It’s in the water
Part Four July 27, 2016
Naturally healing is best if you are abnormally quick to recover but there wasn’t time. He held an ice pack on his injured thigh and swallowed some anti-inflammatories. Geeks can be as deadly as the best fighters in the world if the goal is to find damaging information or financial theft. He was twelve when he found that out.
Technology had surpassed its need to improve for the common person. Where did the big production companies get their money if they weren’t selling new technology? They stocked the refurbishing stores that popped up everywhere. Norm didn’t have access to the Internet at home so he and Tabby studied what they could off of Tabby’s old Blackberry Z3 at lunch-time.
Norm also used the Z3 to see how old you had to be to get a job. His mother still worked at the Cleaner’s on Bent Street but her health was deteriorating. She wheezed, took a puff of her used cigarette, and wheezed again. He knew soon he might be the only provider. You had to be fourteen to get a Social Insurance Number so you could get a job. He couldn’t legally work yet but he went into Joe’s Entertainment and Refurbishing store with a plan.
He walked past the monitors and TV’s and noticed they were all in inches. At the back of the store, behind the counter where Joe stood were numerous types of car stereos from DVD to HDI. Norm found it interesting that interspersed between the TV’s at the back were some old electric pianos and brass instruments. He also noticed up-to-date electronic books and magazines.
Joe had a circlet of black hair and large hands compared to his average height. He wore a blue striped white dress shirt, black leather belt, and beige cargo pants. “I need a job,” Norm blurted out. “I’m not fourteen but if you pay me under the table I’ll repair anything you bring in. Ask me anything.”
So Joe did and Norm was able to answer almost everything. “We’ll try it out but I can’t pay you much.”
“Okay,” Norm replied. He took another glance at the books and magazines. “Do I get a discount if I buy something in the store?”
“After a month,” Joe said.
A month later he was reading up on the latest software programming and robotics.
“You should hack into Helio Technologies!” Tabby challenged him two months later.
“I could,” Norm replied, “I saw Joe punch in his WiFi code when he wasn’t looking. But I don’t want him to get into trouble if they trace it.”
“What about using Kyle or one of his buddies’ tablets?”
“That would be stealing.”
“Borrowing,” Tabby corrected.
The idea thrilled Norm. During a Friday History class he shared with Kyle he slipped the phone off Kyle’s desk and into a binder he was carrying so fast it wasn’t until the end of the class that Kyle realized it was missing.
After school he worked at Joe’s while going over all the pros and cons of breaking into Helio Technology’s computer software.
He went to Stan’s Park, a small park near Joe’s store, with benches and picnic tables around a pond full of Canada Geese. It took him two hours to get through the firewalls. When he had access he went into a menu area and started looking at the technology. He saw schematics for altering cars and something about body armour. He clicked on the body armour and the tablet went blank.
Monday he slipped the tablet out of his binder onto Kyle’s desk. On that Thursday as he worked in the backroom of Joe’s on a 60” 3-D Sony TV he heard Joe call him to the front counter. “This is Ms. Abigail Grady.”
A short, buxom woman with smooth dark skin and wide hips, wearing flat white pump shoes stood at the desk. The tresses of her long blonde hair and burgundy eyes went well with the form fitting black Vfemage wiggle dress she wore. She wrote something down on a pad. “This is my licence’s plate number and you have my name,” she said in a serious tone that didn’t fit well with her slight lisp.
“Your mother said I would find you here young man,” she said to Norm. She slipped on a pair of mirror sunglasses. “We’re going for a little ride.” She turned to Joe, “For about an hour.”
He followed her to a cherry red Audi R8. “Climb in,” she said.
His eyes wandered over the stone grey dashboard. He could understand everything but a button with Esc written in the centre and one that said Turb.
“Never been in a sports car,” Ms. Grady asked lisping the S’s?
He glanced around, “Never been in a car before,” he replied in a hushed voice.
“Your apartment reeks of smoke,” she said, “doesn’t that bother you?”
“Not so far but I think it hurts my mom.”
She pulled into Carnival Park’s parking lot. He saw the high chain-link fence with the barb-wired tops that surrounded the Ferris wheel and other rides.
“I’ll be right back,” she said.
He watched her go to the trunk and take something out. Back inside the car she passed him a long thin box. It felt light for its size. “May I have that back.” Norm passed it to her. He watched as she took out some kind of handheld scanner with a black handle and about the size of a shaver. “I work for Helio Technologies,” she said looking at a screen on the top of the scanner. “We have a match.”
“Oh,” was all he could say preparing to open the door and run.
“First we went to Kyle Whittleway’s house but he didn’t seem the sort who could break into a business’s secure cloud site. We asked at your junior high school and they gave us two names. Your house doesn’t have a phone but Habby Brook’s does. But the fingerprints we took off Kyle’s tablet didn’t match Habby’s so that leaves you.” She turned the ignition on and without another word drove him back to Joe’s store.
As he started to get out, she said, “We will be watching you Norm Nethers. Be good and don’t try to break into Helio Technologies again. What you do now will help determine if your future is bright or dismal.” He watched her speed off.