Guilty, or Not Guilty
Chapter 1: The Beginning
As I sit in my power chair here in this room, guarded by two bailiffs and awaiting the outcome of my trial, I think back on my life. Why did I end up here and how could I have changed my future?
My name is William Henry Harrison. Yeah, like the ninth president of the US. My parents were very history oriented and I even have some ties back to him through one of his sons. Certainly you remember him, he was the president with the shortest tenure in office; he served thirty-two days before he died of complications due to pneumonia. Before Ronald Reagan took office in 1981, he was the oldest president at 68 years and 23 days when he was inaugurated on March 4th, 1841. Reagan was 69, and lacking 18 days of being 70.
Anyway, my childhood was pretty typical for a middle income family until I turned 12 and puberty hit me like a ton of bricks. My life before I was 12 was like the typical pre-teen. I was fairly tall and skinny at 5' 4" and 92 pounds. Then I started gaining weight sometime after my twelfth birthday. By the time I was 13; I was 5' 7" and weighed 157 pounds. I achieved my full height of 5'-10" and 210 pounds at 14. My weight went up from there while my height remained the same. I was the fat kid everyone made fun of in school.
I was tested, probed, and manhandled by dozens of doctors and specialists when this all started; all trying to figure out what was making me gain all the weight. I was put on a diet, and I ate salads with little or no dressing for a month, and I still gained twenty pounds. I had liquid protein drinks for a month, and gained thirty pounds. I tried eating tofu, sprouts, and only green vegetables and gained twenty-two pounds in that month. I felt like a pincushion from all the fluids collected from me during the first year of my growth spurt. The doctors and specialists finally all threw their collective hands up and told my parents, "We just don't know what's wrong with your son." They, like me, had had enough of this testing, poking, and prodding of my body and left it alone.
Word finally got around at school that there was nothing I could do about my condition, and I was pretty much left alone to suffer in silence and loneliness. For still even more unknown reasons, I stopped growing at 19; well, I stopped gaining weight anyway.
I had one redeeming feature, however, I was smart. I was smarter than everyone else, including the teachers. I finished high school at sixteen and proceeded to further my education with a very good academic scholarship from a college in central Texas. I had just graduated with my bachelor's degree in business management at eighteen, when my parents and sister were killed in an automobile crash on their way home from my graduation. I grew up in Western New York State, near Buffalo. Since my parents were gone, I decided to stick around in Texas, and see if I could find a job. Besides, I liked the weather.
I was now approaching 350 pounds and it was becoming much more difficult to get around on campus. I had met and made friends with a man, Jeremy Peters, who had been in a horrific fire and had lost the use of his legs. He, like me, had become very obese due to lack of exercise and his insurance had provided him with a motorized wheelchair, at first; but then he graduated to a 'power chair'. It was just a fancy motorized wheelchair, but the respect that he gained as a result allowed him to become a less pitied individual.
I asked Jeremy where he had gotten his chair and went to see the company to get me one as well. This tremendously helped with the way I was now seen by the student body, as well as my professors. I had to pay for this chair on my own, of course, since I had no insurance. The people at the medical supply place turned me on to a great insurance agent. I obtained medical and life insurance from him.
I had a knack for seeing things and being able to improve on them; I didn't know why, but I could. I wrote an improved version of a popular accounting software program during my junior year, and sold it to the software firm for a million dollars. I had money of my own now, and didn't need the scholarship, but it helped. I had just turned eighteen when I sold the software, so I was set and I had invested the money. I decided to continue with my schooling after the tragedy with my parents and sister, so that I could gather more insight into how things worked. I had my master's in mechanical engineering and computer sciences two years later. I created my own company, hired a couple of my fellow students, and WHH Enterprises was born.
I held nine patents and owned several software programs within three years, and had to hire two more graduating students who had very high potential. I was twenty-four years old and had never been kissed by a woman other than one in my own family. I never knew my aunts on my father's side, as they were spread all over the US. My mother was the only girl in her family, and I was an obese guy with no potential for getting a girl other than paying for the privilege. With all the scare of AIDS, STDs, and other problems associated with ladies of the evening, I chose to remain a virgin.
Love is on the Horizon
That is until I went into Stevenson, Stevenson, and Hoyt, Attorneys at Law. There I met a beautiful young woman named Monique Stevens. Monique was a junior associate lawyer that was supposed to tell me what the firm wanted for their computer security. Yeah, I had my fingers in a lot of pies, and corporate security was just one of many. Anyway, we met and I was smitten, but the hard part was that I just knew that she wouldn't even give me the time of day without this job.
We worked closely together for three days, going over everything that her firm wanted, and showing me what was where and how it now worked. I then said that I would be back with a proposal for them. I asked if I should come directly to her or someone else.
"Actually, Bill, this is for my boss, the younger Mr. Stevenson. But you can stop in or call me anytime you have any questions. I can take the proposal to Mr. Stevenson or we can go together to present it."
I was totally flabbergasted; the woman seemed to really like me. Sure we had spend most of three days going over the whole layout and what they expected of my company, but I never expected such a result with me in my power chair and with all my weight,.
Let me say what I really looked like naked for the record. I was still five-ten and was three hundred and fifty-four pounds. I had decent lower legs and face, but the rest of me was big. I had like fourteen inch forearms, with a fifty-five inch waist and I wore a size four or five-x shirt. I had some flabby upper arms, floppy man boobs, and a stomach that hung down to my dick. My ass and my calves were slim compared to the rest of my body. You have to picture that I was this obese monster that had to use a power chair just to move around. But Monique didn't seem to see all of that; she saw something else. I just knew that she did.
I went back to my office to work up my proposal. I knew that training would be a big part of it. These high powered attorneys had really big egos, and would think that they were beneath having to be trained on passwords, user names, and such. I sat for about five minutes and decided that I needed just a bit more information about these people and their law firm.
I brought their website up and did a little snooping around. I found most of the lawyers posted their e-mail addresses on the site, so that people could e-mail them with questions and keep track of events in a client's case. I knew that if they were smart, all e-mails should go to a central point in their IT department or Security, then be funneled to the proper attorney or law clerk.
That's not what I found when I did a little more checking. I was getting a direct connection to the attorney's secretary or law clerk, and the actual attorney in some cases. From there, I could follow back to any lawyer I wanted. Their system had so many holes in it that it looked more like lace than Swiss cheese. I was able to hack into their procedures, case files, briefs, and everything. I even got into the personnel files and could look at the billable hours for each employee. This was really going to be a big sale if I could get the senior partners to accept my proposal.
I had a detailed proposal two days later, itemizing each area that needed work and the cost for each service. I then totaled the services and it came out to one point four million to get them fully protected. I could give them a stripped down version for three hundred thousand.
I called Monique and asked her to set up a meeting with the partners and the Board so that I could present my findings and my proposal. She called me back about an hour later and said that the meeting was set up for 1:30 PM on Thursday of next week.
"Monique, I do want to tell you what a pleasure it has been for me to work with you on this project. I do hope that I haven't taken you away from your normal work for too long. I don't want to think that you have been working overtime to make up for the time we were together."
"Bill, it has been a real pleasure for me to meet you and get acquainted with you and to show you our operation. Besides, I was between major assignments when you needed to be shown our operation. It was a very distinct pleasure to become acquainted with you and I hope that I can see you again when your proposal is approved. Can you send me a copy of the proposal so that I can distribute it to our partners and Board? That way they can have an idea as to what is being proposed."
"Of course, Monique, I will fax a copy of the proposal over to you. It's ten pages long and I have a fifteen page findings report that should go with it. I look forward to seeing you again on Thursday. Goodbye, Monique."
"I'll see you Thursday, Bill, goodbye."
Did she say that it was a pleasure meeting me? That can't be what I heard. A woman interested in me? How can that be? I must be mistaken, she's just being polite, which is more than I usually get. I could have sent Sean Michaels to go over all the preliminaries, but this law firm is one of the real high rollers in this area, and I wanted to make sure we got everything just right. I don't usually do any of the preliminary groundwork, that's why I have the people I have working for me. They are my normal business persona, but with this client, I wanted to make sure that we had everything down right, and also see if I could get an insight into what they had and what was needed to make them safe and secure, physically and electronically.
With that project done for now, I turned to our next big project. Gary Nordstrom, one of my engineers, was working on a new, improved design for a piece of equipment most of the semiconductor companies in the area needed in their everyday operations. Gary had interned at AMD in Austin for a while when he was still in school. Together, we had come up with some fixes for the equipment, making it more efficient and less prone to breakdowns. I then got our patent attorney on the line and said, "Jim, we have another breakthrough item and process for you to work up."
"If this keeps up, Bill, you're going to have to hire at least one more patent attorney just to keep me from tearing all my hair out." he laughingly said. With all the new inventions and software improvements we were producing, I had to hire an attorney just for patents. I had found Jerry Gardner in the phone book and called him with my first real invention. This was after the software improvement back in my junior year. We became friends from the first day we met, and the rest is history, as they say. Jerry is in his fifties and bald as a cue ball. He started losing his hair in college and was completely bald by 30. He got me thinking that I probably needed someone new to help Jerry and to take over so that he could retire someday. I thought I just might know where to find another lawyer, or at least a good place to start. I would discuss it with Monique the next time I saw her.
The rest of the week went fine, and I looked forward to my presentation on Thursday. I had concentrated on one real sleazeball attorney, Samuel Goodman. When I met him while touring with Monique, he immediately sidled up to her, put his arm around her shoulder, and patted her arm, saying that she was one of their brightest up and comers. I saw the flinch and cringe that Monique gave when he touched her. I could tell he was my target for proving that they needed electronic security.
It was easy for me to get into his computer, and I found out a lot of things from it. He was cheating on his wife with two of the law clerks in the office, as well as an attorney in another firm, and also cheating on his billable hours. I could see him making appointments with his conquests from his e-mails, and this was during the day while he was billing the hours to a case and having an intern or junior associate doing the work. His paper trail was enormous, and he was so stupid by leaving everything on his computer. Some of the e-mails could actually be classified as x-rated, not counting the number of pictures and videos he had on his company computer and his laptop. Because he also worked from home, he had a link to his home computer active on his work computer and I was able to see all the evidence of his cheating, bribing officials, and other nefarious dealings he was into. All in all, he was a real bastard of the first order. None of this evidence was in my report or the presentation. I would present this if there was any reluctance during my presentation. I just knew that Sam would object to the invasion of his privacy and try to submarine this presentation. I really was kind of looking forward to it.
Thursday came and I dressed in my best suit, cleaned my chair up, and had my laptop with the Power Point presentation, along with everything I would need to support it, in case they didn't have the equipment. However Monique said they would have everything ready. I never take chances when presenting a client with a proposal for this much money. I even had my ramp van cleaned up in case anyone saw me drive in. This was the big time, and I wanted everything to look right. I arrived an hour early so that I could pass through security and get parked on the fourth floor of the garage, next to the elevators, where there were a few handicapped spaces for visitors there.
The bottom floor had a few shops, including a deli and security for the building. The second to fifth floors of the nine-story building was the parking garage for the building. The sixth floor was the reception area and the junior associates; the seventh was the law library and their IT area; the eighth was the junior associates and interns, and the ninth was the senior and junior partners and the Board room.
I checked in with the receptionist and she called Monique. I saw the smile on her face from the moment she saw me as she stepped off the elevator. I had a visitor's red badge clipped to my lapel that I had received from security on the first floor as I had driven in.
The meeting was to be held in the Board room. That cavernous room could easily seat seventy-five people, and probably a hundred in a pinch. Everything was there, equipment wise, so I was able to leave one of my roll-around suitcases in a corner. That one held my projection and audio equipment. I was able to plug my laptop into their system, and I was set.
Monique asked, "Would you like a soda, coffee, or tea, Bill?"
"A bottle of cold water would be great; I know I'm a little early. I always try to be early, since you can't be too careful concerning the traffic. I trust that you are doing well today." I was trying to make small talk to ease my jitters a little. I'm not normally this nervous, but being in Monique's presence did something to my normally calm disposition.
"Yes, Bill, I am well today and I am so glad to see you again. I hope that they like your presentation. I have read both the report and the proposal and I think they will be impressed with the detail and insight that you have provided. There may be a little reluctance from a couple of individuals, but that's to be expected when this much money is involved. I'll get that water. You relax, and I'll be right back."
That chemistry that occurred between the two of us was uncanny again. I could tell that Monique was truly happy that I had come, and that I was interested in her well-being., I could feel the weight of the world lift from my shoulders when she smiled at me. When she shook my hand upon meeting me at the reception desk this morning, I felt something run up my arm that I just couldn't identify. I really hoped that this was the beginning of something that could last a lifetime. I mean, if she was truly interested in me as someone other than just another human being, then she was my very first girlfriend since I was 12. I have been fat, then grossly obese, for over half my life. Let's face it; no girl or woman wanted to be seen with me, or to be a close friend, let alone be a girlfriend.
Monique came back with a bottle of water for me in a bottle coozie. I took a drink and felt a little better. Monique sat and talked to me, making sure that I had the seat at the end of the long table.
This table had to be at least four tables screwed together. I could barely see the seams in the table, the grain of the wood went along the width of the table, rather than the length like normal. So the wood had all these places where the planks that made up the top had a demarcation line where each plank abutted the next and it looked like one long table made up of these twenty to thirty-six inch planks. This was definitely old growth timber and looked to be redwood. This table alone cost as much or more than my whole company earned in a year. Wow, and I had thought that my one point four million dollar proposal would maybe be too much for this company. I now see just how much this firm was worth. There were small microphones in a stand in several places along the center of this fifty foot by four foot table.
At 1:25, several people with laptops came in and sat down closer to my end of the table. Another group came in and sat down a couple of minutes later, leaving the last ten chairs vacant. At 1:32, according to the digital clock behind the center chair at the head of the table, the rest of the senior partners and the Board came in and sat down. The door was closed by an assistant, and then the Chairman of the Board stood up.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we are here today to see the presentation by Mr. Harrison regarding our physical and electronic security. You all have been provided a copy of his original findings and his proposal, so please save your questions for after his presentation. Mr. Harrison, you have the floor."
"Thank you, Mr. Stevenson. I just want to go over a few things, and then we can get to the questions and concerns you have with regard to my proposal."
I launched into my spiel and was soon finished. I showed some pictures of their physical security, showing both where they had good practices in place, and where there were some areas that needed some bolstering. I then showed some of the things where electronic security really mattered, and I explained about the atrocious e-mail problems they had. After all was said and done, I let the question period be opened.
"Mr. Harrison, I see that for the most part, electronic security is our main failing, what is the one thing we need more than any other in that respect?" Mr. Stevenson senior asked.
"Mr. Stevenson, I think the worst problem you have is the e-mail system on your website. With just a little maneuvering I was able to get into your e-mail system and, from there, I could gain access to your whole system, mainframe, and individual computers, both desktops and laptops, whether it was directly connected to the data system or through your in-house Wi-Fi. From there I found briefs, case files, and even personnel files on all of your personnel. When I got into your system, I likened it to a piece of tatted lace rather than a piece of Swiss cheese. Electronically speaking, there are so many holes in your normal everyday operation that it is surprising that someone has not already stolen millions from your coffers. I also found some problems that at this time I would prefer not to reveal and would only do so in private with yourself and your head of security."
At that point, the meeting turned into pandemonium and Monique and I left while the room erupted in accusations from just about everyone. We sat outside the board room once we had made our escape. Monique asked, "Bill, is it true that you found problems that would require security and the CEO of the company?"
"Yes, Monique, I found many improprieties, from many of the senior partners. Charging their time for cases that their juniors and law clerks are doing, some inter-office love affairs (which are against company policy), and a few other things that I won't mention, except to Mr. Stevenson. Now please don't be upset with me! When I do a job, I dig deep into it. That's because if everyone does as they have been told to do when I leave, security wise; then they are airtight and no one can get into their systems. I will even guarantee that for six months, or longer if they accept my updates as we counter any threats that come along."
"Bill, that is really impressive. Why don't we go to my office until they get done in there? I'm sure that they'll contact me once cooler heads prevail in there. I assume that you have already eaten."
"I haven't, actually. I don't like to give presentations right after a meal. It makes me lethargic and not up to par. I assume that you have eaten lunch too, or were you busy like me, preparing for this."
"You're right, Bill. I was busy getting things set up for the meeting and skipped lunch today. We do have a nice deli downstairs if you would like to get something."
"It would be my pleasure, Monique. Lead the way."
Monique stopped, went into an office, spoke to a lady, then we got into the elevator and headed down to the first floor. This treatment from Monique was totally out of my realm of experience. I was at a loss for words, and really unsure of myself as to what the protocol was for this type of situation.
We ordered and I insisted that I pay for the meal. I got pastrami on rye, with provolone cheese, spicy mustard, and water, Monique ordered a small salad with some turkey and grated cheddar cheese, and an unsweetened iced tea. We found a table and she moved a chair over so I could drive up to the table. We talked about where we came from and what our plans for the future were; mainly generalities as something to talk about while eating. I ate half of my sandwich and asked for a box or bag to take home for my supper. Monique did comment on my eating only half a sandwich.
"Monique, I really don't eat much for a meal. I have been this way for a long time. I was twelve when I started gaining weight. I finally stopped at age nineteen. It is a medical problem that no one can figure out. It has never been determined as to why it happened. I can actually walk around some, but my knees and feet take a real beating if I do it for too long. I knew I couldn't stand for the whole presentation, so I opted for my chair so that I could make it through without being impolite by sitting too often. I really don't like to talk about this part of my life, but you seem to be different. You seem interested in that information, so I'm explaining it all to you. I really am very uncomfortable about it because it ended up with me losing my parents and my sister."
"I'm so sorry to bring up sad memories, Bill. I hope that you accept my apology. We will never speak of this again."
Her cell phone rang just then, and we were requested to go upstairs again.
I put my wrapped sandwich in the back pocket of my chair, and we headed up to see what was left of the melee that had taken place while we ate.
There was only five people in the board room when we entered. There was Mr. John Stevenson, Sr., and four others who probably the firm's heavy hitters. John asked that Monique leave. She would be called when we were finished.
"Mr. Harrison ... er ... William, if I may call you that?"
"Actually, I prefer 'Bill', Sir."
"For this meeting, it's John, Bill. This is my brother, Ron, and Rob Hoyt, my other partner. Then we have Jim Davis, the head of our security team, and Kevin Baker, the head of our IT division. Now what exactly have you uncovered about our little nest of vipers here?"
I took my laptop out and walked right into their system and showed them all of the things I had found about Sam Goodman, Daniel Stark, and Ted Lorenzo. These were the three worst offenders: Sam with his porn, womanizing, and charging time when he was out of the office with one of his conquests. I even had his credit card history, since he was charging half of the rendezvous with his harem girls as a business expense. Dan, another senior partner, was pawning most of his work onto the junior associates and his legal clerks, while he played games and surfed porn sites on his desktop. Ted was running another business out of his office. He was a ticket scalper, as well as an eBay shopper.
At the end of my in-depth report, I said, "These were the worst of the problems I saw. The other big problem is passwords. There are user names and passwords for people that haven't worked here in over three years. They should have been purged as soon as they left your employ. I'm sure that you noticed the big budget item for training. This is so we can train your people on the importance of passwords and how to construct one. Now for example, John, who is your idol, the one person that if you could actually be or maybe meet some day?"
"I had always wanted to have met Raymond Burr; his portrayal of Perry Mason was what I always strived for. Why this question?"
"Here is what I want to get across to all your people. Use some form of either Perry's or Raymond's name and create a new user name. Now think back to a very pleasant childhood memory."
"Okay, I have 'PerryMBurr' as a user name, so we need to work on a password that I can remember without having to write it down, right? I have a moment in my childhood that is very clear, now what?"
"Good, now is there a name involved with this memory?"
"Now how old were you when this memory occurred?"
"I was I think six ... yes, six. I was in first grade."
"OK. Now, the first part of your password would be either six or one, or both in any combination. Then comes the name associated with that memory and then any special character ... say a backward slash, or an asterisk ... then the year that memory occurred, or some other number associated with that memory. There is your new password, one that someone would have to run a very sophisticated program to be able to find. Most good virus or firewall software will recognize attempts to get that password once they have your user name. But like I said, this is just one of many ways to create secure usernames and passwords. You would not believe how many people use 'password' or one through nine for their passwords. The other thing you should do is change your password every sixty days, regardless of whether or not you have any trouble with hackers. But by using this type of password creation, people have to know an awful lot about you to crack your codes."
"It's that simple, Bill?"
"Yes, it is. The longer you live, the more things there are that happen to you. There is always someone or some event in your history that you'll instantly remember. I am willing to bet that there are enough events or people in your life that you could change your password every other day and still not use the same password twice in a whole year."
"I'm sure that you're right; I just thought of about five more that I could use for my next ones. Now to the big problem; I assume that you have proof of the improprieties for the three individuals you mentioned."
I opened my laptop and started in to their system and was soon showing them what I had found. Jim and Kevin were totally unprepared for how easily I got into their system. I started showing them e-mails, case files, and all the evidence I found on Sam, Dan, and Ted.
Kevin asked, "Can you get into my e-mail account and see what the last e-mail I sent out was?"
"Sure, give me a minute." I typed on my keyboard for about a minute, then said, "You just sent a blanket e-mail to all of your IT employees to immediately change their passwords. Am I right?"
I showed John and Rob what was on my screen as they were on either side of me.
John looked at the others a moment, then turned to me.
"How soon can you get this program implemented, Bill, and please show Kevin and Jim how to get the information we need to prosecute those three. It seems that we have some juniors to look at to see who moves up or maybe we need to do some recruiting. Bill, I thank you, and the firm thanks you for all your hard work. I think I can speak for the whole Board, well not the whole Board, since we will be losing some members today. I think I can safely say that I speak for this firm when I say welcome aboard, and that you'll have a check as soon as you complete the changes."
"Thank you, John. I thank all of you, and I promise you won't regret this alliance with my company. I'll have Anthony Desoto here in the morning, along with three others to start with the physical security transition. Anthony is my physical security supervisor. Sean Michaels and I will be getting with Kevin for the electronic security. Unless we run into difficulties, I think we can be finished with just about everything in two weeks. Most of the physical security issues can be handled as you can afford them; but the electronic security is really bad and needs immediate attention. That is why I will be here tomorrow, as well. I may be here for the duration; it just depends upon what my schedule looks like after today."
"Bill, believe me when I say that you have no idea how much we thank you for showing interest in our firm. We never realized just how bad a shape we were in. You are going to be a life saver. Now go home and rest up, we expect a lot for our million-four," John laughingly said.
I packed my stuff up and went down to the sixth floor, found Monique's office, and knocked on the open door.
"Bill! Come in, how did it go?"
"John gave me a handshake and a verbal contract, and said the signed one would be sent by courier this afternoon. I'm so happy that I would jump for joy if I could."
"Bill, I'm so very happy for you. I knew you would get the job after you told me some of the things you found. Will I be seeing you again?"
"Yes; maybe a lot over the next two weeks. Say, would you like to celebrate my great news by having dinner with me tonight? I will perfectly understand if you say no."
"Well, my answer won't be no. I would love to celebrate with you, but won't your girlfriend or wife object?"
"Sad to say, I have neither a girlfriend nor a wife. By you saying yes, you become my very first date."
"If I correctly assume that you're not an axe murderer or something like that, you might then have many more dates than just this one. Why don't you pick me up downstairs at 6:30? Am I dressed all right for where you're taking me?"
"Monique, I really have no idea where to eat out. I mostly eat at home or maybe 'Souper Salad' if I'm out and about."
"How about I pick a place and we can go from there, okay?"
"Sure, that's fine with me, as long as they can accommodate my chair."
"Not a problem, I'm sure we they can do that. See you in a few hours, Bill."
"Until then, Monique," I said.
I motored out to the elevators and down to my van on the fourth floor. I was floating! I could hardly believe I was going out on my very first date with a woman. I was fast approaching my twenty-fifth birthday, and I finally had a date!
Edited By TeNderLoin & Pepere
Proofread by bettyr & prissy_35503