In Bloody Words: The Anthology
Usually my mail isn’t worth the cost of stamps. But on this crappy November afternoon I spy a serious looking envelope jammed in with the usual flyers for massage parlors, adult videos and whatever else Canada Post is paid to deliver.
I notice the name on the return address immediately. R. MacFarlane. My ‘one and only brother’ as he invariably spits out with disgust. We haven’t talked, hell, we haven’t even looked at each other, since we sat on either side of a hospital bed watching the old man die, almost five years ago to the day.
Intrigued to know what has finally forced him to cross the great divide of Yonge Street, I start to rip open the envelope, then stop. It isn’t addressed to me, Paddy MacFarlane, but to that creep MacFadden who lives in a slum landowner special around the corner. With a similar name, the same street number and practically the same street name, the mailman is forever getting us confused. Hell, he probably thinks the peeling paint on my house can’t belong to anything but another Cabbage-town flop house.
Glancing at the white envelope, I figure it’s just as well it isn’t for me. I don’t want to re-slit the scar tissue. I toss it into the garbage and climb back upstairs to my work, if you can call it that. More like break and entry.
I’m a computer hacker turned sleuth, one of the best in the business. Although I’ve been legit for the last couple of years, I still can’t believe it’s honest work. Imagine actually getting paid, big bucks too, to break into other people’s computers, something I’ve been doing for highs since I pounded on my first keyboard. Except now companies actually invite me to penetrate their networks, if I can.
They figure with the bundle they’ve spent on security systems their networks and databases are completely protected against hackers. They hire me to double check. Except I always find a back door to sneak through. Most of the time I tell them how I got in so they can lock it. Sometimes I don’t.
Today’s job is a brokerage, a large discount house on Bay Street. I plug in the dial-up numbers for the modems the company knows about. I add the rest of their phone directory to find the illegal modems they don’t know about. Then I hit the enter key and let the war-dialer do the rest.
Since this will take some time and I don’t like to hear the angry voices of the legit numbers, I hump back downstairs to grab another Coke. One of the few things that keeps me going. That and Kraft Dinner.
Only meal I knew how to make when Mom died twenty years ago. Just kept on cooking it. Dad was into making money, not feeding his two sons. And Robbie or Robert, as my brother insists on being called, was only six at the time. So the cooking was left to me.
Sure the kid complained a lot, but hell, Kraft Dinner didn’t do him any harm. Grew bigger than me. And richer too. He got the old man’s money. While I got stuck with Granny’s old house, which is better I suppose than no roof over my head.
But, speaking of Robbie, why in hell would he be writing this dickhead MacFadden?...
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