Chapter 1: Well, I’m Fucked.

If someone had told me last week that I’d be hopping from coffee shop to coffee shop to use public wifi while trying to avoid getting found by a hired killer, I’d have asked for some of whatever they’d been smoking. Seriously. It sounds insane to ME, and I’m living it.

Someone is trying to kill me. Over a fucking typo.

Seriously, those memes about eating grandma[1] were right. Proper spelling and grammar could have saved my life. How fucked up is that?

I’ve been on the run for days because someone couldn’t be bothered to double check an email address. People suck.

I should probably give some context. Yeah, you’re likely thinking I’m pretty nuts right now, so I better explain.

My name is Edward Harris (no, not that one, which is the problem), and I’m a giant nerd[2]. 3 days ago I got an email from someone I didn’t recognize. It was PGP encrypted, so I couldn’t read the whole thing, but the subject line was “We were right”. I just assumed it was a really weird case of failed spam or a mistake, and trashed it. I was already running late for work, so I didn’t really think anything of it at the time.

You might recognize my name as being all over the news 3 days ago. That would be the OTHER Edward Harris. The dude that died in the car explosion a few hours after I got that email. See, good old Mr Harris used a dash between his names in his email address, and I use an underscore in mine. Pretty mundane, right? Seriously. That’s all it took to completely fuck up my life. Can you tell I’m a bit bitter about that?

Anyway, so I’m a few hours into the work day, and get a panicked call from my dad, asking if I’m ok. He had heard on the news someone sharing my name was blown to shit (my words, not dad’s) and was freaked out. That was the start of an avalanche of calls, texts, and emails from family and friends making sure I was ok. It was so bad I ended up just taking the rest of the day off since I couldn’t go more than a few minutes before someone would check up on me anyway.

Really glad I did, because just as I was driving up to my house I noticed a van already in my driveway, and a totally sketchy dude lurking in the backyard. I wasn’t sure what to think, but being the paranoid type I just kept driving a few houses and parked on the side of the road to watch them.

They circled the house a couple of times and then as they circled again they seemed to disappear around the side. I don’t have much in the house of any value other than a few half-built computers, but what I do have, thanks to years of collecting random computer junk, are webcams just about everywhere, so I booted up my laptop and logged into my security setup, and just as I thought, the fucker had busted in through the side window, and was rummaging through the place.

Once they found the computer that was actually fully built, they sat down and started trying to log in. Thankfully I make a habit of locking the screen, so all they got was a password prompt, and I doubted they could guess or crack my 60 character password[3]. What *I* got though, was a nice, albeit not super high rez, image capture from the webcam of the intruder’s face.

Didn’t recognize him, but good to at least try to collect any evidence I could, right?

So he seemed pretty miffed that he couldn’t access the computer, so he took the whole damn thing and just left with it. What a fuck. At that point it sort of clicked that the email from that morning must have something to do with it if they want access to an otherwise pretty boring IT worker’s home computer that badly on the same day he got a strange email from a guy who died in a freak "accident". That just doesn’t happen, right? Must be connected somehow, and I’ve seen enough dumb spy flicks to know I need to figure out what that connection is, and that I probably don’t just want to run in and ask the guy stealing my computer what the deal is, so I get the hell out of there.

I needed a plan, but honestly I had no fucking clue how to handle this sort of situation, so what I really needed was someone I could trust to help me come up with a plan. Someone paranoid. Someone with good security. Someone within driving distance. Someone no one would suspect I would ever ask for help.

Fuck me. I can only think of one person that fits that description: my ex.

[1] Just google “Let’s eat Grandma.” if you don’t know wtf I talking about.

[2] More on that later, but the fact that this is the second footnote within the first page should tell you how big a god damned nerd I am.

[3] Even I don’t remember most of it by heart. Yubikeys are awesome for that. Just sayin’