I ruin people’s lives for fun, this is my story. [Chapter 3]
Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Good morning. It is currently 9 in the morning, and I am just finishing up my coffee at a local shop. I always get the same thing: A large iced coffee with 4 ice cubes and 2 packets of sugar. That concoction makes it the perfect temperature to enjoy. I tend to do everything by routine, because I like to think it makes me more organized if I do it that way. Life is just a whole bunch of patterns someone has yet to figure out. I was looking more into Jason’s assets and accounts. I came across something that made me laugh. He has been paying Kiley $1,000 every week. So from my observations, Kiley looks like an escort. I think that this is helpful, because now I know that she doesn’t have a trustful relationship with him. I mean the money was being paid to the website to hire escorts. I really don’t care about Kiley though. She isn’t important to the game anymore. I have to go to work in about an hour so I need to finish this up pretty quickly. I wanted to make the process of fucking with Jason long. I went on the dark web for a minute to see if I could come across a device that could withdraw money via ATM from previous accounts that had been connected to said ATM. If that made any sense, my plan would be to buy this tool, and steal money from Jason’s account. I know I used bitcoin for the last one, but I thought this would be more eventful. I wanted more hands-on experience if you know what I mean. I forgot to mention that I saw that Jason had a permit for concealed carry, so I need to keep this in mind. After searching on a couple of the markets that I have accounts with, I finally came across it. It was around $200. I just went ahead, and used the funds that were already on my account to purchase it. It says that it ships domestically, so it should be here in the next few days. I will continue with this update after I get done with my shift. I have just finished my shift, and I'm exhausted from how pestering my boss is. That prick just loves his sales quotas. I got a confirmation letter from the vendor to my private email saying: Your purchase was confirmed and the shipping process will now begin … thanks for doing business. Fantastic! Now we can get to the fun part. I wanted to look more into his odd transaction with a car wash in Florida. I looked up the car wash, and it was only 2 miles away from Jason’s vacation home. I went ahead and called. Some women picked up, “JJ’s car wash … how may I help you?" I replied with, “Good, good. I was just wondering if I could get in contact with the owner? I wanted to come over, and do an evaluation on the value of the land … Is he there right now, or could you possibly give me a phone number to reach him?” She hesitated, and said, “Uhhh, I'm sorry, sir, I'm not really sure if I can give that info out. Let me ask my manager.” I interrupted her with, “No, that won’t be necessary. Just give me his email, and I’ll send him the information myself. Thanks.” She said, “Sure … it's [email protected][redacted].com” I hung up saying, “Thanks so much for your help. It means a lot. Thanks.” Some people are just so oblivious to the world that they’ll believe anything they hear. Well, I guess I shouldn’t be complaining because that email is the same as Jason's. He owns some little car wash near his house in Florida. I wanted to look more into this, but thought that for right now it's a waste of time. (Added "that". Apostrophe on "it's", because it's= it is.) Well, I went ahead and drove over to the nightclub Jason goes to every Wednesday night to see what he was up to there. I disguised myself as much as I could. I mean there were a lot of people here so no one would notice me unless I was face to face with them. I had a hat on and a hoodie. I just looked down at the floor as much as I could. I followed Jason in after he arrived with his driver. He went upstairs where VIPS are only allowed. I kept an eye on him for a while. He then disappeared to a back room which had me curious. I needed to figure a way to get upstairs without anyone questioning my authenticity. I went to the back room where I guess the staff gets ready. I found this work shirt that was black and an extra pair of pants that were a size too big. I had a belt on me so that wasn’t an issue and I put on the clothes and now I looked like a waiter. I went to the bar and said I needed 6 “on the rock” martinis and handed her a tray to put them on. She asked, “You work here?” I said, “Yeah, new … these are going upstairs so make it quick.” She nodded and proceeded to make the drinks. She handed me the tray and I carefully made my way up to one of the security guards at the stairs. I looked at him and said, “These are to go up to Mr. Peterson?. He looked at me up and down and waved his hand towards the stairs allowing me to go. I walked up the stairs with the tray in my hands and walked through the back door that Jason had recently disappeared to. I saw a few ladies that were all intoxicated and a couple of men sitting on the couch. There was a nice electric fireplace next to a computer desk that wrapped around the corner of the room. It was a decently big room with a minibar as well. I walked over towards the men. I said, “Excuse me gentlemen but, I have 6 martinis ready to drink in my hand.” I could tell that they all have been drinking because of the way they were slurring their words. Jason spoke up and said, “Perfect thank you … here’s a tip” handing me a $100 bill I took the money and pocketed it saying, “Thank you .. if you need anything else please call down to the bar.” I walked out. That room was soundproof as well because when I walked out my ears were rushed with loud music from the dance floor. I saw another door to my right and my curiosity peaked and I walked through. It was this long hallway and a little red sign saying “Exit”. Nothing special here so I just walked out back downstairs. I went ahead a walked over to the security guard and asked him something, “Which one of those guys is the owner?” He replied with, “You should know this … Mr. Peterson just took over ownership a few weeks ago.” This caught me off guard and I said, “Oh right … thanks.” I was mind blown because of how many properties this guy owned. Where was he getting all of this money … I mean I know that he owns a security company but, 2 houses, 3 companies that all pay in cash, a personal driver, large bank transactions. All of this wasn’t adding up. I went online and did some research. I have the suspicion that Jason is laundering money through his businesses. I don’t know who he is cleaning money for but, it’s probably someone who doesn’t want their money fucked with. This could be an issue because if I fuck with Jason’s life and his financial situation that someone else could be looking after him. I don’t fear anyone will find me because I make sure I do everything very securely. I should be getting the atm snipping tool soon and hope to make a move on Jason and uncover his dirt. I’m getting excited just writing this right now knowing that I could possibly ruin not just Jason's life but his whole operation. Before I do begin my adventure I need to make a couple of precautionary steps. I logged onto the dark web and found a trustful hacking service. I would never hire someone to hack unless I didn’t have the skills to do the task. I mean if somehow I turned up dead my plan would still carry out. So I found someone who could “ruin” his life. I’ve been chatting with him now to see what type of services he offers and I found one that fits my purpose. I also told him I wouldn’t buy unless I failed my game, which means death. He understood and told me how it would work. He said I would need to put the money in escrow and I told him if I don’t respond within 2 weeks that the money will be sent automatically. By putting the money in escrow it means I can’t take it out and he can’t accept the payment unless all conditions are met with a third party. I set up a zombie computer to be the third party. Usually the vendor or market your on will have an escrow system but, I wanted to make sure that he would certainly get the money if anything happens to me. So I set the zombie and sent the escrow away. The payment was $600 to do whatever was necessary to either ruin them financially or put them in jail. This hacker could make them be known as a child porn user by encrypting his computer with files that would have him arrested. I was thinking of this option or go to a darker market which would put a price on Jason’s head. Now that this was all set up I could move on and take Jason’s money. I watched him after work for a few nights to see if he would use an atm. He was at a little food market having lunch and used the atm to withdraw $40. I know this because my little tool tells me. So I watched him from across the street to see when he left. He left after eating and walked back to his car where his driver was waiting. They drove off and I waited about 5 minutes before doing anything. Atm machines have cameras so I needed to cover my face before hacking his account. I checked which account he withdrew from before going inside since I had access to his computer passwords. The account he used had approximately $12,000 in it. I knew going into this that I would only withdraw a couple thousand because I didn’t want the bank instantly freezing his account even though after he noticed, he would call and tell them. So I set up a script that would take $10,000 through tiny transactions with bots and have them located from all over the world so it wouldn’t be able to trace back to me. It would then compile the transactions back to an offshore account that I made. I would set this into action as soon as I withdrew the $2,000 in cash from the atm. This would leave Jason with $0 in his one account. I knew that he had other accounts but, the one that I was targeting had the highest balance. I put on a bandana and some dark sunglasses with a hoodie on and walked inside. I got myself a little drink and paid in cash making sure to keep my fingers off the handle. I then went over to the atm and placed the tool where you put the card in. It loaded up this menu on the screen and it listed a couple of names from the recent customers that withdrew money. I clicked the arrow down to “Jason Peterson” and typed in the box that said “Custom amount” $2,000. It then went to another screen saying “Please remove your card before money dispenses.” I removed the tool and out came Jasons 2 grand. I put it in my wallet and walked out to my car. I made sure to park in a parking lot that was decently empty with no cameras to catch my plate. I pulled out my phone and went to the Facebook marketplace. I was feeling a new laptop right about now so I started scrolling through. I found one that matched my needs and messaged the seller, “Hey, I am interested in your listing … could we meet today?” He replied back pretty quickly with, “Sure, let’s meet at the [redacted] Starbucks!” The laptop was listed for $250. I told him I would pay in cash and I would be there in 20 minutes. I went to the Starbucks and met with the guy selling it. He was a nice guy who told me he just upgraded so that’s why he was selling it. I asked him to turn it on to make sure it works, which it did. I handed him the cash and wished him well. I walked outside and got into my car. I pulled around to the drive-through and got myself a large coffee with extra cream and sugar. After I got my coffee I went home and got a call from my boss asking where I was today. I told him that I really didn’t feel like working today which he replied telling me to not come back tomorrow and I was finished working there. I had a pretty big smile on my face at this point because now my time would be devoted to ruining Jason’s life. I poured myself a nice glass of whiskey to end off the night right. I mean this would be the perfect time to celebrate. I just got fired and have over 10 grand in my pocket. I don’t want to get ahead of myself yet. It has been a couple of days since I sent that money in escrow and if I don’t get my job done before the 2 weeks are over then someone else will do it for me. This was like a tiny challenge in the midst of the much bigger challenge. Look at this way. I want to take credit for ruining Jason’s life or all of my work will go to waste. I mean the dark web hacker isn’t watching Jason’s every move and reading him like I was. All he had to do was sit on his ass and type on a computer. In this day and age that’s all you need. Hell, that’s how I ruined Connor’s life. I told you from the beginning that I wanted to up my game. I had the proper funds now to really up my game. In the morning, I went to go to a local Walmart to pick up a few things. I wanted to make a homemade suppressor. I was looking at the prices on the dark web but, if I could save some money doing it, then why not right? So I looked up how to make a homemade suppressor and picked up the right supplies to make it. You need some PVC pipes, steel wool, a drill, and a few other things and you got yourself a suppressor. It didn’t take to long to make and it fits real snug on my .50 caliber sniper rifle. No, I wasn’t going to kill Jason because that would be too easy. I wanted to fuck with him a little longer before really getting down and dirty. Pull his strings like a puppet if you will. My plan was this. I would find a time where Jason was alone and I would call him. I would tell him if he wanted his money back that we would have to meet. I would specify that he and only him would come and if anyone else was to show that his funds would be long gone before he ever got there. I would then drug him with chloroform and take him to a secluded place where no one would find us. I would then tell him to give up all of the information on the people he works for or he and Kiley dies. I thought to introduce that I know Kiley that it would motivate him a little more. Just the strings in his life. If that didn’t work my plan would be to tell him that the police were raiding his house for child pornography which I downloaded on his computer. I would show him his files from my laptop remotely to prove it and if that didn’t work we would figure something else out. I wanted to move forward with this as soon as possible. I grabbed my car keys and headed out the door. Today I wasn’t going to do anything with Jason. Today I needed to shop. While I was at Walmart this morning I grabbed some bleach and rubbing alcohol to produce the chemical chloroform which would make Jason unconscious. I also picked up some latex gloves for prints. I bought myself a burner phone at a gas station near my apartment too. Now that I have all of my supplies I headed over to a Starbucks. I ordered my usual large coffee with 4 ice cubes and 2 packets of sugar. I brought my new laptop with me and connected it to the free wifi. This laptop wouldn’t be coming home with me. I was going to use this laptop to connect me to Jason’s stock portfolio. After I hacked into it I would sell all of his stocks that were a part of any company he owned leaving him with nothing in return. Basically sweeping the owner's name tag out from under his feet. I would then corrupt the hard drive and throw the laptop in the dumpster. After this, it was time to burn everything he owned to the ground. I wanted to leave him and the people he worked for with nothing in return … absolutely nothing.
I'm an Identity Thief and I Want My Identity Back [Part 1]
Found this on a darkweb forum. It was posted only yesterday, and I thought you all might find it interesting. Fair warning, there's supposedly more to come, according to the comments on the forum, so this isn't an all inclusive post. I decided to paste it here in real time as it was posted instead of waiting until they were done putting it all online. From here on out, this is a direct copy-paste of the post, plus some formatting for Reddit.
I fucked up. Badly. My whole life has been a great, big fuckup, but this really takes the cake. I'll be dead soon, so it can't get much worse. My name is Michael Kay, also known as Neale Keaton. If you're running your little bots trying to find my name, it'll match this post. Hello, my little darkweb stalkers. I'm about to give you my version of events. I'm about to show you that you're being played like the gullible little basement dwellers you are. So sit down, go fullscreen, and read this through to the end. Because I think that by the end, you'll see things my way.
I'm an identity thief. Have been for four years. When I got out of the military, I couldn't adjust back to "normal" life. I got stuck in the same cycle that other vets do. No job, living on savings from my military income, and trying to kick my drinking habit. After almost a year, I came to a brutal conclusion that is the reality for many people in this economy: my identity wasn't worth shit. I was only a few months away from homelessness, had no prospects at a job, and was lacking in the social etiquette needed for dating. I was an only child of two only children. Grandparents were all dead, and my parents... well, I wanted nothing to do with them. They were the reason I joined the military and left home at 18. Again, my identity was shit. But, my drunk and sometimes high brain had a thought that kept repeating itself. What if I were someone else? Someone with a good background. Some work experience, proof that I was a good employee, maybe even a degree. In the military, I got to share a training ground temporarily with some of the boys heading into the Army Cyber Command. We got a few chances to swap stories, and they talked about the things they were learning. One guy was especially cocking about how "good" he was at navigating the darkweb. He regaled us with stories about finding illegal identities and firearms online before he even joined the military. He told us that the darkweb was full of everything you'd need, legal or illegal. With that memory in mind, that's who I turned to. In a move that further diminished my savings, I bought myself a nice identity off the darkweb. A driver's license, social security number, the works. It came with years of taxes being paid on-time, and some falsified work experience. If I paid extra, the people I bought it from would even pick up the phone when the prospective employer called and recommend me as a good employee. They had a fake website for the company and everything. They even told me that their services were geared towards people like myself. Those unfortunate enough to have a bad identity. People who just needed the leg up of a trustworthy social security number. And it worked. I followed their guidelines, and true to their word, I got a job. From my Bachelor's degree in Business Management, I landed a position as a store manager for a small retail chain. During the day, I went to work and pretended I knew what the hell was going on. At night, I got a couple of dated self-help books from the library so I could make it look like I knew what I was doing with all the spreadsheets, scheduling, profit and loss statements, and anything else I was given. I worked hard. I didn't sit on my ass and let my identity carry me. I worked to earn what I'd been given, and it was the only way I could live with what I'd done. I was told that the identity was from a child who had died at birth, yet the social security number had not been discarded. The people I bought it from had "raised" that social security number. They hacked into school databases and inserted their name and grades, and did everything they needed to make the kid look like he'd grown into the man I was. Or rather, the man whose shoes I would step into. That identity saved me. But good things can't last forever.
While the identity gave me a second chance, it didn't give me good money. The job was good enough to subsist on, but after a year and then two years, I found that I was unable to save anything. At the rate I was going, I'd be working until I was 65 years old and yet have nothing to show for it. Once your basic needs are met, higher needs come into play. I learned that while reading books about business. Books about how to understand your customers. Even if all their basic needs are met, people are never satisfied. We crave purpose. We crave something higher. Something better. All the time and always. No matter how high you go, you'll always find something more to want. The same psychology that has been plaguing humanity for thousands of years, affected me. I didn't want to be a store manager my entire life. But I also wasn't sure what I wanted. So, I explored. I read even more books. I'd never read that much in my life, but I was on a mission. I was searching for something, some kind of meaning. I'd been given a second chance, and I wanted to do something with it. But I had no idea what it was. My first wrong decision, which led me to where I am now, came during work. I was manning a register while one of my employees took a break, and a customer left their debit card behind. I didn't notice it until a few customers later, when one held it up and said "I think someone forgot this." I took it, stuck it in the bottom of the cash drawer, and thanked that customer. My employee returned, and I went back to my office to work on more spreadsheets. At the end of their shift, the employee, whose register I had taken over, brought me the card. I told him I'd take care of it, and took it for safekeeping. As I turned it around in my hand after he left, my brain started to run things over in my head. I had questions. What was to stop me from sliding this card through the card reader at a register, choosing to process it as a credit card, and withdrawing cash? Who would know? How would they trace me? The store didn't have cameras. We were in a good enough neighborhood that my superior had decided not to pay for them. So, in all seriousness, who would know? Nobody.
My plan was devised while sitting in the office. It was just past lunch and time for a couple more employees to take breaks. I walked over, card in my pocket, and told the cashier that it was their time for a break. They happily walked to the break room, and I slipped into their place. The other cashier and I worked through a couple more customers, then we had nothing to do. The store wasn't busy during this time. I told the other cashier to take some returned merchandise and enter it into the inventory computer in the back. They obeyed, and I had my chance. Swiftly, I moved to the other cashier's register and typed on their machine. I logged in under their name. They were new, and I had just barely trained them on the system. I only knew their password because it was literally "1234567". I'd seen them type it so many times that I had incidentally memorized it. Their login was the key to my plan. With their account open, I scanned a pack of gum and rang out the "customer." I slid the card through the card reader, punched in $100 in cash to withdraw, and waited for the approval. Ding. Approved. The cash drawer popped open, I extracted a couple tens, some fives, and a 20 before slamming it closed. I snatched the receipt, stuffed everything into my pocket, including the gum, and went back to my register. When the other cashier returned, I told them I needed a few minutes in my car. That's where I hid the gum, receipt, and cash. On my way back in, I used my shirt to wipe the card clean of any fingerprints. I dropped it by the curb on my way into the store, stomping on it a couple of times to make it look abused. Taking a deep breath, I walked back inside. Son of a bitch. It worked.
There was never and kickback from that experiment. The customer never came to the register asking about their card, and the card disappeared from the curb outside before the end of the day. I suspect that the customer found it there when they came back for their card. I'm willing to guess that the customer talked to their bank about the extra transaction. The bank probably refunded them and gave them a new card, and the police never showed up asking questions. At home, I burned the receipt and the gum pack. I burned the gum pack so the barcode could never be traced to me. Just in case. To celebrate, I used the cash to treat myself to a very expensive dinner that night. All the evidence was gone, and I was clear and free. And the thrill was exactly what I'd been searching for.
From there, I brainstormed and even researched better ways to accomplish what I wanted. My goals were two-fold: 1) Make a decent chunk of money. Generate enough to save for long-term goals and happiness. 2) Not harm the identities of those who I used. And, of course, not get fucking caught. Generally, I planned this out by attacking many targets for small amounts, maybe a hundred dollars or less. If I hit six to ten targets a month, that'd be anywhere from $600 to $1000 extra a month. Which was enough. There were a lot of technical details that I had to plan for. I couldn't keep using my store: it was too obvious and the police would be on me in a month easily. I also couldn't use the same city. Some debit cards wouldn't let you withdraw cash without a pin. I got lucky the first time. And, what if the customer didn't have $100 in their account? I had to look at contingencies for contingencies. I also had to set rules for myself. Don't use an ATM. Don't use cards in stores that have cameras. Stay with crowds and look for cameras outside each store, like in the parking lots. Don't deposit the cash you took into your own bank account. Don't put it in a safety deposit box either. All kinds of rules based on my research and contingency planning. I bought a pen-camera off of ebay which I used while going to the store. I used it to film the person in front of me obscurely. I always got in line behind a man, too. When they pulled their card out, they often held it around their chest, like they wanted people to see their card. Rarely did people try to obscure their pins. At home, I would pull the video from my camera for the day and hope that at least one card was legible enough that I could extract the card number, expiration date, and name. A lot of people like to stand in line with their card on the counter until it's their time to pay. Or they hold it over the card reader like it's a race and they're waiting for the gun to fire. It's ridiculously easy for someone like me to extract that info with a camera. I set up an account on the darkweb where I would submit the card information, and a shiny, newly printed debit or credit card would show up in the mail. They routed the envelope through a network of darkweb "MailMen" so the envelope never even used the actual postal service. I would scuff the card up a bit, validate the data on my own card reader that I purchased through another darkweb service, and queue it up for use. I had a queue system so the cards were never used in perfect order, and were used a few months after I had snatched their information. I was grabbing information in stores that had cameras, so I wanted there to be time between when I grabbed it and when I used it. Sometimes this meant that the card went out of service before I could use it. But I was collecting enough cards that it didn't matter. I had no way to know if the cards would work, so before going to pay, I would have a contact buy a song on an obscure site using the card. It was a site that didn't require the security code printed on the back of regular cards, since I didn't have those codes. My phone would buzz after the transaction went through or failed, and I'd know whose card was next to be used. I'd get in, pay, withdraw cash, take the receipt, then leave. After each money run, I'd burn all the evidence and hide my cash. I had a good contingency plan for if a cashier asked for my ID. It was too expensive to get an ID for every card I planned to use once. So, I had my acting always ready to go. "Can I see your ID?" "Crap, that's my boyfriend's card, he's out in the car. We're just getting cash to pay the neighborhood kid who takes care of our lawn." If the cashier asked me to go and get my "boyfriend", I'd leave the store and never come back. But they always bought the excuse. And apparently I play a gay guy pretty well. Who would've thought?
I know what you're probably thinking. "God damn, Michael, get to the important parts! Blah, blah blah!" I don't get to brag much about what I've done and how clever it was, so I'm taking my last opportunity before I'm probably shot. So fuck off. During all of this, where it went on for three months without so much as a hiccup, I was doing other research. I was making more money, but those needs came back again and I found myself needing more. How could I make money faster? I'd ask myself that all the time, and skim the darkweb for methods that would work for me. That's when I turned to credit card fraud of the mail-in card variety. A new formula for making money right this second began to form. I used a feature of the MailMan darkweb service to set up a mailing address that would forward all mail to me. Then, I went online and bought a few hundred sets of personal data that were probably hacked from some company's database. Using this personal data, I signed up for three to four credit cards for each person. With those cards, I bought things online that I already intended to purchase for myself. Once the items arrived, I paid off the balance on the credit cards with my hard-earned money using prepaid cards that I bought with cash. Then, after a month or two of using the card, I would withdraw $100 in cash at a store. And then I'd store the card in my hiding place, never to be used again. If anyone ever looked at their credit reports and saw the credit card, it would look suspicious and odd, but would only be a $100 balance. They would, hopefully, just pay it off, close the card, and stop caring. Besides, my use of the card boosted their credit score. I paid the bills and fees on time, and kept the card open as long as I could afford, paying the yearly premium out of my own pocket. It was my way of saying thanks that they'd never hear. You give me some money, I help you boost your credit score. A symbiotic relationship. I even thought I'd earned the title of "ethical credit card scammer." No one, especially not the police, would see it that way, but that's how I justified my actions to myself. My mistake came from not researching my "clients" before I used their identity and their card. That's what got me caught. But not by the police.
I'd gotten used to the current routine to the point where I could do it in my sleep. I was making good money, much better compared to before. I kept my job as a store manager, and it felt so much more fulfilling because I was making the money I needed overall, and had something to look forward to: the thrill of identity theft. After some cautious planning, I rented out a nice, two-story duplex in one of my "client's" names and credit score. I kept my payments on-time and was the perfect tenant. The duplex's owner only did a soft pull on this client's credit, so it wouldn't show up on their credit report. Regardless, I had a contact on the darkweb set up some monitoring for this identity online. He assured me that if anything went wacky with the credit that made it seem like the client was suspicious or investigating, I'd get a text. I wanted a heads up if I needed to ditch my place. One month. It only took one month for them to find me. In the digital world, you would think one month was a long time, but it was too short for me. Too unexpected. I was in bed, sleeping, when I heard the front door squeak open. My eyes shot open. A million fears and thoughts ran through my head. It didn't matter if it was just a thief or the FBI. Either way, the police would be involved, and I'd be caught. I rolled out of bed silently. Watching my half-open bedroom door, I grabbed my sheets and spread them tight across my bed. I wanted to make it look like no one was home. Snatching my wallet and keys from the bedside table, I dropped to the ground and rolled under my bed. The boxes I kept under the bed for storage hid me from view once I arranged them. Footsteps came up the stairs. I wished I'd thought to buy a gun. But buying a gun took heavy background checks, and I hadn't figured out how to bypass those yet. Heavy boots tried to sneak down the hall. I saw two of them, one behind the other. Both black and menacing. They moved like they had training, but not much. From the way the floor bent under each step, they were both probably heavy around the belly. The door opened as they entered the room. Upon seeing the empty bed, they paused, unsure of what to do next. One of them whispered, loud enough that I could hear. "Not home." "So we wait." I bit my lip and cursed internally. They were looking for me, whoever they were. Probably not cops: they wore jeans, not uniforms. They could be plainclothes, sure, but I just felt that they weren't cops. I heard the front door squeak again, but the two men were too busy whispering to notice. I wondered if the door was just open in the wind. My reply came in the form of a voice from the hall. "Evening, fellas. Hands where I can see them." Shit. A cop. This guy's feet moved gracefully under him. Definitely trained. Suddenly, the two men rushed the cop, and I watched him fall as they shoved their way past him. Through the dimness, I could see that it wasn't a cop at all. It was Jack, my neighbor across the street. He was ex-military, like me, though he'd been in the service a lot longer than I had. I heard the front door fly open and slam shut as the two would-be thieves left the house. Jack stayed on the ground, sighing. He probably figured that pursuit wasn't worth the trouble. I weighed my options before finally pushing boxes out of the way and crawling out from under the bed. Jack watched, surprised. "You were under there the whole time?" He asked. "They weren't here long, thanks to you." Jack eyed my perfectly made bed, then where I'd crawled from. "Smart tactic for hiding. I'll have to remember that one." "Thanks." We stood in the dark for a mi