This story is by Reginald Washington and was part of our 2017 Spring Writing Contest. You can find all the Spring Writing Contest stories here.
No one at the skate park understood why two cops appeared on the scene like they did. This turf belonged to the skaters. So what could have brought the police here?
You could hear a pen drop across the entire skate park. When all the skating kids noticed the mesmerizing red and blue lights show up in front of the park, everyone froze in time.
Kids were working on their kick flips, rail grinding and coasting on their boards but at the sight of the police car, they all stopped. They all just tucked their skateboards underneath their arms and were stilled. Looking cool didn’t matter anymore.
Evan looked to his girlfriend Jordan to find her look twice as concerned than everyone in the skate park.
“What do you think those cops are here for?” Evan asked her as he saw two tall men, one light skinned and one dark skinned, both rocking a shaved head, walk into the park in unison like robots. They both had sunglasses on despite the overcast clouds above.” We’re not breaking any laws skating here, are we?”
“I think we should get out of here.” Jordan grabbed her boyfriend by the wrist and said. She started tugging on him, trying to edge him on to go with her. “Like right now. We should totally dip…”
“Will you relax?” Evan said, standing his ground.” Maybe it’s nothing. They could just be checking in, making sure we’re all safe.”
“Well that doesn’t mean they’re not here to question or…arrest someone.” Jordan started to really pull at Evan to the point where she was yanking him, nearly taking his wrist out of socket. “Come on, Evan.” She said. “I want to be alone with you anyway. I have a good spot so come on already.”
“Jeez what’s the rush?” Jordan started acting really strange ever since the police officer duo had shown up. Jordan’s voice had gotten shaky; she started speaking faster and even started looking clammy under her Red Wings Hockey snowcap. This wasn’t her. Well at least wasn’t her ten minutes ago before police came at the entrance. Evan understood police could be a bit frightening at times, especially to a skater, but he doubted there was anyone more nervous than Jordan was. While everyone at the skate park was standing still, just staring at the cops, Jordan was the only one trying to make a run for it. Just when Evan started wondering what the extra anxiety could be about, he started to think that the sudden appearance of the officers had something to do with Jordan. But before he could even process the thought, Jordan had gone from tugging to pulling, to yanking, and then shoving her significant other trough the back of the skate park before the officers even fully entered.
Upon making it to the main street in town, Jordan led the way on her skateboard while her boyfriend Evan almost had no choice but to follow her.
“Mind telling me where we’re going?” Evan called up front to her where Jordan was pushing with one leg on her board, willing herself forward. Evan barely could keep up with the amateur skater.
“Just keep following me.” She gave a brief glance back. “If I’m going to answer your questions, it’s got to be in a place where we can’t be spotted.”
And that’s exactly where Jordan led Evan. There was a really broad dark alley that was located on the corner of town. It sat between a pizza place and a tattoo shop, two places where Jordan and Evan hung out a lot at. The pizza place was where they got their food and the tattoo shop was where they got their matching nose and lip piercings, excluding any ink.
“You going to tell me what this is all about?” Evan said as he leaned on the wall of the alley, coated in graffiti. “You see a couple of cops and rush us out of the skate park like there was some fire.”
Jordan pulled her boyfriend close, their matching piercings on both their nose and lip identical. “That’s because the cops that showed up at the skate park were looking for me!” She hissed.
Jordan was about to speak but had to stop because of someone in a suit had casually walked past the alley. When the person was gone, Jordan continued talking. “It’s hard to explain right now but those cops didn’t come to that skate park for any other reason but to question me about something serious. I’m surprised they hadn’t sent the FBI yet, unless that’s what they were going to inform me about…” Jordan went on whispering to herself, her right hand caressing her own worried face. Just when Evan thought he was going to get some clarity about the situation, Jordan made things more confusing by mentioning the FBI.
“If you want me to help you out, then you’re going to have to tell me what you did.” Evan said.
“Fine.” Jordan answered. She started digging for something in the pocket of her red-checkered flannel. “I think it’s best if I just show you…”
Jordan took a black Samsung out of her flannel’s pocket and turned it on. The bright screen had brought light to the darkened alley. After she moved her finger this way and that way along the screen, a tap here and a tap there, she turned the screen around to show Evan exactly what she had been worried about for the past hour now.
“You’re Pay Pal account…” Evan said. “Why are you showing me this?”
“Try looking at my account total.”
Evan’s pupils had gotten smaller, his eyelids got wide like a field. “So many zeros.” Evan said, his body shaking. “Too many zeros. How the heck did you get that much money?”
“I sure didn’t get it legally.” Jordan admitted to her boyfriend, remorse in her eyes. “Remember when I said how I wanted to find a way to make fast and easy money on the Internet?”
“Uh huh.” Evan nodded. “Just the other week at school. I just told you to get a job at the pizza place instead.”
“Well, Evan, I wish I took your advice because I met some weirdo on the Internet who said that he could fill my Pay Pal account with a bunch of money. I took his word for it and gave him access to my account. When I was just expecting a quick deposit of a hundred bucks, he gave me that much a thousand times that. When I asked him how he did it, he told me that he hacked a few accounts that belonged to huge businesses around the country. After I told him that I wanted to make money legally, he told not to worry about it. He said that the businesses he stole from had so much money; they wouldn’t notice thousands of dollars missing. But it turns out that the hacker I met online was wrong. The FBI identified the hacking source and traced it to me. This guy set me up. Now the authorities think I’m the hacker since the stolen money went to my account. If we don’t figure out how to get the truth out soon, I could be getting taken away in handcuffs as a most wanted level hacker. I’m a skater, not a hacker!”
Jordan’s face started getting clammy and red in the face. She couldn’t hold still and was breathing like she just had run a marathon after her explanation. Evan put his hands on her shoulders and gave her a little shake. “Hey.” Evan said. “Relax.”
“No!” Jordan yelled. “I’m dead! I’m so dead!”
“Jordan…” Evan said. “Look at me, Jordan.”
“Why?” She asked, sniffing.
Evan’s calming words started to resonate with her. She found a bit of comfort in his eyes. They had a calming effect on her. That’s when Evan gave Jordan a reason to relax. He had a plan.
“I think I have an idea on getting all of this cleared up.” He said. “But you’re going to have to listen to me and actually trust me.”
“I don’t have anything else to loose.” Jordan said. “If your plan doesn’t work, that’s it for me.
So Evan went on explaining his plan in detail. Jordan listened, earnest to be saved from her own mistake.
“You said you know the hacker, right?”
“Yeah.” Jordan said. “I even have his number. He told me that he lived in the same town as me too.”
“Great!” Evan said. “The first thing we’re going to do is contact the police and tell them exactly who we are. The police obviously won’t believe us at first but if we can lure the real hacker out some way, we can prove that you’re innocent.”
“I’ll text him that I need to meet with him in person.”
Evan got the cops to show up at the pizzeria. The two officers who were recently at the skate park were certain that Jordan was the hacker, since the stolen money had been traced to her Pay Pal account. But Evan objected within the pizzeria and shared his plan with the police officers.
“Before you take my girlfriend away in handcuffs, can I at least lure the guy who we think is the real hacker here?”
The police were listening now. They started to believe how absurd it was to be taking a sixteen-year-old girl away in hand cuffs over an alleged hacking of top business’ money. Jordan couldn’t have been the hacker. Both of the bald policemen disguised themselves as the cashers and waited for this “real hacker” to show up since Jordan said he lived in town and was close by.
All the proof that the police needed to arrest the alleged hacker was to see how he paid for the food. If he used a Pay Pal account under Jordan’s identity, it showed that he was using Jordan as a host, as a cover up for the crime he actually really did.
After waiting a half an hour, a guy wearing a gray jacket and a pair of baggy sweatpants had walked into the shop. The latest Nikes were on his feet and he looked to be a guy who stared into computer screens all day judging by his glasses and how he was overdo for a shave and a haircut.
“Over here!” Jordan flagged him down. Evan sat at the side of the restaurant with a menu over his face. He was just waiting just like the police officers were in their disguises as cashers at the front. The owner of the restaurant just hid in the back, worried that something would go wrong.
“You’re shorter than I imagined.” The gray jacket wearing hacker had said. “Jordan, isn’t it?”
“Yeah.” She said. “I just wanted to meet up with you to talk about something. And could you spot me for some food.”
The hacker stepped to the cashers. “Just two slices.” The hacker ordered. “You know what, just get us a large box, cheese, to go.”
“What will be your payment method, sir?” One of the cashers asked. The other one had his gun ready underneath his uniform. “Cash, card, pay pal?”
“Pay Pal.” The hacker said. Just when he used Jordan’s pay pal account with his own Smartphone, one of the undercover policemen snatched his phone and saw the account was filled with millions of dollars that were reported missing by businesses.
“You’re under arrest!” The officers came into their real roles and said. And from then on, both Jordan and Evan were relieved to see the hacker taken out of the pizzeria in handcuffs.