If you are looking for a new start-up to invest in, look no further than James Wilson’s Whack-a-Thug, which already is all the rage at the entrance to gated homes in St. Tropez, Palm Beach and Palm Springs. As Wilson has just bought an oceanfront mansion in Southampton, I thought it appropriate to interview him there. We talked in his library.
“What exactly is Whack-a-Thug?” I asked.
“When you are invited to a gated home,” he said, “you turn into the driveway and stop your car facing the gate, roll down your window and enter in a code to get the gate to open.”
“Of course,” I said, “I did that here.”
“The idea, of course, is to keep control of who is allowed to enter your property. The truth, though, is if some unwanted person were to try punching in random combinations long enough, they might come upon the code and let themselves in.”
“I suppose that could happen.”
“It happens a lot. More than you might think. And that is what has made Whack-a-Thug such a success. Whack-a-Thug adds an extra level of security. Did you notice a metal box just next to where you punch in the code?”
“I did. It seemed to be some sort of add-on.”
“That’s Whack-a-Thug. There’s a metal door on it where it faces the side of your car. If you try the code and get it wrong three times in a row, the door opens and a boxing glove on a stick pops out and punches you right in the nose. You go away.”
“How does it know how to aim the punch?”
“We know right where the perp is. He’s got the driver’s side window down, his arm sticks out and so does his head, so he can read the small numbers on the keypad. Laser beams locate the nose.”
“I guess I got lucky.”
“How is that?”
“Just now entering the code I got it wrong the first two times, but only got it the third time.”
“I told you the code on the phone when you were leaving your house.”
“I wrote it down wrong. I thought the fourth number was a 7. When I tried it two times I realized it might be a 9. And it was.”
“Well, we have two models, one fancier than the other. One is called ‘Whack-a-Thug Regular,’ which is what I have here. The other is ‘Whack-a-Thug Deluxe.’”
“How much do each of them cost?”
“If you have to ask, you can’t afford it. Whack-a-Thug is not cheap.”
“Whack-a-Thug Deluxe has three settings. You get a remote, which you keep with you to change the settings from as far away as 200 yards. The settings are, in addition to ‘boxing glove,’ ‘delay’ and ‘disable.’
“The boxing glove setting you know. The delay setting causes the device to fire sticky green sludge across your windshield after the third miss. You won’t be going anywhere until you scrape it off. It’s harmless and can easily be removed with an ice scraper. Anyway, the perp thinks he’s also being seen on a video monitor, and since he has to get out of the car to scrape, he won’t be back.”
“It is. Disable is even more effective. If you get the code wrong three times with the disable setting on, a box pops open 1 foot off the ground and a small steel dagger pops out and punches a hole in your left front car tire, retracts, and you’re stuck with a flat tire. It also automatically calls the police.”
“When bad people learn you have Whack-a-Thug, you won’t ever be bothered again. That’s our pledge.”
We talked some more, and he told me he is talking about installing a variation of Whack-a-Thug with the mayors of the Hamptons, who are reportedly planning some sort of pay parking in all the parking spaces in Southampton and East Hampton. It would activate if you don’t pay.
“It would have to be modified,” Wilson told me. “But we could do it.”
And with that, I thanked him for the interview and started to leave.
“When you approach the gate,” he told me, “there’s a special radio signal that automatically opens the gate to let you out, just like anywhere else. But be quick. If you don’t leave within 8 seconds, a grappling net is fired from a cannon in the top of a nearby tree. It wraps itself around your car and lifts it up a few feet. If that happens, just give me a call from your cell phone.”
Okay, I said. And so I left, scooting through the open gate briskly with no problem.