This one, unfortunately, requires some history. When I first started writing and posting my stories, the storiesonline site (run by Lazeez) had a different rating system than it does today. Readers could give a story a rating between 4 and 10 and, after 10 votes, the average score would be displayed. The top stories on the site held ratings above 9.6. Stories above 9.7 were extremely rare.

Part of this rarity was a phenomena where anonymous readers would slam stories in order to reduce their rank. It was common for a highly rated story to suddenly get a bunch of 4’s, knocking it out of the top 20. It was petty and silly, but a fact of life.

The other phenomena that several of us authors observed was that the codes seemed to affect the story as much as the quality. Mr. Freeze made the comment at the beginning of the story in an online discussion group, and the quirky idea for this story showed up in my brain. I released it to storiesonline in 2004. In classic ironic fashion, it quickly became my most downloaded single chapter story. Whether that’s the humor or the codes, I’ll never know.

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