Nico Tini, Private Eye (Jennifer Semple Siegel)
Nico Tini, a hard-assed, chain-smoking private dick, specialized in tracking down missing and stolen domain names.
Back in 2003, pursuing a hot tip on the purloined ZurplePurpleBurkleSpot[dot]cm* (which, back then, existed as a ghost country-code registry without content, but still considered MIA by the great Kevin Ham**), Tini went into a Florida bar and fired up an unfiltered Camel.
“Hey, Bub, snuff the cancer stick,” said the scarred, tough-as-nails bartender behind the black oak bar. He pointed at the dreaded “No Smoking” sign.
“Oh, carp. WTF is the world coming to when ya can’t even smoke in a bar. A BAR, for godsake!”
The bartender shrugged. “Yeah, it sucks, but what can ya do? If I let you light up, it’ll cost me 2,000 big ones.”
Nico Tini shook his head and stuck the unlit cig in his mouth and chewed on the end. “Whatta world we live in...”
“All’s not lost, though. I got something right up ya alley,” the bartend said. “Let me take care of ya!” He slid into the backroom.
An awful grinding noise, like bones splintering in a wood chipper (Case #777), hit Tini’s ears like a bomb.
“Jesus H., wha‘da hell?”
Mr. Bartoonie (that was the name on his tag, anyway) returned with a tall frozen concoction that looked suspiciously like a toxic frozen daiquiri – green and luminescent like nuclear waste or, worse yet, the evil Mr Jekyll...
“AWWWWW!!! Dat’s a lady drink.”
“Looks can be deceivin’. This’s the house specialty, our frozen coffin nail lime rickey (hold the bananas). There’s more nicotine in this frozen froth than six packs of Camels.” Mr. Bartoonie pushed the drink toward the now-shaking Nico Tini.
Tini gulped down the coffin-nail lime rickey (definitely without bananas) and developed serious brain freeze.
“God, dat was deliciously toxic,” Tini said with a smile before passing out.
* * * * *
When Nico Tini woke up, he was lying face up in a back alley, the Florida sun bearing down on him like a big hairy gorilla, his head pounding and breath so foul that the feral cats and rats had scattered into a nearby Dumpster.
“Man, dat was some super s**t!!!!”
Then he saw the note pinned to his chest. “Wha’s ‘dis???”
He pulled the note from his chest and unfolded it. In big red block letters:
MR NICOTINI.......HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.........
I’M HOLDING ZURPLEPURPLEBURKLESPOT [DOT] CM HOSTAGE AND IF YOU DON’T PAY ME 1,000,000 BIG ONES IN UNMARKED BILLS, I’ll KILL YOUR PRECIOUS DOMAIN.
(NOT MY REAL NAME AND DON’T EVEN THINK OF CHECKING WHOIS ‘CUZ IT'S PROXY, BABY, PROXY)
“Aw, Snap,” said Tini. “Another one bites the dust.” He tore the note into pieces, tossed the pieces into the wind, arose as if returning from the dead, and went his merry way.
To this day, the fate of ZurplePurpleBurkleSpot [DOT] cm is uncertain.
Rumor has it that Kevin Ham found it DOA, murdered in cold blood with the rest of the .cm domains, most without content, floating around in cyberspace.
It seems Mr. Bartoonie was a super-duper triple agent, now hiding out in the Cayman Islands with FS***, counting his dough and sipping lime rickeys with bananas (hold the nicotine).
Notes for the Non-domainer Community:
*.cm is the domain country code for Cameroon. At one time, it was being touted as a solid alternative to the .com space, but high registration fees and (shock!) corruption put the screws to that plan.
**Kevin Ham is one of the earliest, richest, and most famous domain name investors. Unless you’re in the biz, you probably have never heard of him because he flies under the radar. Hell, we rarely hear about him anymore.
***FS is Frank Schilling, a domain investor who lives and works in the Cayman Islands. FS, founder of Name Administration and Uniregistry (a domain-name registrar), is more visible than Kevin Ham, at least in the business digital space, and can often be sighted at domain conferences.