Thursday, November 14, 2019

Local Playwright Arrested on Opening Night

Dale Basin Times-Dispatch  (XP Wire Services) - Chambless, CA, Thursday 14, 2019

Local area playwright Cefin Tarsus was arrested by San Bernardino Sheriff's Thursday evening on opening night of his play "Over Herd: The Bartender's Trap" The play was being staged at the Salt Cedar Saloon where Tarsus is a bartender and event planner. Deputies declined to enumerate the charges but indicated they involved multiple violations of privacy, unauthorized used of personal data and aggravated identity theft.

Bar regular Red Farnham witnessed the arrest as startled actors, patrons and employees hastily retreated to the bar as the deputies left with Tarsus. "He'd been working really hard on this piece. Ever since those Marines from the base gave him the idea, it's been his sole outside project. The guy works his fingers to the bone at the bar and gets up early to pound out his plays." 

Asked about the Marines, Farnham added "these two jarheads who work on swarm robotics lent Cefin some machine learning software he needed for speech analytics. Cefin has been processing huge data sets of audio, parsing linguistic blocks, tuning models, filtering and training data for deep learning."

Recently retired as a registered ethicist for San Bernardino County, Farnham enjoys afternoons at the saloon where discussions between locals and base personnel frequently diverge into advanced subjects like neurotechnologies, artificial intelligence and Red's own 'Farnham Equation,' an updating of the famous Drake Equation about the density of intelligent life in the universe.

One saloon regular who requested his name not be used said Cefin would pause to scribble in notebooks and scratch pads throughout his bartender shifts but abruptly abandoned the practice after installing a series of small ceiling devices he claimed were remote controlled air fresheners. "He seemed to lose interest in some conversations but would suddenly interject unusual and provocative subjects and personal stories that we'd never heard before."

While Sheriff's Deputies declined discussing charges, saloon owner Larry Sable who arrived after the arrest volunteered his thoughts. "Cefin is a smart guy but works too much. Too much on his own stuff that is! Once he got all digital and mixed up with smart ass Marines he'd come in for his shifts all bleary eyed and distant."

"Started telling me how he could peer into things, know ahead of time what's going to be said. Started finishing people's sentences for them. Not great for business! Might work for a Tarsus play but obviously not tonight!" 

The Salt Cedar Saloon was briefly shuttered for a few days last Spring when it was learned that the recently installed Pabst Blue Ribbon beer sign contained facial recognition software that collected data over an unencrypted wireless link. Owners promptly apologized and the beer distributor claimed no knowledge about the device, its purpose or the fate of the visual data collected.


NOTES: Transataumancy is divination by interpreting something seen or heard accidentally or unexpectedly, such as snatches of speech and conversations while walking through a crowd.

This 'news article' was prepared to illustrate a scenario intended for a local bartender who is also an event planner playwright.