WWIV Book 1

FOUR WWIV Books are now available on Amazon.
Click here for more information.

Friday, February 24, 2017

"Glitched" - Chapters 9 & 10

Click on the chapter numbers below to read prior publishings:

1&2  3&4  5&6  7&8

Chapter 9

I was out of breath by the time I walked into Gareth’s trash heap again. Shocking, but he hadn’t bothered to clean up in the two or three hours I’d been gone. Not that I ever knew him to cleaning up anything in the past 12 years or so.

“So they changed the glitch to internal investigation,” Gareth reported, scraping spaghetti into his mouth from a plate. Of course, he was using a knife instead of a fork. I’m sure all the forks in his place hadn’t been washed in years.

“We knew that already,” I replied, taking a spot on a worn dull brown easy chair. “Tell me something I don’t already know.”

“Margo sent an email to her superior about three minutes after your visit,” he added, a hint of glee mixed in with chomping. “Some creepy guy was demanding information from her, so she claims.”

That didn’t make any sense. Somehow, still unknown to me, that gal knew my name. Why hadn’t she reported me? Why wasn’t a government vehicle out front right now, scouring the neighborhood for me?

“She didn’t use my name?”

Gareth shook his mass of hair back and forth, tossing his plate onto the floor. The rats would have something to clean up later.

“Nah,” he grunted. “Just some creeper who made her sort of scared. Her super asked if she wanted it investigated and Margo the Meekly replied no. Not even sure why she bothered to make a report.”

We stared at each other for a moment before I knew what he was thinking. “I know, I know. You warned me. Said I should leave it alone. My bad. Anyone looking at the footage?”

Gareth laughed and sat back stretching. Fortunately, he had put on a mismatched sweatshirt and pants, so I didn’t have to gawk at his opened robe anymore.

“The cameras at the Information Repository of the Government of the States are currently down for maintenance,” he replied, sounding as if he were reading it from an official memorandum. “They have been for the past two weeks and probably will be for another two. They don’t have the best techs in the city, you know. I read a report that the tech fried half the cameras trying to take them off-line. The cretin.”

“But they have the footage from whatever Lucy did, right?”

“Yes sir,” he replied, picking up his keyboard. “And they have it stored safely on a drive with triple level protection, so it’s virtually untouchable.”

Damn it. That didn’t help. We needed to see what they saw; we needed to know what they knew.

“So we can’t get at it—”

“Untouchable for the average moron,” he continued. “Their security is pathetic. Two of the three passwords are the same. It’s harder hacking into Anuk’s hard drive than it is to get into anything in station two.”

He pulled up the grainy footage and we both leaned forward to watch the short clip.

“Fellow walks in here,” Gareth said, pointing at the screen, “and goes right for Lucy. If she knows the guy she’s acting like she doesn’t recognize him.”

Thus far all I’d seen was the back of a medium height guy wearing a dark green or blue hoodie. Not only had I not seen his face, he hadn’t even taken his hands out of his pockets.

“Want to get to the part where he shows his face, Gar. This is pretty boring so far.”

“Doesn’t happen,” he replied while focused on the screen. “I’ve watched this three times and you never see his face from any angle. He knew where the cameras were. He was no dummy.”

Lucy reappeared in the shot and slid a piece of paper across the counter. Finally, his right hand came from the pocket and he shoved the paper back in the same pocket. He turned away from the camera and disappeared from view.

“That’s it?” I cried. “Some medium sized white dude gets a paper from Lucy and she’s hauled in?”

“That, brother, is it.” Gareth went back to playing some online game and acted as if I were already gone.

“They think that’s the big kahuna? With nothing to go on, they think Lucy passed State’s secrets to someone that could have been you or me?”

Gareth glanced at me, grinning. “Too short to be me, and way too good of posture to be you. And before you ask, no, I don’t have any idea what the document was. It was upside down the entire time.”

Rubbing my forehead, I fell back in the chair. “These guys are getting desperate. They’re pulling people in for shit like this. God, no one’s safe anymore.”

“They think it was Selmo,” Gareth stated. I noticed he had paused his game and was staring blankly at the front door. His face told me he was concerned.

I slid forward on the chair. “Do you think it was Selmo?” I asked, watching his expression carefully.

Slowly his head rotated until he was staring at me. “I’ve never met the man. Just gotten some emails when he wants shit done. I don’t know anyone who’s ever met him.”

He was an enigma, Selmo Nithiw was. I’d made it clear to my friends, multiple times, that I had never once received anything from the man…if he really was a man. They all had, most of them at least. But like them, I’d never ran across him in person either.

Anytime something went wrong in the city, the government and their online news bureau always claimed it was the work of Selmo. If they, the government, were to be believed he was the leader of the peebs. The scourge of the Twin Cities. The only thing keeping them from making our lives better.

The truth, of course, was the opposite. If not for Selmo Nithiw the peebs would have no organization. Instead of a unified force going up against the nearly immovable power of the government, there would be small rogue groups here and there fighting the machine. If that were the case, the government would hunt each group down, one at a time, until no hope was left for the ordinary citizen.

Thank God for Selmo – whoever he was.

Chapter 10 

I hung at Gareth’s place for a few extra minutes while he did a quick search on Lucy’s interrogation. As far as I knew she’d be dead before the end of the day. That was the government’s work ethic at its best: bring in a peeb in the morning and we’ll have them ready for their funeral by nightfall.

But I couldn’t let that happen to Lucy. Not with all the people I knew with the connections they had. There had to be a way.

“Can you get a message to him?” I asked, watching Gareth work through a maze of screens trying to get the latest information on my friend.

“Him who?” he grunted, not bothering to even so much as peek my way.

“You know…”

“Nope,” he replied curtly. “It doesn’t work that way. You never contact him, he contacts you.” I saw him wink at me. “Unless you’re some lowly glitch; then you probably never hear from him at all.”

I gave him a grunt and glanced back at the screen. “I’ve gotten stuff from him before,” I answered, defending my wounded pride. “Maybe not as much as the rest of you, but a little.”

“You’re an errand boy, Trent. But fear not, we can’t all be the clean-up hitter on this team. Some of us have to play other positions. Others,” he nodded at me, “get to warm the bench.”

Yeah, same old crap. We’d been over this a thousand times. The problem was that I had no marketable skills. Gareth was a first-rate computer geek. Ever since I’d known him, he was always on a computer. His ability to hack into any system thrown his way made him a god…even if just in the eyes of his friends.

Anuk managed people. I guess she was what they called a people-person. Everyone liked her and she had a way getting anyone to do what needed to be done. Even in the face of a crisis, she performed her duties as if she were a conductor of the world’s most dysfunctional orchestra.

Our friend Stevie could get into any building in the world. Stealing was more of a hobby than a vocation for him. If anyone needed anything, Stevie had a knack to made it happen. Somehow, he never got caught. It must have been those boyish good looks and charmed he possessed.

Riley was our secret weapon. Acting mostly as a go-between for Selmo and our gang, she also had access to people none of the rest of us could ever get near. At five-three, weighing maybe 100 pounds, her slim figure and beautiful smile made people open up. She couldn’t hurt a fly, but the information she received from others gave us the opportunity to do all the hurting the government could take.

That left little room for me: Trent the glitch.  A skinny, slouched over, unemployable nearly 30-year-old moron. I knew most of the names that Gareth gave me came somehow from Selmo himself. It didn’t bother me I didn’t have to work for my prey. If the man wanted them glitched, who was I to argue.

As far as the rest of my gang was concerned, I’d never received or accomplished, an important task in my adult life. I was a mindless, wandering little bitch that did whatever the grand puppet master told me to do. But my day was coming. I could feel it in my soul. Wouldn’t they all be surprised if I managed to pull off something big…with little to no help from them.

“You’re daydreaming again, dude,” Gareth said, bringing me back to the present. “You always get that stupid smirk on your face. Like you just won the Olympics of jerking off or something.”

“Collins had a folder with four names he claimed they were watching,” I said. Staring at Gareth, my face tightened. “You were one of them.”

“BFD, buddy,” he replied. “We planted that initial hack attempt from a bogus URL so they’d keep busy watching in the wrong place. And that was two months ago. How clever are they if they’re just bringing it up now?”

I simply shrugged and looked away. That had been the plan all along. Give the government a bone, see if they’d bite, and fake them into watching for a breach. It worked fine.

Gareth knew they were watching him all along. Whether they ran electronic or backdoor surveillance, he always spotted them. So, he and Anuk and I decided to give them what they wanted. That way someone somewhere in station two would spend hours watching for an attack that was never coming. At least not from the spot they watched.

“Who else was on the list?” Gareth asked, setting down his keyboard and leaving the room. “Anuk, Riley, Stevie?”

I recalled the names instantly – something I was actually good at. “Nah, well yeah. Trevor and that old creepy woman Shelia. But your and Riley’s names were on the list too.”

Gareth reappeared sporting a broad grin and a bottle of water for me. “I hear that’s who Selmo sleeps with, Shelia. Thinks it’s true?”

Now it was my turn to laugh. “I don’t know how old Selmo is, but Shelia’s got to be 50. I don’t think so, Gar.”

He flopped back into his comfortable spot. “Everybody needs a MILF. What has Trevor been up to? I haven’t seen that creep in a while.”

Taking a sip of water, I thought about Trevor Stiles. He was a troublemaker, plain and simple. If I did pointless errands for the cause, his job was a complete mindless task.

“Trevor led that protest last month up on the north side,” I replied. “Didn’t get very far, but it was quite a mess while it lasted.”

Gareth lit up like a child at Christmas. “Oh, the one where they poured gallons and gallons of animal blood on those riot police from the overpass? That was so cool. I saved the government feed from that shit show. It was righteous, man.”

Righteous didn’t describe the treatment the protestors received from the State’s finest military enforcers. Rumors were 47 people were taken in that day. Though the government never said a peep because the government never acknowledged the protest ever happened.

“Trevor and some others got away,” I whispered. “Twelve protestors met their fate at the zoo the following week.” I glanced somberly at Gareth. “Message received I guess: don’t screw with the government.”

“Yeah,” Gareth replied quietly. “Lions and tigers got to eat too, I suppose. But that’s why we stay at them. They can’t run our lives like they try to do. We have to break them, Trent. Victory or death.”

True, but how many more had to die before our side won? One hundred, one thousand, more? Was that our fate eventually? Getting caught in a trap we should have easily spotted, but were too caught up with ourselves to realize it until it was too late?

Slapping the keyboard back on his lap, Gareth’s long skinny fingers sailed across the keys. “What do you say we see what’s new with Lucy?”

Staring at the TV, I nodded absentmindedly. Yeah, I thought. Let’s see what her day looks like. Maybe her last day of this hell.


All material is the intellectual property of e a lake. Please don't steal it, but feel free to share this with anyone you might think will enjoy it. Also -- and this is a biggie -- if you have any input on the grammar, or content, or ideas for upcoming chapters, please make a comment. Let's create this novel together. And with your help, it can only become better.

Thank you,

e a lake


Friday, February 17, 2017

"Glitched" - Chapters 7 & 8

Chapter 7

 “We don’t say that name because we don’t think it’s real,” Collins continued. “The gang upstairs thinks it’s an alias. I mean what kind of name is Selmo anyway? How stupid does that sound.”

Craning my head forward, I tried to get a peek of the screen. “Who glitched her?”

He shrugged and closed the current view. “Says it was the boys and girls from surveillance that noticed it. They were reviewing tapes of secured locations – like they always do, what a great job. No one yapping in your ear all day. No stupid meetings with idiot glitches.”

We shared a strange stare before he picked up on his story. “So, anyway; they spotted her making a copy of a classified document and giving it to an unknown. Some guy in an orange hoodie. They didn’t get a good look, but they’re pretty sure it’s our boy.

“They’ll be interrogating her for a while. At least until she squeals. I bet you a month’s pay she knows who he really is. They’ll beat it out of her if they have to.”

I was lost on a previous point. “So no one glitched? Like none of her co-workers.

He brought up another screen and stared at it for a while. “The only person she works close enough with is some Margo lady.” He chuckled as he read about her. “Man, she’s even duller than that Lucy chick. I bet she’s got 20 cats at home. Probably knows them all by name.”

I didn’t know much of anything about Margo. But it seemed she hadn’t been the glitch as Gareth had first discovered.

“Was she your second name?” Collins asked sarcastically. “Were you about to glitch on a friend? Don’t you have any honor, Trent?”

Caught off guard by the new revelation, I slumped in the chair. “I’m just surprised, that’s all.”

“Surprised that a friend got busted?” he chortled. “Or surprised that we can actually do our jobs? You know, we catch more peebs than you glitches could ever bring us. We’re actually pretty good at what we do, protecting the country from anarchy and all.”

“You work for an oppressive employer,” I shot back. “The peebs just want their freedom. And you just want to keep people down and out, living without a speck of hope.”

Collins grinned at me in an evil way. “You know how many babies are born in this city every day? Hundreds, I tell you, hundreds. And half of them are gonna grow up to be peebs, all pissed off at the rest of us because of people like this Selmo shit.”

“It the haves and the have-nots,” I replied, refusing to even peek at his smug self-righteous expression I knew he wore.

“Every time we bring in a suspect, some gal pops another one out,” he continued. “It’s a zero-sum game, I tell you. It’s been going on for over 50 years now. And I don’t see no end in sight.”

I glanced at him; his expression had softened to that of reflective. “You don’t have to be part of them, you know.”

He waggled his head back and forth a couple of times. “I need a job, kid. I ain’t a young man. Cleaning up after others doesn’t sound all that glamorous to me. I got little choice in the matter. I am who I am.”

And that summed up the life of Allan Peter Collins, Captain in the Twin Cities Army. He was a lifer who went through his day giving little to no thought about his actions. As far as soldiers went, he was adequate. His tasks were performed without questioning their need or actual necessity. If someone above his current rank ever told him to jump into the Mississippi River, he’d never knew what killed him.

“Think they’ll kill my friend?” I asked, knowing that our meeting was almost complete.

He simply nodded and returned his gaze to his monitor.

“Be sure I get credit for being here and giving you a name,” I said, standing and stretching my back. I really needed to have better posture when sitting. All this slouching I did was killing my lower back.

“Done and done,” he said, pointing a finger at the open door. “Now get out of here before the smell becomes permanent.”

I buried my hands in my pockets and made my way to the stairwell. My task was done here; they had the name they wanted – bullshit or not. But I had work to do once I was free of this place. I needed to get a plan together. One that would perhaps spring Lucy from an almost certain death.

Halfway down to the ground floor I felt a vibration in my coat pocket. Pulling one of the two I carried out I noticed its blank screen. Yet the buzzing continued. Retrieving the second phone I noticed the blue background with a white circle in the middle. The initial G appeared centered in the circle.

“What’s up, Gar?” I said as I continued my downward trot.

“Just wondering where you are. You said you’d call me back after your meeting with Kumquat.”
“Just got done,” I replied, stopping to catch my breath. Who knew going down 10 flights of stairs was almost as much work as going up. “And it was enlightening, might I add.”

“Well, I got some enlightening news for you, buddy. They switched the glitch on Lucy’s case. Now it says that— “

“I know, I know,” I said. “They say they caught it on an internal review of the work tapes. Collins told me.”

“Did he mention who she is suspected of passing intel to?” I’m sure Gareth thought I hadn’t received the whole story, but he was wrong – again.

“He mentioned it,” I replied, watching pigeons fly by the chicken-wired third-story stairwell window. “But he says they don’t know for sure. He couldn’t pull up any of the footage though. You think you can get us access to it? It’d be nice to know what they already know.”

“On it, dick bag. It is my specialty, you know.”

They low gray sky cast a black and white feel to the day outside. That and the fact they government had Lucy. Maybe more of the second than the first in all reality.

“Hey, Gar,” I said. “Be kind of careful when you’re in there. Collins says they have you on a watch list. Don’t want you getting caught. That would kind of turd up the whole day.”

He laughed loudly before a coughing fit took over. “If I came down there and sat at one of their desks, in my robe no less, they couldn’t catch me. I could ask for some numb-nuts password and they couldn’t catch me.”

“They might be watching you,” I added quietly. “Just use a little caution, okay?”

“Got it, super weirdo.” I heard the click of his keyboard as I tried to recall what else I needed from him.

“You need to call Riley,” he said before I could think of it. “She’s called twice. Says it’s important.”

Good god, what did that freak want? “Okay. Will do. I’m on my way to your place. Hopefully you have something for me to look at when I get there.”

I clicked off and found myself on the ground floor of station one. Once outside I’d give Riley the Raven a call. After all, she was the second name on Collins’ list.

Chapter 8

Riley didn’t answer when I called but my blue phone rang minutes after that. The initial R told me she was ready to talk.

“Black phone, dumbass!” she screamed into the device. I held it away from my ear as her diatribe continued. “Who the hell has three phones and leaves the most important one home with his mommy? And don’t bother answering, because I only know one moron stupid enough to do something like that.”

She was in one of her better moods I decided. Maybe a little playful banter was in order.

“You know what has a little skinny waist, a hot ass, two big jugs and acts like a bitch all the time?” There, I bet she’d lighten up after that.

“Do you know how irritating your mother’s voice is?” she ranted. “I talked to her three times this morning. And never once did she tell me where you were. She claimed you out on a date or something.”

I felt a grin grow. “She doesn’t like horny women showing up at the house trying to bang me all the time. She knows your voice, Riley. She knows you’re a woman of low morals.” Man, I was on a roll.

“I had a message a couple hours ago?” she whispered, all of the vitriol gone from her voice.


“He wanted to know if buildings one and two were ready.” she said.

“And?” Man, couldn’t she take a hint? Just finish a complete sentence, Riley.

 A long pause followed. “They are, not that it’s any of your business.”

“Then why are you busting my balls, Riley? I mean geez, I got better things to do today than get bitched out by you.”

She was quiet again; that meant she was chewing on her hair – perhaps the only habit she possessed that was anything short of beautiful. Well, except her bright blue hair. And her propensity for complaining.

“I just want to know what you know, sweetie. That’s all. I figured maybe you knew if something big was up.”

Ah, the sweetie card had been played. Riley was hot, super-hot. If Anuk was a 10, that made Riley a 35. She could have anything she wanted from life. But she refused to use her beauty to obtain her goals. Anytime she ever felt she was getting somewhere in a job, or a relationship, or just plain life because of her looks, she ended the stint.

Riley knew if she called me – or any of my degenerate friends – sweetie, or cutie, or cuddle buns we’d open up like a cheap hooker. But not this time, sweetie. Not today.

“If I recall, sweetie,” I replied, “you said I was a low-level glitch with the morals of a less humane Stalin-type the last time I talked to you. So, putting one and one together why would you ever think I knew anything about anything that goes on? People like me get told what to do. We don’t have any free will. Someone else jerks our cord all the live long frickin’ day.”

She was quiet for a moment. Maybe I was too hard on her. “You haven’t been asked to do anything special in the last 48 hours?”

Man, she didn’t get it…ever. “Ma told me to take a shower last night. Said I needed a shave this morning. Other than that, no.”

I heard something on her end I couldn’t make out. When she spoke again I realized she had put me on speaker. “So he hasn’t contacted you?”

He has never contacted me,” I huffed. “I’m not one of the enlightened ones like you all are. You, and Anuk, and Gareth, and Stevie. I don’t ever hear from him.”

When she didn’t reply, I became confused.

“What are you doing, Riley? Do I hear water?”

“I’m taking a bath, silly,” she replied in a playful voice. “Unlike you, I clean up every day. However, since my showerhead is busted and I can’t get any of my dimwitted friends to come look at it, I have to do it the old-fashioned way.”

The image in my head of Riley bathing stopped me in my tracks. We’d been frisky once or twice in the past, usually when she felt sorry for me. Not that I ever saw any skin.

“I’m, ah,” I stammered. “I’m on my way to Gareth’s right now. It wouldn’t be a problem for me to swing by and give it a peek, I guess.”

She chuckled and I heard water splashing. “I think you mean give me a peek, you pervert. And you know I’m not like that. We’re friends, Trent. But not in that way.”

Her naked image faded from my mind. Damn.

“Plus, you need to go find out what they’re doing to your girlfriend,” she sadly added. “I’m sorry they pinched her. Really, I am.”

“Lucy’s not my girlfriend, per say,” I replied, checking a nearly deserted street as I jogged across. “But thanks for the concern. Hopefully we can figure out a way to spring her.”

I heard more splashing only this time closer to the phone. “I’ve got to run, Trent. I just got another email. Chat later.”

Riley clicked off and I continued my path to Gareth’s place. With any luck, he’d have some answers for me. Maybe he’d even cracked into the government’s files so we could take a peek at what they had on Lucy. She couldn’t have passed along anything too incriminating, could she?


All material is the intellectual property of e a lake. Please don't steal it, but feel free to share this with anyone you might think will enjoy it. Also -- and this is a biggie -- if you have any input on the grammar, or content, or ideas for upcoming chapters, please make a comment. Let's create this novel together. And with your help, it can only become better.

Thank you,

e a lake