Again, my phone rings. This time, I know exactly who it is, as this customer has been assigned a special ringtone: Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”. I put the finishing touches on a new video description, then give in to the phone’s pleas to be answered.
“Hello, Mr. Evans. I was wondering when I would again be graced by your company. By the way, Japurri is enjoying his new kitty condo.”
“Who’s Japurri?” asks Tyreke, disarmed by my glibness. “Never mind. I don’t care. DownToBuck, you’ve bent me over for the last time. I know about you and your little games, but it’s over now. The jig’s up.”
He’s bluffing, I know. There would be no way for him to truly know my pricing structure. “How did you find out?” I ask in mock anxiety. He bites.
“While you were out of the house, I sent an associate over to retrieve all the pertinent financial records. You should really get in the habit of locking your doors, DownToBuck. Your secrets are no longer so secret. I know that I’m only one of a few that you charge for your services.”
I smirk, but maintain the charade. “You mean the records that were sitting on my desk?”
“The very same,” responds Tyreke. I can hear the smugness in his voice, and it angers me.
“You mean the ones that I deliberately falsified, the ones that I purposely left out in the open so that an amateur sleuth such as your henchman would leave without discovering the true records?” I ask. There is dead silence on the other end of the line. “You think you are so clever, Mr. Evans, but your ego has outpaced your true skill. Does the phrase ‘2048-bit encryption’ mean anything to you?”
Again, more silence.
“I’ll tell you, Mr. Evans. It means that, even if you did find the nearly-microscopic flash memory card that contains my financial records, the universe would experience heat death before you could brute-force my high-entropy password and access the sensitive files within.”
It sounds like there is crying on Tyreke’s end. “Please, man, I’m begging you. I can’t keep paying this. Cut a guy some slack.”
“You should have thought about that before you sent your goons to thieve from my home, Mr. Evans.” I pause, as if pondering, but I know the exact price I will be asking for. “A hundred grand should do the trick. Japurri has developed a taste for caviar.”
There are more tears but no more words. I hang up the phone, leaving Tyreke to wallow in his misery.