“I am sure I’ll get it done!”

For two weeks, Dave tried with much difficulty to learn how to use a computer. When he was a detective, he often reasoned out that other people were tasked to do so for a living but never him. That conviction has changed.

Fortunately, he had Brownie, Randy and Teddy as tutors. They took turns at giving him a crash course, taxing the limits of their patience while he enjoyed every minute of it.

“My son could create an email account without assistance,” Brownie proudly said. “He is just five.”

“If you’re tired,” Dave retorted. “Go home. Send him over instead.”

When it was Randy’s turn, he could have suffered a heart attack because of Dave’s inability to master the log on and off procedures. It was a hit and miss routine, more on the miss that made Randy huffed with irritation.

“Write the passwords on a paper!” he insisted. “If not, you are liable to forget them.”

“I am not too old, you know!” Dave pointed out. “I could recite to you the entire police regulations without breaking a sweat.”

“I am sure you can,” Randy let out a deep breath. “Listen! Enter a correct password and you’re okay. Otherwise, you will be entangled to several queries that you don’t really need. You don’t want to waste time, do you?”

“My passwords are easy,” Dave intimated.”Even you can memorize them.”

“That’s the problem,” Randy looked exasperated. “I should not be aware of them in the first place. If I am a hacker, I could invade your accounts.”

“That’s against the law!”

“Precisely!” his former subordinate said. “That’s what we want to prevent.”

If the other two used kids’ gloves, Teddy kept Dave on a tighter leash. Right from the start, he was strict.

“Sir,” he began politely. “I am the boss and you do what I tell you.”

Dave tried a different tact as he listened to Teddy’s instructions.He was satisfied with his progress but the air between them was too formal.

“There’s a beer on the fridge,” he offered, more of a bribe, really.

“It can wait until I say so.”

– o –

“You think you can handle it alone, sir?” Brownie asked, glancing at the hard drive.

“We can assist you,” Randy said. “I’ll file a leave of absence if you want my help.”

“I’m on leave,” Teddy revealed. “I can stay and give you a hand.”

“I’m already grateful for your weeks of sacrifice,” Dave laughed. “This is a personal thing.”

Each holding a small glass with whiskey, the trio raised a toast to his honor.

“Besides,” he added after drinking his shot, “I have someone around to guide me.”

Brownie felt a presence near him that he looked behind instantly. Randy and Teddy let out brave smiles, not reacting to their former superior’s reference to something unnatural.

“Oh, don’t you worry,” Dave quipped, watching them squirm a bit. “She won’t bite.”

Hope heard it clearly. If she has teeth, she would have bitten Dave instead for even insinuating she was some sort of a vampire.

– o –

With Hope’s guidance, Dave sent a prepared message from Emil’s fictitious email accounts to complainants’ web addresses, informing them that he (Emil) would do his best to rectify his misdeeds and repair the harm he caused them. The written apology was published to all the sites he frequented.

Dave also took out from sale all of Emil’s published books under false pseudonyms. Riddled with ‘borrowed’ and stolen content, their removal from circulation was a must. It was the genuine justice original writers sought.

Lastly, he cleaned Emil’s financial accounts and donated everything to charity.

“I think that’s about it!” he concluded after a week of intense surfing. “Finished!”

Dave turned off the computer.

Back at his writing desk, he took out a fresh writing pad. Emil’s story and his version would be combined.

“How should I begin it?” he asked aloud, waiting for inspiration to come.

Hope whispered while he wrote.

“The bloodied tang of the kitchen knife was short.”

T H E   E N D



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