Public Key (xciii)

I had to make a plan, and I had to see it through. I wondered which would be harder. I wasn’t taking odds.

How do you get people to agree with you? Evidence, persuasion, character. Assuage their fears. Grip their hearts. Be honest, be clear. Let my story speak for itself.

But the world was a big place, the internet only moreso. How could I make my story heard? I needed a campaign. I needed a whole plan; I couldn’t leave anything to chance. I only had one shot at this. If I fucked it up…

I didn’t want to think about it.

What could I do? Write to the prosecutors? The politicians? The papers? Make a blog? A vlog? A flog? Should I write a letter, a story, a novel, an explanation? Should I plead or preen, beg or bluster? Had anyone ever done this before? How had they done it? Had they pulled it off? There are some things that college just doesn’t prepare you for.

The more I wrote, the more I would be communicating with the outside world. Every communication I made increased my chances of being found. Every word I gave would have to be a surgical strike. I’d just have to hope that I stayed free long enough to make a difference, to turn the tide.

The enormity of it came and sat on my shoulders. That’s not quite right: it sat in front of me and stared at me, smoked a joint and just shook its head. Great. Even my spirit animal thought I was fucked.

I heard a dull thump. I looked up instinctively, so I guessed that was where it was coming from. There it was again: a series of three dull thumps. I knew that the basement roof was solid as a vault wall. For me to hear anything going on beyond, it had to have been nice and loud.

Then there were short tappings spreading all over, covering the whole ceiling, up and down the length of the room. My bones turned to frost. There were police in the house.

I tossed my head this way and that, looking for a place to hide. There were a thousand. None looked very good. My laptop was out in the open. Likewise my bed. Likewise my guitar. There was nothing I could do to hide my presence. So I sat there, on the floor, and didn’t move.

I heard what sounded like voices. The tapping stopped, here and there, to be replaced by louder sounds. Mattresses being lifted? Furniture overturned?

Then I looked in my lap, and saw the glow of my computer. I was connected to the internet. I was picking up radio waves, broadcasting, receiving, sending God knows what. Everything conveyed information. Everything might help them find me. I did a hard shutdown, removed the battery, and pulled the plug.

I kept my hands on home row like I was praying a rosary. I stared at the ceiling, and didn’t dare breathe.

The patter above turned to slow creaking. Then there was silence, then another round of thumps. The blue-white grow lights swung gently back and forth. I felt like I was in the hold of a ship, riding through the storm that was going to sink us.

After a time of silence I heard shouting. Then lots of tapping, beating a retreat, and then silence.

I put my laptop to the floor and then crawled over to my makeshift bed. I lay myself down on the blankets, rolled over, and didn’t move for a very long time.



~ by davekov on 18 March 2011.

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