The building, like most tech operations, was very secure. Everyone had an ID badge. You couldn’t even check out batteries without signing for them. There were cameras on every floor, four in the parking lot, two above the front door. A few minutes later, Tyler stood glumly looking at a wall of monitors in the security office, as he waited for Hector Mato to pull up the morning’s entrance footage.
“We got a bad guy?” Hector asked. “Server thief?”
“Gym bag,” Tyler said, a little impatiently.
“You could get a butt load of data outta here in a gym–”
“No, nothing like that. Just cue it to 5 AM.”
“5 AM? Who comes in at 5 AM?”
“Look, Hector, let me just take a seat.”
“I’ll get it. I’ll get it. The boss man won’t let any of you geeks at this console. You’re on camera now.”
Hector pointed to a ceiling corner camera above them.
“I’m just trying to find my gym bag,” Tyler said. “I brought it this morning and –”
“You want to see if you walked in with it?”
“Go outside for a second,” Hector said.
“While I punch in the code.”
A few minutes later, Hector seemed to relish taking his time, cuing up the footage.
“Did I tell you,” Hector said, punching in dates, slowly, with one finger, “I got in the academy?”
“That’s great,” Tyler said.
“This boy’s gonna be homicide. You watch.”
“So…” Tyler responded, looking at the screen.
“Patience,” Hector said. “Come to think of it, I better clear this with Lattimore.”
“I just want to see the moment I walked in the building.”
“Better safe than sorry,” Hector said, punching his desk phone. “Hey, Louise. Is Mr. Lattimore available?”
Hector paused, frowning. “In a meeting? I have Bardot down here and he wants to look at the entrance footage. Is that kosher?” Hector looked over at Tyler and raised his eyebrows. “Right. Thought so. Well tell Mr. Lattimore I thought I should get his approval.”
Tyler sighed. “Good grief.”
As Tyler moved off down the hallway, Hector yelled, “check your car.”
That was dumb. Tyler had an aversion to leaving nearly anything in his car. That wasn’t possible or he wouldn’t have endured even three minutes of banter with Hector to look at the tape. He went back to his office. He scanned his email for the 10K run invitation and found nothing and then he began to chronicle the multiple ways he communicated, the social networks, the texting, the various devices he had, a few of the password gliches he had been lazy about. Where had he seen that invitation?
As he looked for an answer in the wood grain of his desk, his phone rang — Lattimore’s extension.
“Tyler,” Lattimore began, “I sent you the footage email. Sorry about Hector. He’s a true believer.”
“Thanks,” Tyler said.
“Anything wrong?” Lattimore asked.
“No, it’s just some crazy shit with this 10K thing. I could have sworn it was today. Got my dates mixed up. My gym bag went missing.”
“Maybe you left it in your car.”
“No, I just don’t — long story. Anyway, thanks.”
“Tyler, I meant to give you a heads up. Those Smallwood guys..”
“The twins? What about them?”
“Personally, they, um…”
“What?” Tyler asked.
“Nothing. I just turned off the intercom recording. Executive privilege.”
“They give me the creeps,” Lattimore continued. “But, I thought you should know they’re legacies.”
“Let me back up for a second. I got word that you pretty much declared them no hires–perpetual subs..”
“How did you know?”
“It’s not important.”
“They’re sloppy,” Tyler began, feeling the edge in his voice. “Coddled –”
“Right,” Lattimore said, “and they’re connected. No one’s supposed to know. It’s something about proving themselves, but their grandmother is a 3% equity holder — and as large as that is, we’re kind of a little boutique investment for her. I wasn’t even supposed to know about her grandkids. But, since I do, and since you manage them through Nathan, I thought ..”
“That maybe,” Tyler said, sighing miserably, “I should stop treating them like roadkill.”
“Probably,” Lattimore, replied, “and Tyler?”
“You should check your car for that bag. You walked in empty handed today.”
To Be Continued…