My dear readers, if there’s anything you’ve learned about InCity Times these past seven-plus years, is that we are ambitious – and a wee-bit technophobic, which makes for really interesting newspapering. Yes, yes, we have heard it all before: Rose, all the newspapers have websites!; Rose, ICT needs to be in cyberspace; Rose, think how great this will be for your writers and advertisers! So for four or so years, we’ve been on the fence about an ICT website – vascilating like crazy! To build an InCity Times website – or not to build an InCity Times website? That was the question!
So, it should come as no surprise to regular readers of this column, readers who have followed the gonzo misadventures of moi and my feisty rag, that ICTimes’ first serious foray into website building should culminate in me being followed by two police cruisers, courtesy of Worcester Police Officer Charlie Brace (in his cruiser) and his partner in his (sans blaring sirens) to a hole-in-the-wall used Hyundai car lot/garage on 444 Harding St., Island Auto, in Green Island – straight to ICT’s supposed web guru “Mack” Fairbanks, who had decided to go postal on us and keep (when asked to surrender) 3 CDs, each containing a complete issue of InCity Times, a used outdoor plastic news box that had been donated to InCity Times, a box from Verizon (with my home address on it) containing MY modem Verizon mailed to me so I could have freakin’ Internet hookup in my office (which I am paying for!) and (somewhere in cyberspace) the InCity Times official logo, seen on the cover of this newspaper.
You see, Mack had run amok with my website. My newspaper. My life, sort of!
But worst of all he had hijacked the InCity Times website he had gifted InCity Times! He would not give us back the logo – but would not put naything on our website! “Mack,” who doesn’t give out his first name – and whom I fear because he’s huge and has had his firearms license pulled AND has been chased by the government for years because he owes $40,000 in back taxes – had told me he wanted to see ICT thrive and that he was having his friend Donal build me a website as a gift.
The gift that keeps on giving?
A few months ago, Mack said his pal Donal McDonnell of Shrewsbury asked him: what do you want Mack (aka a favor for a pal)? Mack said: I want you to build a website for my pal Rose. And Donal began to build a website for ICT for free, as a kind of gift to Mack. Just our logo and some white space. But it all went nutso! I had no control of my website! Mack owned the domain name. Donal and Mack said I couldn’t put on any InCity Times ads for the first six months. They also would not give me access to my website. I did not know how to go on my own website! Even when I begged to get on – and take something off or put a story on. Mack just dangled the website in front of me and watched me squirm?
Why did he act so weird? Like he had fun watching me squirm? Like he got some kick out of having some control over me? The way some emotionally abusive person relishes some stupid power trip he concocts for his ego.
I will not be abused – emotionally or otherwise.
So I told Mack and Donal through e-mails and my lawyer to shut down the InCity Times website – it was going to be a no-go. Thanks, but no thanks, for the “gift.” And I told them to cease and desist from using the InCity Times logo. Why have a website if your web gurus refuse to post a freakin’ news story (in this case, the John Lebeaux political cover story, ICT, Volume 8, issue)?
A few days earlier, there I was – in Mack’s garage, Island Auto – telling the Big Mack to put the political story on the ICT website, put it on, put it on, put it on! because I got a tip that some one was stealing the most recent ICT issue – the LeBeaux running for state senate issue – off the stands (political operatives do this alot, when the opposing candidate is featured in free papers). Mack just refused – lumbered to the back of his garage, like a polar bear in search of an ever shrinking ice floe.
And then the horrible email, he sent to me, which began:
“Here is my promise to you:
I want $2500 for the web site in 30 days or less or I will gift it to Diane W. or “I will bring it up live myself and you will see the true power of the internet”.
Those radio head guys trash talk about you will be like a bible study class. I still have a copy of the letter. —————
I want the $800 personal loan from IAS that I gave you in 7 days or less, or well see who gets those 3 disks. —————
I know the real facts about you “Your habits, Your haunts and Your demons” and will “Leak it” everything upon any mention of me or my business verbally or in print, to Diane W. or anyone else who is interested.…”
– Mack Fairbanks
So why did Mack turn on me? Turn on ICT? Christmas time, he gave me two computers he rescued from the dump and rebuilt. He gave me Kansas and Aimee Mann music CDS, towels, old pictures in frames, even a cell phone. He loaned me $800, for cripes sakes! He told me about his … life. He seemed bored with selling used Hyundais and his life with his wife. InCity Times/Rose was just the ticket for Mack – a high energy package, totally different from anything he had experienced. Gonzo community newspapering! With a zippy take on life! Websites, tv, radio! So … not plastic, so not used Hyundais! So on the ICT roller coaster Mack went. And NO! We did not have sex! But I do believe Mack was fond of the ICT/me package.
BUT: Why the hell couldn’t this guy post a freakin’ story on my website? Or take one off? Or give me access to my own website? Why did he buy the domain? Or send me an email telling me he was in control … ? It’s only a news-rag, Mack! Go, little newspaper, go!
So I choose to remember the good things:
Mack giving me the red devil styro-foam ball to put on my car antenna. Mack saying, here, Rose, let me help you work with the carpenter who is fixing your apartment. Here, Rose, let me try to find you a condo and help you pay for it, if you can’t make the payments.
So what the f*** happened?
WHAT THE F*** HAPPENED?
Because there I was in the heart of Green Island, at Mack’s garage, Island Auto Sales, on 444 Harding Street, on a sunny October day (October 4, 2008) with POLICE BACK UP, demanding Mack give me back 3 lousy InCity Times CDs, each CD containing a complete issue of InCity Times, a used newsbox and a lousy Internet modem. And why did he keep the InCity Times website alive … and empty?! And then threaten to sell it? With our official logo? NOTE to readers: What you see is not the ICT website – it is a the ICT website hijacked by Donal and Mack. The content on it is not by me, any of ICT’s contributing writers, artists, etc. Let’s hope Mack and Donal do not pull any stupid games ….
A bizarro image emblazoned on my brain: There is Mack, garage doors down at Island Auto, hiding from the Police and Rose. There is Mack peeking out the little curtains that cover the little window in his garage doors. And there is Mack videotaping Police Officer Charlie Brace and me! And there is Rose smack dab in the middle of Worcester’s own little “Dog Day Afternoon”!
ATTICA! ATTICA! ATTICA! ATTICA!
But instead of the young and beautiful Al Pacino barricaded in the bank and ultimately fighting for his lover’s sex change operation. We have the strange and not-so-beautiful Mack Fairbanks, barricaded in his freakin’ Hyundai garage – demanding $2,500 for the ICT web domain and the computers back and … holding my dream hostage.
Just to be an asshole.
Maybe because he cared for me …
Green Island Grrrl