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I'm amazed at the accomplishments of PLA. Reading or hearing about different entities and organizations getting exploited with a hilarious twist is my idea of the perfect read.” -beerfuck

It was a late summer night, sometime in the mid 1990s. Dressed in dark clothes, backpack slung over my shoulder, I snuck out the window of my bedroom. From my back yard I headed across town to my favorite rooftop, the high one with easy access to a building's worth of telephone lines belonging to businesses which had closed and emptied for the day. There was a convenient fire escape reaching from the ground straight up to the roof, and no nosy neighbors anywhere within view. I reached the roof, hooked my cheap plastic phone up by starlight, and dialed a string of digits I knew by heart.

The phone ringing soothed me until it ended in a clumsy analog clatter. A gruff voice I'd come to know well mumbled a sleepy, “Hello?”

Cactus?” I responded cheerily, in a voice the called party had grown to know equally well. Their resulting string of swear words was awesome.

I'd first come across the Phone Losers of America in text files on BBSes a year or so earlier. In the mid '90s, the BBS scene was still desperately trying to be all cool and underground and exclusive. Countless text files which mostly looked and sounded alike, wrapped what actual information they had in an air of forced mystery, all “we are super-elite and we grace you with this meager info because we are so much smarter and cooler than you.”

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