Nigel’s PA was filing her nails, bored out of her mind. The IT guys had been summoned hours ago, and were still trying to figure out Tiana’s google account password. He was huddling over a laptop, tapping in a thousand words a minute, and squinting at the screen through black rimmed glasses.
Nigel had gone home to spend time with his wife so it was just Sheila and this stereotypical IT manager left. Sheila had to phone Nigel as soon as the password had been found so she couldn’t leave until it was done. The motion sensitive lights had decided no one was here as no one was moving. Now the only available light was an overhead lamp, and the light of the computer screen.
Sheila let out a prolonged sigh of boredom. The it manager raised his eyes to the ceiling and clenched his jaw.
“What now?!” He demanded.
“Same as twenty minutes ago Einstein,” Sheila tutted, “I want to go home.”
The IT manager gritted his teeth. “Then. Go.”
“I can’t leave until Nigel says I can. He’ll check my card in the morning,” she sighed.
The it manager closed hours’ eyes and took a deep breath before going back to work.
“Have you tried password?” She asked.
“Of course. I’ve tried all of the common passwords,” he stated.
“Try adding swearing,” she suggested.
He turned on his chair to glare at her. “What will that achieve?”
“Just thinking like a school kid,” she shrugged.
Something clicked in the IT managers mind. “School kid... that’s it! Phone the teacher. Chances are she’s changed her school password to match her other passwords!”
Finally, they had a lead. Sheila was a lot less excited than he was.
“What if she doesn’t?” She asked.
“Then were back to hacking around the system,” His smile wavered.
“I’ll phone the teacher then,” Sheila decided.
She had to log onto a separate computer to find the documents she’d had someone write up for HR. Emergency contact and the like. Mr Edwards was their first port of call. He answered within three rings.
“We need her password,” Sheila said immediately.
They’d been on the phone so often recently that all manners had gone out the window. Hello, for example, just wasted time.
“Why?” Mr Edwards asked.
“We’re going to see if it matches her Google password,” Sheila explained.
“So, we can check her GPS on Google maps.”
Mr Edwards began to shuffle through the binders on his desk. He didn’t have any that had the passwords on it anymore. There was only one option. He sent an email to the most miserable technicians in the building to ask him for it. He made sure it was the politest thing that would ever be written in the schools, and it still came off as condescending. Within the blink of an eye he got rude reply with biting sarcasm and spite that just leaped off the page.
He skimmed through to what he was looking for. “Dolphin47.”
From the other end of the phone there was a tapping of a keyboard.
“It’s not that.”
All three of them sighed for different reasons. The IT manager had never taken so long to hack a password before. Sheila wanted to go home. Mr Edwards was beginning to think they’d never catch up to them.
“Try something from the fault in our stars,” Mr Edwards suggested.
The IT manager glanced at Sheila to see if she had anything to offer from this vein. She did not. It was written across her face.
“Why?” She asked
“It was her favourite book in year eight,” Mr Edwards explained.
Probably. Chances are it was. I mean, it’d only been released a few months before she’d been forced to write the book report currently on his screen, but even so she must have read it. During the hype.
“Right... isn’t she in year eleven now?” The IT manager asked.
“Yeah,” Sheila nodded.
“Right. D’you think her password might not be something she liked three years ago?” The IT manager asked uncertainly.
There was a pause as they were forced to begrudgingly agree. Mr Edwards clicked through to the register. The last exam had been yesterday, and most year elevens had gone home never to come back. Fortunately, the prom committee was having its last meeting before the fatal day arrived.
Sapphire had declared herself to be on the committee, even though he hadn’t allowed it. Which meant she was still stuck here. In a meeting. Waiting for him.
“Let me get sapphire. I’ll phone you in half an hour max!”
Mr Edwards ignored the committees cries for approval. He didn’t have time to approve everything.
“Listen, I will give you five hundred pounds from my own pocket to guarantee everything’s in place, if you all leave me to do my job,” he huffed.
Teenage girls know an opportunity for quick cash when they see it. The budget was balanced. Everything was paid for in full. but there was seven of them and five hundred pounds up for grabs.
They made an agreement with him first, and then sorted the numbers out between themselves, making sure to leave a cut for Sapphire. Buying silence and all that.
She considered it payment for her aid in bringing in her friends. Like a betraying bounty hunter.
Sapphire knew that password for Tiana’s phone. She knew the password for all her friend’s phones. If she didn’t, she locked them out for up to three hours, until they broke and told her. But Tiana’s was a pattern lock. That didn’t translate to words.
“Might be a meme. Probably rick rolling,” she suggested.
There was tapping.
“No,” came the reply.
“Rick rolling with ones?” Sapphire shrugged.
Tap, tap. “No.”
“Dicks out for Harambe?”
“No. And no to ones either.”
“Hmm… Then it’s something about bitches and money,” Sapphire gave a decisive nod to prove she was certain.
“How’d you know?” Mr Edward challenged.
“I know that girl. She likes to call people bitch for insults or endearments, but shed sell us all out for cash in hand,” Sapphire shrugged.
“Eric did say she demanded more money before she would agree to come with us,” Sheila asked.
“She’d sell her soul for money, bless her,” Sapphire chuckled.
“Alright thank you goodbye,” the IT manager stated firmly.
“Hey, when you find her, tell her to tell Ravi to reply to my snapchat! Our streak is dying,” Sapphire urged.
There was a sigh in return before he put the phone down. Mr Edwards ushered Sapphire out of the room so he could update Tristan. Sapphire texted a warning to Tiana that they were trying to hack her Gmail. As for Sheila… she was a friend of Dorothy’s.
Bubbles appeared almost as soon as the first message was sent.
Sheila: Dorothy I no u no bout this case
Dorothy: I don’t no what u mean
I no u no where they r
Whats it 2 u?
How d u no?
Whats the password?
Tell u if u tell me where they r now
Her insta password is bitches get riches.
“Try... bitches get riches. No spaces,” Sheila suggested.
The IT manager sighed. All of these guesses were getting them nowhere. He humoured her anyway. once again it wasn’t a match.
Sheila hummed. “Bitches get riches with ones instead of I.”
With absolutely no enthusiasm, leaning back in his chair, he poked the keys, hard, to make them as loud as possible. Then he sat up sharply. His eyes widened.
Sheila gave a low chuckle and shook her head. “Kids these days.”
The IT manager turned on his chair to look her up and down suspiciously.
“How’d you know that?” he asked.
Sheila smirked. “I have my ways.”
She kept her phone in her hand while he tapped through to google maps locations. Her timeline said her last registered place was Sainsbury’s, near the University of Lancaster. However, the recent photos that were backed up on her cloud showed Zangi with her legs over Ravi, Ravi with a map looking confused, and Simi pointing at a sign they’d just past that from this angle read “You’re Now Leaving Carlisle” like they were all idiots.
Gr8 luv u
It hadn’t occurred to them that Tiana would have her phone connected to her account too, and would be alerted to her account being signed in on a new device.
“Someone’s hacked my Gmail account!” she said, indignantly.
“Who?” Ravi asked.
“Who’d you think? Oh- hold on Sapphire’s just text me,” Tiana said.
“What’s it say?” Ravi asked.
“Mr Edwards and some dude named Eric are trying to hack your account. Also tell Ravi to S.O.S,” Tiana read.
Ravi swore. She grabbed her phone from where it had fallen, sat upright, and turned on her media. The streak had a sand timer beside it, threateningly. She saved it with barely seconds’ lift.
“What’s it mean?” Joan asked, glancing back in the rear-view mirror.
“Nothing really. Just that I gotta change my password,” Tiana said.
So she did. She changed it to “better-luck-next-time”. A wave of calm came sweeping over them, as the radio decided that Stubborn Love was a good song to play. It soothed them. Especailly Simi, who’d just got off the phone with her father. He was not happy it took her three hours to phone him back. Zangi was barely awake. That is, until Tahati’s voice crackled over the radio and cut through the air, making them all jump.
“Wow! We can see rabbits from up here!” she cried.