My story begins in the outskirts of San Jose, where I interviewed "Ron." Ron is a Google employee involved in the internal testing of the new Google phone - a practice which they have charmingly referred to as "dogfooding."
"Can I ask you a few questions about the new Google phone?" I asked, beginning my interview.
"Pardon me?" Ron replied cautiously. "I'm not sure what you're talking about."
"Oh I see. You thought because I'm wearing a Taco Bell uniform, and because you're in a Taco Bell, eating Taco Bell food that I gave you, that I'm some sort of Taco Bell employee," I said, sitting down beside him in the Taco Bell where I'd worked undercover for the past 12 days. I'd been there waiting for a Google-y looking employee to come through the doors, before finally settling on Ron. I actually didn't know for sure if this guy was named Ron, but he had a kind of Ron vibe. "In retrospect I can see how you would be confused. I actually work for a very important media outlet, working the technology and sexual deviancy beats."
Ron's mouth moved up and down a bit without any noise coming out, sort of like he was doing a dry run of having a conversation.
"So because you're clearly a Google employee, I thought I'd ask to see if you were part of this 'dogfooding' setup where you're testing the new Google phone."
"How do you know I'm a Google employee?"
"You have the look of a high achiever who is just a little bit frightened by talking to strangers. You've also got a bit of a wiener haircut." Ron's hands unthinkingly shifted up to tidy his untidy-able hair.
"I can't really talk about it."
I nodded earnestly. "Because it's a secret program, and you don't want to get in trouble with your employer. I totally get that. I don't want to put you on the spot."
Ron looked relieved.
"I mean you've probably got very strict instructions to keep that stuff from the media."
"And from your friends and family."
Ron nodded again. "That's right."
"And I'll bet you were even warned about strangers. Bearing tempting offers."
Ron swallowed hard.
"A smooth talker with an envelope full of cash, perhaps. Attractive girls at bars, offering drinks. A man dressed as the Hamburglar, with soft hands, a motel room nearby and promises of secret backrubs."
Ron's eyes widened. I blew him a kiss. He tore out of there like the fucking Road Runner.
Initially I thought that I was back to square one. But as I sat there, picking at Ron's meal, I noticed that in his haste to abandon our entirely hypothetical liaison, Ron had forgotten his jacket hanging on the back of the plastic Taco Bell chair. I wondered Reaching across the table, I patted down the pockets. Ahh. Yes. Ron had left the world's most secret phone in a Taco Bell, where any technology/sexual deviancy reporter could get at it.
And get at it, I did. I can report that the Google Nexus One has a touchscreen, and a full QWERTY keypad. There are also menus with a bunch of icons, including a music player, a weather app, REDACTED and a REDACTED. And that's about all I noticed. I guess I'm not a very good cell phone reviewer. Is there a trick to it? I mean what is there to report on? "The buttons make a clicky feel." This is seriously someone's job?
I wanted to take a picture of the thing, but it was the only camera I had. Instead, here's a picture of a burrito.
"God is Dead" - Taco Bell Chihuahua (attributed).
Anyways, after about five minutes fiddling around with the thing, I got bored, because it's a fucking cell phone. I stood up and walked around the table, reaching in to slide the thing back into Ron's jacket pocket, at which point I was tackled to the floor.
"Oof," I said, unimaginatively. Before any more gems could spill from my lips, I was placed in a horribly uncomfortable armlock and dragged outside by my attacker, who appeared to possess all the qualities of a large man in the form of a large man. He was a large man, I guess is what I'm saying.
In the life of a Cracked columnist this sort of thing happens with remarkable frequency, where we're physically removed from premises by security guards, shop owners or heavy children. We in fact have a corporate policy in place to deal with such situations.
"RAPPPPPPPPPPE!" I yelled. "MANNNNNNNN RAPE! Citizens help me! It's man rape!"
Of the dozen or so people inside the restaurant at the time, not a one turned to look at me. Which shouldn't have been unexpected people screaming loudly is hardly atypical behavior in a Taco Bell, although it is more usually about intestinal distress. Thinking quickly, I used my honed comedy instincts to quickly scan my audience for their probable motivations and revised my tactics.
"FREE TACOS! THERE ARE COUPONS FOR FREE TACOS INSIDE THIS MAN'S SKIN!"
Bedlam. Just a terrifying eruption of blood and gore, as the Taco Bell patrons set upon my attacker with incredible ferocity. It was like one of the nastier bits out of Ninja Scroll. I scooped myself off the ground and cheesed it through the front doors.
Ninja Scroll: If I recall correctly, this was one of the sex scenes from the film.
Outside, the sound of helicopter blades splitting the air. I looked up to see a pale blue helicopter hovering over the parking lot. On the side the words "Gopter Beta" were emblazoned in a friendly font. Down the street, the sound of screeching tires. I turned and ran back across the parking lot, scrambling over a chain-link fence like I was auditioning for an episode of COPS.
On the other side of the fence I found myself in a rail switching yard, which in retrospect seems unusual for the suburban neighborhood I was in. Behind me, a group of atypically thick necked Google employees gathered in the Taco Bell parking lot. I began sprinting away, the helicopter keeping pace overhead. Someone on a bullhorn requested I stop, promising that I wouldn't be hurt, and that I would also be provided with something called a Wave invite. I weighed these options as I continued my flight, and decided that I would offer a hearty "Blow Me" in response a few weeks later, which was the next time I anticipated catching my breath. Behind me, a Google SUV crashed through the chain link fence and began pursuing me across the rail yard.
Ahead I saw a train approaching me, almost head on. I began running parallel to its tracks, and glanced back to judge the distance between myself and the pursuing SUV. At the last second I hurled myself across the tracks, allowing the passing train to separate me from my pursuers. I paused, panting, admiring my guile, momentarily forgetting the helicopter. The train moved by slowly over the next two seconds, when the final car, which was also the only car, a locomotive, passed by. The SUV screeched to a halt on the other side of it. "Oh motherfucker."
My remaining escape was uneventful, ending about two yards away with me wheezing on the ground while Google's security detail looked over me disappointingly. I was picked off the ground and thrown into the back of the SUV. A fresh large man rifled through my wallet, picking out my ID cards.
"This looks like it was made out of a cereal box," he said, accurately divining the origin of my Cracked Media ID. Glancing next at my driver's license, he called out to someone in the front seat. "Run 'Chris Bucholz' through the Real Google."
A few seconds later, a bulky man from the front seat called back. "Canadian. 175 pounds. Toilet trained by the age of 12. Writes for Cracked.com he scores a 5.3 on the HumorRank."
"Is that good?" I asked hopefully.
The guy in the back with me shook his head slowly. "That's a bit better than holocaust documentaries."
"OK, my old stuff, sure, but..." I was cut off with a slap to the ear.
"Do you recognize this?" he said, holding up the phone I had pulled out of Ron's jacket.
"Ouch! My fucking ear!" I replied, coolly. "And of course not. How could I recognize that if I never pulled it out of he jacket?" The SUV got really quiet all of a sudden. "Fuck."
"All right. Did you see the REDACTED," he asked.
"The REDACTED. The REDACTED that REDACTEDREDACTED Google REDACTED."
"Holy shit! You can REDACTED?"
"So you didn't see that?"
"I saw that it was gray and had a keyboard. What button do you have to press to REDACTED that shit up?"
"Holy crap. Which means you can REDACTED. Just like in the Care Bear Movie."
"That's right. Just like in the Care Bear Movie."
I sat back, breathing heavily, the implications of all this REDACTED running through my mind. And, in the not too distant future, my bowels, I realized uncomfortably.
"And I'm afraid you can't tell a person about this."
I sat up straighter, color returning to my cheeks. "You can't silence the press!"
"You write for Cracked."
"You can't silence the list-making men-children!"
The security man snorted. "What medium do you publish on again?"
"You think that just because you own the Internet and that we can't run a pamphlet without tripping over our own dicks that you can stop me from telling everyone about your REDACTED?"
I've done all I can. Get the truth out there people. Let the world know that Google is planning to REDACTED your REDACTED even if you don't want them too, and that REDACTEDREDACTEDREDACTED your parents will have to lie to their friends about what you do. Once the REDACTED is all cleaned up, we'll all look back on these days from our REDACTEDREDACTED equipped camels and weep for our lost innocence.