Every week I found myself helping Grandma. Generally, she needs help doing her usual grocery run but this week was different. She said that her computer had a red screen. I thought she meant the blue screen of death. I have never heard of a red screen.
Upon arriving, I noticed a lot of SWAT vans surrounding the front of her old folk’s home. This type of action was very uncommon in this neighborhood. So I took some pictures for Snapchat and went through a different entrance of an underground garage. This place was secured and needed a password to get into anything like the garage. ‘62354′ I quickly punch in the keypad, and I was able to get into the garage. I parked in Grandma’s Parking spot since she was too old to drive, she kept it for her visitors.
I get to the top of the garage stairs, and my phone begins to ring. This is the 8th time today. This was common with her to call a number of times to see how far I was so she can be ‘decent’ or something. Decent to her is not having her dentures out in the opening. I get to her room and knock on her door.
“Oh, my!” Grandma was startled on the other side of the door.
“Grandma, it’s me!” I yelled. The door started to unlock and slowly opens. She peeks through a crack. I can see that she was alarmed and extremely nervous. Normally it is over nothing.
Normally. So I didn’t think much about it.
“Is there anyone with you?” She asked.
I know my Grandma can flip out on little things and of course, this is one of those moments. She didn’t leave her house for a week once, thinking that World War 3 would start after some major terrorist attacks.
“No Grandma. Just me.” I responded. “Are you waiting on Jim?”
Jim was like my Grandma’s best friend. He was her Maintenance Man. He would adjust the heat and change bulbs for her.
“No. The man on the screen.” She responded, trembling. “I tried to call Jim, and he didn’t pick up. I think they got him. I thought they got you too.”
Okay, this is getting a little crazy.
“Let me in, Grandma,” I demanded as I lean against the door.
She quickly opens the door, and I raced in. She slams the door behind me and locks all the locks. This is definitely like her when she has her crazy moments.
“What is going on?” I asked.
“My computer.” She responded. “I did that Facebook thing like you asked. I shared things, and I can talk to my sister in Florida and my Best friend in Oregon.”
“That’s awesome!” I said.
“No! It is not!” Grandma said. “They are coming after me. They said they now where I’m at!”
She was obviously scared of something.
“Let me see your computer,” I asked.
The computer was turned off. After investigating the system, I noticed it was unplugged. I went to plug in the computer. Her computer chair was also on its side, laying on the floor.
“No, NO!” Grandma shouted. “They are trying to take my information!”
I raise my hand to try to calm grandma.
“It’s okay,” I said. “I will take care of it.”
I plugged in the computer, and it started to boot up. I pick up her chair and sit in front of the computer.
“The man on the screen said he will find me!” Grandma begins to rant again.
“Let me talk to him.”
The computer loaded up like normal. Well a bit slower, but still everything seemed normal.
“Where’s this man?” I asked grandma.
“On the internet,” Grandma said. She takes a seat on the sofa behind me and begins to rock back and forth.
“Okay, I’ll talk to him.”
I clicked on her internet link which took me straight to her Facebook. Her login information was saved on the system, so it automatically logs me in for ease of access for grandma to her Facebook games.
Then I finally noticed something strange. Her Facebook notifications and friend requests were through the roof. I’m talking about several thousand, maybe millions combined. She had shared some .GOV files and apparently, a lot of people loved the idea.
“What did you do?” I asked grandma.
“Susana. She told me about Google. She said I could find anything on there. I wanted to get some coupons for the store. I was racing to get them before you got here. I found some interesting articles about recording calls and shared them. Then the man came.” She said.
Susana was grandma’s best friend. She was living with her kids and grandkids and kept up with the times. My grandma always listened to Susana when it came to modern times. Susana had a way to explain it better to grandma then I ever could.
I went through grandma’s search history. I noticed a lot of random .GOV sites. I clicked on one.
“Access revoked!” popped on the red screen.
“What is this? I asked Grandma.
“Oh, I just hit the back button.” She said. “Then you can sign back onto the internet.”
I hit back until a login screen to access GOVERNMENT FILES CONFIDENTIAL.
“That’s it!” She said. “Let me sign in for you.”
“Uh, okay.” I thought.
She typed in 62354 in the user field.
“Grandma, that’s not…” I begin to say.
Then she typed 62354 in the password.
I stopped my sentence to entertain the thought.
She clicked ‘sign in’.
‘ENTERING VIDEO CHAT.’ Appeared in bright red letters on a black screen. A man then appears. He is in a grey suit with a secret service badge hanging off his breast pocket.
“So you came back!” He said. A black box appears on the bottom right side of the screen. It was Grandma’s Camera that fell behind the desk.
“You don’t understand,” I tried to shout then I remember that Grandma didn’t have a microphone.
Then I noticed there was a chat box on the bottom that continued a previous conversation.
The conversation is along the lines of;
USGOV: You don’t have permissions to access.
USGOV: What do you want?
USGOV: This is not humorous. You will be arrested, if you don’t immediately leave.
USGOV: We have locked onto your location. We are on our way.
ME: Coupons for milk
ME: Coupons for juice
ME: Coupons for Medication
First, let me say grandma is slow, but she is old. She has no idea what she had done. This is an honest mistake, right?
“Oh shit,” I said. I thought back to the SWAT team outside who were probably waiting for my Grandma.