"Would Mr Seeger please report to the Principal's office" came over the intercom.
A couple of his friends started humming the funeral march "da da dada, da di da da da dada" and others joined in. Miss Adele stopped them. "Now off you go Pete, see what the principal wants, and don't dawdle on the way back, we have lots to do this term"
Pete walked down and was ushered in by the secretary immediately, that alone set off some alarm bells; the principal always kept people waiting on ... well, on principle. Inside his office he had two people sitting with him. One was a large man, large in every way, he was clearly overweight, but looked like he carried it well and could handle himself, he was around six feet tall and was clearly the kind of person to be in charge of most situations he found himself in; there was an air of confidence about him, a calm seemed to hang around him as if there was nothing that could upset his equilibrium. Instinctively Pete Seeger knew this was a man to be careful of. The other was smaller, wirey, dressed in a dark green suit. At first sight one might mistakenly think he was too slight to be of any concern, but that belied his nature. He was like the proverbial coiled spring, Pete sensed that this would be a man to avoid if violence was called for. Both wore sun glasses, the second wore a pair of the deepest shade of green, almost black but something just suggested green was embedded deep within the glass. They turned and looked at him as he entered, the big man smiled, the smaller scowled.
"Mr Seeger, these gentlemen are from the NP Security division, they have shown me their credentials and I am happy they are genuine. We would like to ask a few questions –"
"Thank you Principal Sarstedt, perhaps we should take it from here? I'm sure you have more important work to do" The big man said; and without really understanding why or how, Peter Sarstedt, Principal of Harper Valley High for 15 years, found himself edged out of his own office by the slighter, scarier member of the duo.
Once the principal was outside, trying to make the best of it, he told his secretary he would visit some of the classes today. The two men listened intently until they heard Principal Sarstedt leave the outer office, then the smaller of the two went out and smiled at Mrs Clark, she smiled back. Within minutes he had her first name (Petula) and she was offering to bring two cups of coffee (one with milk and three sugars, one black 'my friends think I'm sweet enough, what do you think Petula?') for them.
He walked back in, smiled and said "Now, listen you fucking turdbrained, mother-fucking arse-licking little dickwad. You better tell us what you been upto before I tear you a new set of pointy ears! I'm patient but frigging with our fucking database has made me bloody angry and you are gonna regret it!" he started to advance towards Peter, drawing out what looked suspiciously like a knuckleduster as he did so.
The big man interrupted the flow of invective and bile "TescoStarwarsBrastrapPoodleWrist, I'm sure we don't need violence; I'm sure this is a misunderstanding.
Now, Peter, or do you prefer Pete, nothing too much to worry about; we just want to know the details of how you hacked the NP website."
Pete was still trying to get his head round the name. Was that a code name? "Can I call you Tesco for short? And you are?"
"NO YOU FUCKING CAN'T BOLLOCK BRAIN!!! I swear if this child-arse-loving, piss-smelling little weasel doesn't start talking I am gonna chew his arse off with my fucking teeth!"
"TescoStarwarsBrastrapPoodleWrist, I repeat, let us try the easy route first. Let me introduce myself. My name is, can you guess?" He whipped off his dark glasses, "No? You call me Santa Claus here, I have other names. I can't tell you my real name. This is TescoStarwarsBrastrapPoodleWrist. He's my Security Elf. We like to say he deals with Elf and Safety. No? Oh well, one for the crackers I suppose. I should explain that elves build their names up, generation by generation. The names chosen tend to go in fashions, not unlike here I think. When TescoStarwarsBrastrapPoodleWrist chose his name there was a fashion for supermarkets, Lidl was a particularly popular prefix I remember. As you can see, other fashions have been films, underwear, dogs, body parts. WallmartGonewiththewindPantieDalmationBungleToilet is the oddest name I think from your point of view. After fifteen generations they scrap all the old names and start again. Seems odd to you I know, but it works. Oh, no, what about old TurkeyPenisFloppydiscTurd? That would seem odd to you too. They are just words though to distinguish from each other.
So, niceities over, we have to clarify a couple of things. I'm friendly, but TescoStarwarsBrastrapPoodleWrist isn't, as you can see. If you cooperate, sweetness and light, if you don't a world of pain. Okay?" He said this all with a beaming, jolly smile on his face. Pete shook his head to make sure he hadn't fallen asleep in class. No, he was awake.
Outside, Petula Clark was red with embarrassment at the language emanating from the office, should she call Principal Sarstedt back? It seemed quieter now, perhaps it would be alright. She went to make the coffee. She was still thinking that that little man had suggested things with his eyes that she would like to explore further. Peter Sarstedt was taking extra pains in explain a mathematical problem to Stephanie Nicks, whose open blouse and bosomy chest had nothing to do with the interest he was taking in her.
It had started back in September, the eighth to be precise. Off school and bored, Pete had started surfing, he'd looked at "Up Skirt", boring and clearly mostly acted; graduated through a few more unsavoury sites to "Debbie Does Anal" which was neither as erotic as it promised, nor sexy. All a bit sad he concluded. He surfed some more and eventually found himself watching "Hitler's Secret War Machines" on YouTube, again! Even this he found less interesting than usual. Did Hitler really plan to build an 800 ton flying tank which could launch V4 rockets from the moon? Why did he type Santa Claus.com? Then various other alternatives? Eventually he found "St Nicholas.np.com", but it needed a log in, it was an https site. He searched for it the next day on Google, nothing, then Bing, Yahoo, Ask, DuckDuckGo, even Yandex. Nothing showed it. He had to remember the address and then it came up. What was so carefully hidden to not be found by any browser search engine? He tried logging in. Of course it failed. But he noticed, after 20 goes, it seemed to have no limit to the number of goes to find a password. He wrote some code to feed passwords into the password request box; then he left it running. The software started with a list of 300 keywords associated with Christmas and then varied them, switched letters to numbers, added symbols. It just kept trying; nothing seemed to stop it running as the screen just kept accepting a new attempt and responded "Not today thank you" each time.
36 hours passed. Every so often Pete looked at the screen to make sure it was still running. At 37 hours and 14 minutes it stopped and a second screen appeared requesting a user and password. By the time Pete saw this it had timed out, but he knew the last code attempted from the log he'd written as an afterthought. Good job he thought, else I'd have to run the whole thing again. Connecting again, he immediately was able to progress to the second login screen. It took 18 attempts to find the login 'SantaClaus' with the password 'Rudolf' "Not even Rud01f," he muttered, disgusted at the poor security; then he started wandering round. There were tabs for suppliers, tabs for users (he made himself a new user, 'Bauble', password 'Baub1e'; that way the user SantaClaus wouldn't see he (or she) hadn't logged in when it said he had), and a tab for customers.
This last tab had a search screen and naturally he typed in his own name. 321 responses found. He honed the search with name, age, city and there he was. What was this? It knew his address, his parents and ... what was this? History? He clicked and a list of years came up. From 1 to 8 each year had a present listed in that column, then it was blank. What started to freak him out was that (at least in the later years, he couldn't remember what he got when he was one year old) the present shown was always one of the presents that he had found at the foot of his bed. 6:Thomas Tank engine set (he remembered that, he had been really pleased), 7:DillyMeen Rubber Machine (he remembered the fad for DillyMeen, he remembered the toy vaguely, he couldn't remember what it did), 8:Wild Bill Dressing Up set with handgun. He still had that. He remembered seeing the odd look from both parents when he found it. Then there was nothing, each line of his age was blank after, but it did show his change of address at 12 from Swann to Harper Valley. Whoever was keeping track of him was good at it.
A thought occurred to him – it was too much of a coincidence that he had found the website and they were tracking him – he tried his friend Robert Dylan. He was there! He had presents listed until he was 10, his sister Margaret until she was 9, his cousin Donald Osmond until he was 12. He tried his father and found him too. This was getting weird. He tried someone as unconnected as possible: Glenn Campbell, someone he had seen on TV that day, and (after some more focussed searching) there he was. Presents listed until 11. Really? Someone was tracking when people stopped believing in Santa Claus? That was the conclusion he came to based on his own history. The next day he rang up Bob and asked him, "When did you stop believing in Father Christmas Bob?"
.... There is more of this story ...