Saturday, 23 March 2013

SILHOUETTES - Twenty-second instalment

SILHOUETTES - Twenty-second instalment - Chapter thirty-nine. For more information on this novel, click Here.

THIRTY-NINE

Jo was naked lying balanced with her back across the top of a large inflatable exercise ball. She had her arms reached out behind her and on the floor to steady herself while she straightened and raised each leg in turn. As the living room was the largest room in the house, whenever the boys were all out, this was where her exercise regime took place. Far better than trying to do stilted aerobics in a room the size of a large microwave oven.

She didn't panic when she heard the front door open and the sound of Bruno padding about. She did panic though when the door to the room opened and Bruno leapt in excitedly, and then behind the dog came Dave Stuart. As she tried to cover herself, she slid off the ball onto her ass. She felt her face burn and wondered if it was the same colour as the red that inflamed his as he stood open eyed, open mouthed, staring and blushing over her. Then, came in Debbie.
She looked at Jo, lying naked on the floor, Bruno trying to lick at her face, her trying to cover her boobs and mound and fend off the dog at the same time, and Dave just standing taking in all he could.

'Ok,' Debbie said, 'sorry Jo!', and then she grabbed at Dave and led him through to the kitchen. On the kitchen table were two laptops, some dirty plates, and he noticed the sink was also filled with dishes, the dog's food and water bowls were in a corner. Through the window he could see a back yard with a washing line and an assortment of t-shirts and jeans hanging to dry. He took all this in, but he only had that view of Jo naked in his head.

'Get dressed, Jo!' she cried into the living room, then, 'Bruno, here boy.'

In the kitchen she filled the kettle and plugged it in, got three clean mugs out a cupboard and put spoonfuls of coffee and sugar in each, and finding no fresh milk dug out some emergency small tubs they all had a habit of pinching from station cafes or anywhere else they were usually situated in trays begging to be pocketed.

Dave sat at the kitchen table, still dumbstruck.

'So, er,' she said, 'got a bit of an eyeful there...'

'Hm, I was trying not to look, I hardly noticed.'

'It fucking took you long enough not to notice,' came a cry from the other room.

'Don't worry,' said Debbie, looking at the aghast look on Dave. 'She'll get over it, probably pretty quickly.'

'Er,' said Dave, 'fit though.'

Debbie looked at him to see if he was joking, but he seemed serious.

'As I said, don't worry, Jo's always the first one to flash her tits at the lads after a few drinks.'

'I heard that,' said Jo, entering the kitchen, clothed this time in denim shorts and an over large t-shirt. 'And it's a damn lie,' and she gave Debbie a hard stare that lasted all of a few seconds. 'Debbie's the flasher,' she said to Dave, and smiling now, 'and you had better remove from your memory any sight of me and my cellulite.'

'He was just saying what a nice pair you had,' smirked Debbie.

Jo looked horrified.

'Look, eh,' Dave squirmed, 'I'm sorry if I embarrassed you,' he said.

'The laptops,' cried Debbie. 'Nice pair of laptops, it's a joke!'

Dave looked puzzled, Jo mystified.

'Anyway,' said Debbie, putting a mug of coffee down in front of Dave and one at the chair Jo was standing behind. 'Dave, who is an IT expert, is going to see if he can sort out our hacking problem.'

Jo sat down at the table, slid over one of the laptops and powered it up. She was all efficiency now, and Dave wondered if this was an attempt to recover from the embarrassment of being caught naked. She was gorgeous though, and that sight would be with him for a good long time.

'Did you explain the problem?' she asked Debbie.

'Thought I'd leave the nitty-gritty stuff to you.'

'Ok,' she looked at Dave, 'come here,' and she pointed to the chair next to her. He moved round and watched her key away at the computer.

'This is an example of an article I put up last week,' she clicked on a link and a page of text opened up.

'As you can see, it is pretty basic political prose, but the idea behind the piece is to promote the benefits of Scottish Independence to single parents, a group in UK society that has been demonised and made out to be scroungers and benefit fraudsters, when in reality the facts show a different story.'

'You don't have to bore him with all the details,' said Debbie, 'show him the altered post.'

Jo scowled at Debbie, 'I was just getting to that.'

'What's this?' asked Dave. When Jo had slid the laptop over to her, a cardboard folder hidden underneath was revealed, a few pages from the folder had inadvertently been shuffled enough from the cover for Dave to see the picture. It was the picture of the man who was tailing him, and the picture of the mugger on the news item of the previous night, the one who had assaulted Debbie in his haste to escape. It was the face of a man he had met in a bar after a stand-up concert a few weeks ago, and due to his being an annoying bastard, and quite the gullible type, Dave had jokingly informed him he was an alien, here as a scout to gauge the reaction of the human race for a possible intergalactic visit.

'Oh, that's for later,' said Jo, 'did you finish it, Debs?'

'Just about,' said Debbie. She had begun it shortly after Ben left this morning, printing off the picture from a screen capture taken off the TV news web cast.

'We're going to do our crime watch bit and post an article along with the picture in case any followers of the blogs know him.' Jo pushed the paper back in the folder and set it tidy in the middle of the table.

'This is the altered text,' she opened a file, and positioned the web page and the text file side by side on the screen for easy comparison.

'As you can see, key words have been changed. Names of people and political parties have been misrepresented. The whole article is meaningless and junk, and anyone happening to come across it, would think it had been written by an uneducated ten year old.'

'Who has admin access?' asked Dave.

'Only me and Debs, no one else, and we change the password every week.'

'Can I?' Dave gestured at the laptop. Jo slid it over to him.

Dave removed a USB memory stick from his pocket, plugged it into a port on the side of the computer, the screen went black for a second, then everything returned as before but for a new menu bar at the bottom of the screen. Dave clicked an option from the menu, typed a few commands in to a pop up box, and pressed return. A swivelling hourglass indicated something was happening. The screen went blank again briefly, then a traffic light icon blazed across the screen flashing the green light, stating 'Entry Acquired,' underneath, and disappeared. The admin menu for the blog was now across the top of the screen as if Jo or Debbie had logged in. He had control of the blog they were viewing now, and by a click on the menu, could switch to all of the other blogs Jo ran.

'How did you...'

'Ah,' said Dave, 'a little something of my own.' He saw Jo was ready to ask more. 'Can't say more than that,' he said emphatically. 'Don't ask.'

He clicked around the admin options, then pointed out a list of who had admin rights, both Jo and Debbie were listed, but below them was another name, Unionist845.

'What the fuck,' said Jo.

'Not an authorised admin?' asked Dave.

'No, definitely not.'

Dave clicked a few more options on the USB menu at the bottom of the screen, some fast scrolling data whizzed down a text box and disappeared, too quickly to read. A second later a summary appeared. Dave pointed and looked a bit smug.

The data meant nothing to either Jo or Debbie.

Dave explained. 'This person hacked in a few days ago, that date,' he pointed at the relevant information, 'these are the times they logged in and out, and this is the IP address, the URL, they log in from.' They both looked mystified, he explained, 'the URL, uniform resource locator, or IP address, is the point of access, or the address of the access. For example, everyone on the internet has an IP address, and every website has an IP address. Connecting one to the other in the internet is like walking from A to B, the connection being the map route that can be traced back to the source point...' he wasn't making much headway by the confused looks he was getting.

It was all meaningless to both Jo and Debbie. 'Can you stop them?' asked Jo. 'Can you trace who it is?'

'Stopping's easy,' said Dave. He clicked a few more options from the USB menu. 'Ok, that's them gone for good, that IP address is blocked forever, and I've added a small application that means any one tries to gain access from that IP address again, you will get an email. Without replying to that email granting permission, no access rights will be possible.'

'Fantastic,' said Jo, impressed.

Dave closed down the USB menu and removed the stick from the side of the laptop. 'Of course, there are other ways to gain access, so don't get too complacent.'

He tilted the laptop, peered underneath, and laughed.

'Whose password is Deb123Deb?'

Debbie blushed.

Before Jo could utter a word, he held up his hand to still her. 'There are two passwords under there,' he said, 'change them ASAP.'

He clicked open a blank web page and typed in the address bar the website of an online computer retailer, clicked a few pages on the website and came to a listing for a USB memory stick similar to the one he had used. It was priced at £5 including delivery.

'Order two of these, or more if you want to give access to anyone else. Once you get them I'll kit them out so you'll never need another password again. They have a fingerprint scanner built in, that will be the only way to access the site once I've set them up.'

'Brilliant,' said Debbie.

Jo left and came back a minute later with a credit card in hand, she went through the routine of ordering three, one each for her and Debbie, and another to be stored away in the safe in her room as a back up.

Debbie left with a basket to collect the washing from the line in the yard, expected to be dry by now.

Dave stood up to leave also. He looked at Jo a little awkwardly. She returned his gaze. There was awkwardness there, a bit, but something else too, he smiled.

'It's true,' he said.

'What? asked Jo.

'You do have a lovely pair,' he smiled again, 'honest.'

She mocked reaching over to slap him, laughing herself now.

'Got to go, call me when you get the USB's,' he said.

She was still smiling as he walked out the door. Bruno sat in the corner dreamily looking up at her.

Next instalment coming soon...

To read this novel from the start go here.

Copyright © Stevie Mach 2013 All rights reserved



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