- an immoral romantic comedy by WTSman – with apologies to Oscar Wilde.
If you need to be trusted, you should be called George. The surname doesn't matter. Luckily.
I'm fairly anonymous. I look like all those other co-workers at your large corporation that you don't quite know either. When I smile and nod at you in the cafeteria, in the elevator or at the photo-copier, you will nod back and force a smile while you rack your brain trying to remember who I am. You're sure you've seen me before (even if you haven't), and if you ever bother to check up on who I am you will be told that my name is George. That will put you at ease.
It shouldn't. If you ever see me you should start checking job advertisements. I'm called in when there is something fishy going on, or at least when someone suspects there is something fishy going on. Usually there is. Usually it is so bad that by the time my report hits the boardroom table, some of the people who would usually be sitting around said table in Armani suits will be donning orange jumpsuits in a Federal facility somewhere. Quite often bankruptcy and massive lay-offs follow. To protect my cover, I hang around and get laid off with everyone else. Those of you who remember I've only been there for a short while (and surprisingly few of you do) will commiserate with me. "Poor Old George," you'll say to your colleagues. "He sure wasn't here long – can't be much of a redundancy package for him."
There isn't and nor do I need it. My pay, my real pay, is very good. It is up front and untraceable. The money I receive as an "employee" is sent directly to the account of a charity of my choosing. That's where the pitiful redundancy pay, if any, will also go. For the neglected street kids that money is a god-send. They don't know where the money comes from; they don't know me and they never will. I prefer it that way. If anyone ever bothered checking, they would find out that the money came on behalf of a Mr. G. Something-or-other. The Something-or-other varies, but the G is constant.
For a good reason: I'm always George. That's the safest way. If anyone of you ever comes across me again, being George is a must. You can't remember my last name anyway. You'll be at ease again. "Funny coincidence that good old George ended up the same place as me," you'll think. I, on the other hand, will pity you. In all likelihood you're about to be struck by lightning a second time. But you will never associate that with me. After all, it's just good old George whose luck is as bad as your own.
So, yeah, I'm always George and you hardly ever notice me. I like it that way.
You see, my name is George. Truly, it is. It's a good trustworthy name. People like that name. Three US presidents – starting with the Father of the Nation – and two vice-presidents were called George, making it the fourth most presidential name after James, John and William – a huge overrepresentation. I'm not saying it is the name that got them elected (although I'm stumped to come up with an explanation on how the most recent clown got in otherwise). But Americans like their Georges. There's one in many movies – think the morose side-kick in "You've Got Mail". And there's one in every class. There were three in my graduating class at college.
Actually, were you to look up the records of said college you would find no less than ten people named "George" graduating that year – even if seven of them are somehow absent from the year book.
And no, I'm not going to tell you which college – they're innocent. Only I and the FBI know about it. And the Feds aren't telling either. They know and they approve; the fake Georges help solve white collar crime. I am not allowed to tell you details of those investigations. But I'll tell you how the seven fake Georges came to be.
I was visiting my home town as I do quite often – Grandma who raised me still lives there, and it coincided with my tenth anniversary. Having nothing better to do I rang the college to hear if there were any arrangements for old students at the ceremony. I never found out if there was – Miss B, who'd been the college secretary since Reconstruction answered the phone in person – and she was in tears. "Oh George," she wailed – she knows Grandma very well – "Oh George, that dratted computer has crashed. We can't access our records and we can't print out diplomas and transcripts and everything is chaos."
"But surely you have a backup Miss B," I said – anything else was unimaginable. Miss B might be way past ordinary retirement age, but she runs a tight ship.
"Yes George," she confirmed. "We do. But the dratted thing caught fire – actually caught fire – so there's nowhere to read back the backup."
I think I forgot to mention that I've 'done computers' all my life. I didn't know this system from Adam, but I was willing to help, so I said "Dry your eyes Miss B – I'll be right over."
"Oh George, thank you," she said and I drove over to campus.
On arrival, there could be no doubt that Miss B had told Gospel Truth – the whole administration building stank of burned-out power supply. I looked at the ruin of the machine – a PC so old it belonged in a museum, except that this specimen had definitely had it. Under normal circumstances you can have a go at the hard disk too see if it will spin, but the little circuit board on the disk itself was torched and melted. There are some very clever people, who can retrieve data even from such wrecks, but they need weeks – and we had days; this was Friday afternoon and the graduation ceremony was on Monday.
"Yup," I said after the distasteful examination. "This is toast. We need another machine and we need it fast."
"Do you think that Joe's Computer Store can help?" the President of the college asked – he had joined us when he heard a male voice in the front office.
"I'm sure he can sir," I replied. I actually called him by name, but since it is very unusual and could identify the place, I shan't write it here. He was already President when I myself had graduated and I also knew him very well privately. Grandma knows everybody, you see. Actually I suspect she knew the President better than his wife would like, but I've never asked.
The suggestion of checking out Joe's store was a good one. If anyone was likely to have the antique tape-readers Miss B used for backups, it would be Joe. Joe's been there forever. I bought my first computer from him and I had an after-school job there years ago. He would be the man.
There was an exceedingly pretty girl in the office and Miss B performed introductions. "This is George, our knight in shining armor," she said to the girl. "He graduated ten years ago but comes back every so often to visit his grandma. George, this is Annabel Lee – our exam administration secretary. She joined us three years ago."
"Annabel Lee, like the beautiful girl in the love poem by Edgar Allan Poe?" I exclaimed – remembering snippets from my one compulsory literature course. "Very apt. I sincerely hope no-one is going to send you to an early grave by the sea – that would be a sad waste."
I don't think Annabel Lee knew any Poe, but she certainly knew the appreciative looking over I had given her and she giggled and blushed prettily. The President tut-tutted and returned to his office.
"I think the graduating students will put us all in our graves, early or otherwise, if they can't get their diplomas on Monday," Miss B said gloomily. "They will be severely disadvantaged if they can't apply for jobs or graduate schools like everyone else."
"Well, we'd better get cracking then," I said. "Off to Joe's."
"Oh thank you George – you always were such a sweet boy!" Miss B exclaimed.
Annabel Lee giggled again. "I'll come with you – sweet boy," she said; the last two words only mouthed, "To make sure your purchases are invoiced to the College," she added by way of explanation to Miss B.
"Hmph," was all Miss B said. She'd been quite a girl in her day and even if she hadn't heard the banter, she clearly doubted Annabel Lee's motives. I hoped she was right!
So we walked out to the staff parking lot, where I had shamelessly parked. Annabel Lee was most appreciative of my car. So she should be. I drive a nice car. A very nice car. My 1967 Corvette Sting Ray Convertible with the optional wire wheels is my pride and joy. It was also one hell of a pussy magnet back then. Now I just enjoy driving it, having all the pussy I can handle, but sadly I can't drive it very often these days. It doesn't go well with anonymity so I leave it at Grandma's and only drive it when I'm back home. She teases me that the car makes me come home much more often than I otherwise would. She may be right on that one, although I do love Grandma too. After all it was her who gave me that car. She had bought it herself new and – unknown to me – she had it completely restored as a graduation gift.
If Annabel Lee was appreciative of the car, I was appreciative of Annabel Lee. I got to see a lot of leg when she got in, and her blouse – already struggling to hold in a truly splendid pair of tits, was strained to breaking point when she sat in the Sting Ray's bucket seat. Highly distracting I must say. But distracting in the nicest way.
Even with the college a fair way outside of town, the drive to Joe's was much too short, but we did get some wind in our hair. OK, mine's short and uninteresting but Annabel Lee has a shock of long gorgeous auburn curls. Always the gentleman (yeah, right!) I got out of the car quickly so that I could dash round and assist Annabel Lee out. The 'accidental' grope of her firm little bottom was met with that cute giggle of hers. This was turning into a great day.
Joe was there himself and received me like a long lost son. When he realized our errand – needing not just a good a sturdy PC, if not exactly latest and greatest, but also hardware to read the tapes from the antique PC, he became positively animated – eyeing a chance to get rid of some otherwise worthless junk, no doubt. But he could deliver the goods – he had the relevant tape drive and components to connect the old stuff to a modern machine, at least temporarily. The combination of my history with Joe, and Annabel Lee's pretty smiles and generous display of cleavage, tempered Joe's lust for profit, so for a very reasonable sum we ended up with a mass of parts that would combine into a powerful replacement for Miss B's wreck.
Now, the Sting Ray doesn't have a lot of luggage space so Annabel Lee ended up having to sit with a lot of it in her lap. Naturally I had to hand it in to her, getting me close-up views of that cleavage – which caused an immediate constriction in my jeans ... Annabel Lee noticed and giggled. A fine day indeed.
Back at the College, Miss B approved of the purchases at once, relieved that the expense was so far modest. She had found the backup tapes, but when asked for installation disks for the backup software she looked blank. I explained what I was after and she vaguely replied that the "software was on the computer". She had no manuals, no disks and no recollection of the name of the stuff. I anticipated a long night.
Miss B excused herself around 7 PM. She was invited for dinner at Grandma's house and would convey my apologies. Putting together the PC took quite a while. Annabel Lee phoned in for some chicken wings with all the trimmings and kept me entertained while we waited for the delivery. We kept up a happy banter while I worked. Annabel Lee was 100% sexy. She would wriggle her butt and sway her hips, setting her truly splendid tits in motion. I was constantly hard. By the time the food arrived I wasn't sure that my primary hunger was for food! But OK, we ate.
Having no idea what I was after, software wise, I decided to put a standard Linux distro on the PC and get some tools to do a raw read of the backup tapes. As I had hoped, the name of the backup product was written in clear text in the headers and that at once both helped and hindered the process. Helped, because I now knew what was on the tapes. Hindered, because the company that produced the original software no longer existed and I drew blanks trying to get hold of the software on the 'net. But I got a very good description of the format from a very obscure archived bulletin board that some geek for reasons unknown – although I am eternally grateful for his efforts – had put on the 'net.
Writing a program that would read the content of the tapes was easy enough. But working out what to do with the data was a different matter altogether. If Miss B had been vague about the backup software, she was even more so about the actual application. She had provided a "manual" before she left, but it was obviously some garage-product and there was no documentation on the formats involved.
While the Linux code read the tapes and the chicken wings got eaten I picked Annabel Lee's brains on the actual application. She had been there long enough to run it for several years and knew it well. She also hated it, but she had a deep understanding of how it worked. My lustful appreciation of Annabel Lee went up a notch. Not only was she smoking hot, she was also exceedingly bright. I was now seriously in lust.
As could more or less be expected, the tapes caused us grief. These old things cannot always be read on any other drive than the one that wrote it. Besides, the tapes had been reused for years and were essentially worn out. The most recent backup – from only a few days ago – was largely unreadable. We had much better luck with the one used two weeks previously. Annabel Lee told me not to worry; the exam results entered in the last two weeks were still available on paper and could be reentered fairly quickly. It was the loss of historical data that would be catastrophic. Just reconstructing the exam results of all presently enrolled students would be bad enough (and quite possibly unfeasible with the time-restraints we were working under); having to type in data for the last thirty years would be a killer, but the College had to be able to look up results when students required certified copies of the transcripts, or when prospective employers did a check on applicants.
While the tape-reader was grinding away again, we had time to talk and the conversation turned personal. She asked me about my background and learned I had grown up with my grandmother. "How come you were staying with her and not your parents?" she asked.
"I never knew them," I replied. "My mother was barely sixteen when she had me. She took off just days after giving birth to me and has never been heard from again. I don't know who my father was – Grandma doesn't know and she suspects my mother didn't know either."
"Gosh, that must have been hard on you," Annabel Lee said with sympathy. "My Dad was a womanizing drunk and Mom threw his cheating ass out when I was little, but at least I knew him – and I've always had my Mom."
"I suppose it was hard, but I never worried about it. Grandma has been wonderful to me," I mused. "She has done an amazing job raising me. She even provided a very good sex-education; quite possibly to stop me from making choices as bad as my parents' but nonetheless cool."
"Neat!" Annabel Lee said. "If your mother was just sixteen, your grandmother can't be all that old?"
"No, she isn't," I agreed. "A lot of people though she was my mother. But I've always been told to call her Grandma – no deception there."
"I can't imagine getting sex-ed from my grandmother," Annabel Lee said with a grin, "but come to think of it, Gran's frequently been the one I talked to about boyfriend trouble."
The conversation, having turned to these more intimate subjects, naturally led to not so subtle questions about possible current partners which turned up negative for both of us. Annabel Lee had recently broken up with a boyfriend because he was "pushy". When probing gently what she meant by that, it turned out that the young man was getting impatient. "I'm saving myself for marriage," Annabel Lee stated both sounding and looking like a Southern Belle of a much earlier epoch than the present.
Privately I sympathized with the bloke; I would get terminal blue balls going out with so fine a specimen as Annabel Lee without getting any, but outwardly I expressed my sympathy and admiration for her stance – although I did suggest that young men (I estimated I was 8 or 9 years older than her and thus probably at least 7 years older than the bloke) did tend to think with the "little head" (Annabel Lee giggled at that) "when the pressure was on".
"Oh, I take the pressure off alright!" she countered in a matter of fact tone of voice. "I had all kinds of trouble getting his stuff off of the dashboard of Mum's car one night". I had been leaning my chair backwards and nearly lost my balance. The continuation was even more blunt:. "Another time it both got in my hair and practically ruined my favorite dress dripping down. After that I only gave him blowjobs – that avoids the mess."
All this was delivered in a way suggesting it wasn't anything out of the ordinary. My conclusion was that the ex-boyfriend was an utter idiot – and that my initial urge to get to know young Annabel Lee much better was worth following up on. I decided to up the ante – a bit of grab-ass and bumping of hips when we went to get refills from the hard-working coffee brewer became the order of the night. Annabel Lee responded with her infectious giggle and much swaying of that perfect little bubble butt of hers.
Around midnight we had practically all the data. The file formats of the "database" program was not exactly advanced – a number of tables, each occupying separate files, with obvious names – and, after some probing, fairly obvious content. For instance, the file called "STUDENTS" contained student number, name, date of birth and some codes about year, class and study program and so on for each student. With Annabel Lee's help I decoded that without much trouble. Another file contained the study programs – numbered, titled and with a list of subjects that must be passed to graduate in that specific program. It was brute force – if you, for simplicity's sake, could choose between three subjects in one area, two subjects in another and everything else was the same then there would be six programs: But there were of course many more – and as all was spelled out with all combinations, the file was massive. When courses changed title, even slightly, they got new numbers and thus the number of combinations where endless. Some business logic would help a lot here!
To boot, the real bastard of a file – the one containing results and with the imaginative name "RESULTS" – simply had a line with student number, course number and grade for each result achieved over 30 years, along with the date and initials of the teacher responsible for the entry. But at least the format was simple. Annabel Lee had reconstructed the missing recent data from hand written exam protocols and that could easily be arranged in the same way, making the data set complete and ready to put in to the new computer.
Getting data out for any one student meant brute force reading – a lot of reading. No wonder the primitive DOS program had crawled in recent years. It was screaming for a real relational database so I decided there and then to make no attempt at resurrecting the original program but rather write a simple front-end to MySQL I set Annabel Lee to work with describing the study-programs – current and old – in a simple meta-language and I got cracking coding.
At 3 AM we were both too tired to continue and had a bit of shut-eye in the President's office – Annabel Lee on a couch and me curled up in a reasonably comfortable recliner chair. I had an "emergency" toiletry kit in the car and Annabel Lee had stuff in her desk drawer, so we were fine. The night was not cold, but we pinched a couple of blankets from the first aid room anyway. Getting ready for "bed" was quite interesting. Annabel Lee stripped down to bra and panties, losing her blouse, skirts, shoes and stockings in a show that would have earned top dollar at any strip joint. Not to be undone, I stripped down to my boxers – which were by that stage grotesquely tented out. Annabel Lee leered at me and licked her lips very suggestively before sashaying away to clean her teeth. Sleep did not come easy!
Around 8 AM the front office phone started ringing. I stumbled out to pick it up. "This is George," I said – and I guess I must have sounded groggy.
"When your grandma told me you hadn't come home, I thought you would be at College still dear boy," Miss B's voice was heard to say.
"Uhu," I mumbled in reply. Or something of similar coherence.
"Give me the worst – what's the story?" Miss B demanded. She might have been anxious, but she was never one to shy away from the realities.
I pulled myself together. "Not too bad, actually," I replied. "Between the various tapes I think we have almost all the data – excluding the last two weeks' worth of input, but Annabel Lee has reconstructed that from the paper protocols."
"That's a mercy!" Miss B exclaimed. "So we're all set?"
"Hardly," I replied. "The program is dead and gone and buried. I'll have to write something else."
"George, I hate to remind you that we have the graduation ceremony on Monday at 11!" Miss B said.
"Yup, I know," I replied. "But I think we can do it."
"'We?'" Miss B queried.
"Yes, we." I replied. "Without Annabel Lee I wouldn't have a snow ball's chance in hell working out what the data meant. She's a trouper."
"Yes, she's a good girl. When did she go home?" Miss B said.
"She didn't," I replied unthinkingly.
"WHAT?" Miss B exploded. "Do you mean to say she spent the night with you? Shame on you both. She's practically engaged to the Parker boy!"
"Calm down Miss B," I replied. "She's not. She told me she sent that young man packing when he wouldn't respect that no means no until they were married."
"Oh," Miss B said, sounding mollified.
"She spent the night on the couch in the President's office and I slept in the recliner. No-one could have taken offence," I hedged. I am pretty darn sure Miss B would have taken serious offence, had she seen our strip-shows, but mercifully she hadn't.
"Oh," Miss B repeated.
After a brief pause, Miss B asked if there was anything she could do.
"Absolutely," I replied. "If you could organize some food for us that would be great. If you head past Grandma's and pick up a change of clothes, well, several changes of clothes actually – I anticipate a couple of long days – and my shaving kit and some towels, I would be most grateful."
"Sure, can do," Miss B said, back to her usual practical self.
"And please smooth things out with Grandma too," I begged. "She'll think I've abandoned her."
"Have no fear – she knows you're helping me," Miss B said. "But I'll fill her in."
"Thanks," I said with feeling. "And if you could head past Annabel Lee's place too and do something similar for her perhaps? Oh, and say where she is and what she's doing, of course. Her mother must be frantic."
"Hardly," Miss B replied drily. "If I know that woman she spent Friday night dancing and would have no idea if her daughter was home or not. But I'll go past and get stuff for Annabel Lee too. Put her on so I can ask her what she wants."
Women! Clothes are clothes, right? Wrong. I went back to the President's office, shook Annabel Lee gently awake and told her to come to the 'phone to arrange what Miss B should pick up.
Miss B brought enough breakfast to feed an army. She also had clean clothes for both of us and suggested we use the showers in the gym, retrieving a pass-key from her purse. We did take up the suggestion – regrettably in separate facilities, but much refreshed we returned to the administration building and a crisis conference with Miss B.
At least Miss B thought it was a crisis after I told her I envisaged spending all day writing the remaining parts of the program. "I am not belittling your effort George – or yours Annabel Lee," she started. "But I can't see how we could possibly make it in time. I mean, you haven't even written the program yet. It is now Saturday morning and given that the process of printing the diploma and transcript takes over 20 minutes per student..."
"20 minutes?" I spluttered, sending coffee down my no longer quite so clean shirt. "Is the printer and plotter that slow?"
"Oh no," Miss B replied, slightly shocked at my outburst and looking at me reproachfully. After all, a gentleman is not supposed to interrupt a lady talking. "No," she took up the thread again. "The plotter is not fast, but the diplomas are largely pre-printed. All we need is the name of the student, the degree and the date. Signatures are added by hand, of course. It only takes a minute or so to print. No it is the program that spends nearly 20 minutes finding the data."