You know, some people suck
They do whatever they want
They take, take, take
Then twist your arm for more
It’s about them them them
They are the center
No one else matters
These people are nightmares
Exclusivor was a nightmare
She was my nightmare
But you know what you have to do to these nightmares that suck?
Embrace the suck, love the suck, love it
Fly above it
Fly around it, encircle it
Bend it to your will
Or the suck will pilot you straight downhill
Exclusivor was shepherding me out the back exit of the hospital
I was torn; I was happy to be free but it wasn’t really freedom.
From now on, I’d be on the run, a fugitive.
I went from FBI custody to CFH custody
CFH, what’s that? Crazy Effing Hacker
Really, I was being kidnapped, but Exclusivor expertly made me appear an accomplice
I had no way out
I did not understand
Why this CFH needed me so badly.
Why was Exclusivor going to such lengths to secure my help?
And, why won’t she share what she wants from me?
And, why I am getting more immersed, ensnared
Coerced, as if there was no moment to spare
Shoved headfirst, my life sliced bare
Exclusivor gave me an impatient shove as we exited the hospital
Turns out, she shoved me right into Sam Fishburne
And he’s all like, “whaaattt?”
And I’m all like, “firetruck!”
They’d never met, but Exclusivor immediately knew who he was
Because of that viral video of Fishburne beating me
She glanced a warning at me but looked at him and said, “You must be Sam Fishburne.”
He ignored her and said to me,
“What are you doing?”
I didn’t say anything
I was caught up between a hard place and rock
Between hacker I was growing to hate
And the guy who beat these bruises into my muscles, these cuts onto my skin,
All because I didn’t lead him to Exclusivor
And now Exclusivor’s standing in front of him and he doesn’t realize it
Maybe he should beat himself up.
Exclusivor said, “Sean Harley is going home. He’s been treated like a criminal in this hospital.”
“That’s because he is a – wait, going home? According to who?”
“According to me.”
“And who are you?”
“I’m Belinda Bennett. I’m Sean’s counsel.”
“You’re his lawyer?”
“Very good. Yes, that’s what counsel means. I’m his lawyer. Good day, Mr. Fishburne.”
And I was debating: If I turned Exclusivor in… I get my life back.
But, dox a fellow hacker? That’s what Exclusivor threatened me with. Would I stoop so low?
And, I was 50/50 whether Exclusivor was bluffing about my mom.
Exclusivor turned to walk away
And Fishburne grabbed both of us.
He spun her around, jerked his head toward the hospital and said, “Harley goes back in.”
So she twisted and ducked out of his grip and said, “Touch me again, I dare you.”
Fishburne didn’t touch her again, but he did turn loose with a string of feminine expletives
Starting with letters such as c and b
Let’s just say, he was very blunt but Exclusivor didn’t twitch
Then Fishburne said, “What was your name again?”
Exclusivor leaned in and said, “I’m. Your. Worst. Nightmare.”
Exclusivor had been my worst nightmare,
and I think that’s why I chose then to do it.
I really wanted Exclusivor to be someone else’s nightmare
To wreck someone else’s life,
To fake a broken back in someone else’s bed
Look, I know the FBI still had Stoney and Lita
And, I know Exclusivor said she had my mom
And, I don’t remember what I was thinking, not exactly
I guess I just felt it was the best thing I could do at the time.
So I blurted, “Fishburne, this is Zoe Gates.”
Then, time slowed like that first high school football game when I was on the freshman team. I was middle linebacker and my read was the fullback, who went out for a pass. I was totally caught off guard, expecting a run like we’d practiced for, but time slowed down. I was able to react and recover in time to follow, then to jump and knock the pass down. A moment later, time returned to normal. We won the game.
This time, when time slowed down, both Fishburne and Exclusivor turned slowly to look at me, mouths open. Fishburne looked like a ravenous lion about to dig in to a bloody gazelle. His face read “Yes, I’ve got her, finally!!” Exclusivor was just floored. I’d just turned her in. Ratted her out. Her head on a platter for Fishburne. Me, I was just happy to be doing it. I needed her off the street, out of my life.
I felt guilty but also relieved. I’m sure Mom was fine. We’d find her. It was probably just a bluff anyway. I’d barter the FBI for Stoney and Lita. My Atomic Lathe was probably wobbling out of control. I could go back to work, make sure it was okay. My hacking collective was in shambles, I could rebuild it. I’d find Avanta. Yes! I would win back Avanta.
To get it all back, all I had to do was dox a hacker.
Wow, I did that? I doxxed Exclusivor? Oh, crap. I take it back! I take it back!
What I expected to happen next, I admit, was Fishburne reading Exclusivor her rights, cuffing her. I expected to go back in the hospital to finish recuperating, to talk to the prosecutors about dropping my charges like they promised, to get an extradition hearing and put a stop to that bs. I had an important national security job, they couldn’t really send me to Spain, right? I’d see what I could do to get leniency for Stoney and Lita.
What really happened next was Exclusivor turned and high-tailed it. She was fast! Three steps in, both high heels went flying and she ran barefoot. If that’s what a broken back does to a person, I want some of that.
Fishburne took after her, and I wasn’t sure what to do. Do, I, like, you know, just go back to my hospital room? Boy, would Agent Benson be relieved to see me! I waited, because I expected to see Fishburne at any moment. He’d be marching Exclusivor alongside, in handcuffs. And I’d be awake, free from the nightmare.
What really happened was a car nearly ran me over.
This was about ten minutes after Fishburne left in pursuit of Exclusivor. I was just standing there the whole time. In the parking lot, leaning on my crutches. Waiting. A classic Ford LTD came peeling around the corner, squealing and screeching, and of course it was Exclusivor driving.
I don’t know where she got it, but the car had a broken driver’s side window, so I guessed how she got it. Before I knew what was happening – sadly, time did not slow down – Exclusivor got out, unceremoniously shoved me toward the back of the car, cursing about being doxxed. Then she pushed me into an already opened trunk and slammed it closed. For the next thirty minutes, she drove. This time, the squealing and screeching came from me, not the car. I was in a lot of pain and the trunk was full of crap. My mind wasn’t very clear, so I don’t really know how I knew. Maybe it was the sound of the car echoing off the concrete walls. But, I did know for sure that she drove into an underground parking garage or cave.
I was going to hit her in the face with a crutch