“Put your hands where I can see them!”
He was a young man, not yet in college, really more of a boy but obviously had the intelligence of a man. He was sitting at the unfurnished slab of wood that was the kitchen table of a Lower East Side apartment. He looked nervous. This was a big moment for him. All of his hard work had finally paid off. His twirled his glasses around his finger. He stared at his computer for a moment then clicked the mouse twice. He began to sweat. He wiped his face. This was it. He started typing frantically. Suddenly a loud voice said,
“Put you hands where I can see them!”
The boy ran, but he made a mistake. He left the computer.
POLICE REPORTS AS RECORDED BY OFFICER IRENE R. ALEXANDER
7:00 P.M.- POLICE ENTER HOME OF 17 YEAR OLD IMAX AKA GRAYSON ALEXANDER III. HE APPEARS TO BE THE ONLY ONE HOME.
7:03 P.M.- THREE OFFICERS ATTEMPT TO CAPTURE ALEXANDER BUT FAIL. BOY RUNS. SEEMS TO DISAPPEAR.
7:39 P.M.- TWO OFFICERS RETURN TO POLICE STATION WITH ALEXANDER’S COMPUTER.
I’m sorry to confuse you, but I feel that it is my duty to tell you that this story is not about the boy that we now know as Imax or Grayson Alexander. It is about me, Irene. Who I was, who I am, and who I want to be. I’m using him. I hope that he’s smart enough to realize that. I learned the details from his file. I know that you are perplexed but I had to say that. Try to understand. Now, back to Grayson.
Grayson was sweating. He knew he had failed and would be punished severely. He curled up into an even tighter ball. There wasn’t much room in the closet of his sister’s room. She hadn’t been in the house for four years. Nobody knew where she was. Grayson could recall many nights falling asleep to the sound of his mother weeping for her. Grayson had never tried to contact Irene. He was sure that he could find his sister but he was wary of what it was that he would find. He thought it might upset his mother. For all he knew she was evil. The thought didn’t upset Grayson. He had long since learned to ignore emotion. When he was five he stopped crying. The only emotion that he showed anymore was that he sweated when he was nervous. He closed his eyes and remembered…
It had been a sunny October day. She had been nineteen and he had been thirteen. She had taken him into her room. He had never been in before. She had never let him in. The walls had been purple then and covered in pictures of movie theaters. She had had a small obsession with movie theaters. Now the walls were grey with dust. She had taken him to her desk, sat him down at the “movie theater chair”, and given him his first hacking lesson. She had talked to him. He finally felt, for the first time, like he had a friend. He had never felt that way before. She had continued tutoring him for a year. One day he said to Irene,
“Thank you for being my friend.” He wasn’t sure what he expected to say but he hadn’t expected her to say what she did. She bellowed,
“I’m not your friend. I’m teaching you because I have to. I need you to know how to do this. I’m doing this for me not you! Your my little brother, did you really think that you were my friend? I’m not. I will never be. What a joke! Grayson, I expect more from you! You’re observant! Look around! I can’t believe this! Grayson, I’m really disappointed. I thought that you were bigger than this! Your supposed to be the big one here! I really thought that you were ready. Keep practicing.”
He had ran out of her room, mad that he had let himself get emotional. Grayson didn’t show emotion. It just wasn’t who he was. The next day Irene disappeared and he hadn’t seen her since. The next few weeks had been a blur of detectives and tears.
A few weeks after Irene’s disappearance, Grayson had been contacted by a woman who told him that she needed a hacker. How the women knew that Grayson was a hacker he didn’t know, but he accepted her proposal. She had trained him further, and she knew all of his secrets. She had given him the code name Imax and herself the name Película. He had never met her in person. They only ichatted. Several times he had sent video chat requests, but she had always declined. Together they gained access to over one hundred government documents. He had been about to see her face for the first time before the police interrupted him.
When Grayson was sure that the police were gone he left the closet. He walked over to his sister’s desk and turned on her old computer. That computer was his secret to success. The police had taken his school computer. There was no evidence that he was a hacker on that but on his sister’s computer were all of his treasures. He logged on to his ichat account and immediately received a video chat request. It was from Película. He clicked accept. It flickered then steadied. He saw a familiar face. It was a cop.
“Hey little bro.” said Irene, “Long time no see.”
The police stormed in.
POLICE REPORTS AS RECORDED BY OFFICER IRENE R. ALEXANDER (continued)
8:02 PM- GRAYSON ALEXANDER IS ARRESTED
7:30 AM – ALEXANDER IS FOUND GUILTY AND IS SENTENCED TO A MINIMUM OF 10 YEARS IN PRISON
So, that is the story of my foolish little brother. I am now chief of police because of this arrest. If you are smart enough you may have figured out that Penícula was me. Perhaps you even speak Spanish and know that Penícula means movie theater. Maybe you noticed that I wrote the reports. I returned to my childhood home briefly to collect my things and console my mother. So, I may have ratted out my little brother, but I did warn him and anyway, I know that he’ll escape.
This is Police Chief Irene Alexander signing off.
Annabelle Buttenwieser, Age 12, Grade 7, The Dalton School, Silver Key