Shortly before the time Laurie had indicated they could meet, Petra asked, “Are you and I doing any speculation on what her reasoning or excuse might be?”
Jacob looked up toward the ceiling, thoughtful for a moment, then replied, “Nope. A consummate liar will say anything, and I simply don’t want to waste time wondering. We could however do a fast rock, paper, scissors combat for the best two out of three on who gets to back her into the corner. Or I could just defer to your expertness in the game.”
Petra chuckled then turned as the door opened, and Laurie entered.
“Excuse me, is now a good time to talk?”
Petra replied, “Certainly, Laurie, come on in. I was just saying to Jacob, how much fun we had the other night, you and me. He was asking for some of the details about the number you called to share the photos you had taken. Can you explain the details to him? I would hate to misrepresent the processes you are following or who is telling you to follow them.”
Laurie’s eyes got wide, and panic flashed across her face. Tears rolled down her face as she sputtered and gasped for a breath. “My mum is so ill. This job is all I have to take care of her. She requires so much care, medicine, and well, I am all alone.”
That much was true based on what they’d been able to turn up on Laurie so far with only a cursory search. That, however, did not mean it was the truth. This kind of background was easy to build. Heck, Julie or JAC could build this sort of background in between changing diapers on the twins.
Petra prompted, “I understand that, Laurie, but then how did you get this job?”
Laurie sniffled and wiped her nose on a well-worn handkerchief she had been wringing out between her hands. “I signed up with a part-time agency several months ago. I had not heard anything at all from them until the day before I started here. They called me at home that evening and said I was to report into Mr. Mike. The voice on the other end of the call gave me my orders of what I was to do and when - from the moment I sign onto a system, what screens to photograph, and the numbers to send information to via text. I was informed these were the job requirements, per the boss.
“They did not seem too hard, just time sensitive. I have always been great at keeping schedules. I presumed the boss, being Mr. Mike, would know everything. The morning I started work he looked up the fulfillment email sent by the agency. Nodded at me. Provided me with a quick view of my desk, logon information and the like. That was it.”
She began weeping again then paused and remarked, “Every evening when I leave, I tell him I completed the tasks for the day, just like I had been told by the woman on the phone. However, Mr. Mike barely acknowledges my comments, outside of raising his hand in dismissal from his office. It’s like he doesn’t hear me or doesn’t care.”
Jacob interjected, “What was the reason you were not in the office yesterday then?”
She looked up with red eyes and a swollen nose and answered, “It was me mum’s day to go to the doctor. My orders were to phone the woman if I ever had to be out, which I did. She was understanding and told me to look at the computer today to fulfill my tasks and not to worry about the boss. She would take care of making certain it was not a problem as long as I stuck to the job and didn’t tell anyone what I was doing.”
Petra furrowed her brow and asked, “Did you phone her from your fruit phone?”
Jacob shook his head, feeling a bit nauseous for what he was going to suggest, and said, “Okay, here is what you will do until one of us tells you to stop…”
They outlined her new job rules in addition to the ones she had been told when she took the job. Neither Jacob nor Petra thought it would take more than a few days to run through the various numbers and track the data flows through the Cloud Service Provider. Jacob also noted this Cloud Service Provider might be worthy of a closer look at the data being stored.
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