm flooding her direction. The drunken lard asses in the crowd didn’t help much either as she tried to squeeze past them. With no other exit aside from the cage itself, Zoey Davis’s adrenaline boost clouded her judgment and caused her to scale the cage quicker than a squirrel up a tree.
Greasy blond haired Marcus raised his arms in the air, stuck his tongue out, and taunted her with “snowflake” insults and middle fingers. Ordinarily, Zoey would freeze up like the very insult she was being berated with. Up close, Marcus had the height of a skyscraper, the strength of a brick wall, and the screaming volume of a marine corps drill instructor all rolled into one. Being next to him would make even the bravest of men wet themselves in a biblical flood.
Not Zoey. Not anymore. She screamed, “Take this, you goat fucker!” before planting both of her rubber soles against Marcus’s crotch, doubling him over and eventually leaving him beached like a smelly whale corpse. Even with the referee and the security guards grabbing her by the arms and legs, even with no visible exit anywhere in the building, even with decades of prison ahead of her, Zoey felt free at last. The adrenaline boost cleansed her mind of all negative voices and any remaining were drowned out with crowd chants of “Goat fucker! Goat fucker! Goat fucker!”
“Was it worth it, you little shit?” spat one of the beefy security guards. “Was it fucking worth it?”
“Bitch, you’ve got no clue!” said Zoey with a wicked grin on her face. Even while laying on her back and being dragged out across the beer-soaked floor, she stood tall against those who oppressed her and people like her. Could one bold move spark a revolution? Could hacking skills really make that big of a difference? Zoey didn’t know and didn’t give a damn at this point. Prison or not, she was free.