Protection Racket – A Stevie Story

Stevie sighed once again as she wandered the aisles at Home Despot, looking for some final bit of gear that would make this project just come out perfect. She rifled through some pistols, took a shot at grabbing a new set of targets, and finally just gunned it down to the checkout stand. Of course, there it was, sitting amongst the impulse-buy Leatherman clones and the gummi bears – just the cutest little spy cam, clearanced at less than $300. A steal for the price, and the final touch for her plan.

The only thing that took the edge off her delight was worry over Lacey, and of course, Alex. But in the intervening time, she’d learned to push all that down and cover it up with work, work, and more work. Like right now, the project she was pushing at.

Once she got to the job site she started stringing wire. Not that it was as simple as just stringing wire, it all had to be perfectly camouflaged and blend in with the surrounding paint and markings. Stevie was quite an artist at making those final tiny adjustments to the decor, even hand painting shadows and color variations over the tiny bits of exposed vinyl. Everything in its place, and thinking carefully of the wire and not the girl.

Chortling, she set the camera positions and the lasers to expose any miscreants to a sudden barrage of light. Nothing truly harmful, of course, but definitely it would make them blink until someone came and took care of them. To say nothing of it scaring the crap out of them.

Never one to just let things go, Stevie completely surrounded the place with a whole new network of fine wires. She realized that she could go wireless, but her experience with going wireless was about the same as going braless – a concept to consider and make the odd experiment with, but in the end, some things are just best not approached. Wireless had let her down a couple times, and when it’s crucial, you just needed to make sure you had the support you needed. She snickered to herself a bit at this, suddenly overwhelmed by sadness that she couldn’t share this feeling, this joke, this silliness, with Lacey. She’d only really gotten to know Lacey the slightest amount, but that’s all it had taken for her to be completely bowled over. 

And .. she sighed again. Just stop it.

Besides, she had another kettle of fish to fry, or whatever it was you did with a kettle of fish. Did you fry them? Generally, you’d think of a kettle as being a pot. Would you boil them? And then she realized she was mixing metaphors again, and almost cried to realize at the same time .. never mind.

She reminded herself to keep her eyes on the prize. She had a job to do here, getting this wiring done and the camera setup done, the lights all had to be tested, the lasers targeted, and by now she only had about 12 hours. No one was going to wait for her to finish, she had to be ready by the time darkness fell.

She unpacked the pair of small 9mm Gatling guns and deployed them carefully around the edges of the eaves. She cut precise holes in the fascia boards leading to the attic crawl space, later she’d make sure the ammo belts would feed smoothly through and make sure the cameras watching them were hooked in and working. It wouldn’t do to run out of ammo and not know about it! Getting the guns connected to the network and calibrated was another couple hours and it was getting late afternoon by the time she was satisfied.

The next couple hours were spent on the rubber bullet/pepper load ammo belts, getting the laser arrays set up and tested, and the lights, of course. The lights were an integral part of the plan, shock and awe was uppermost in her intent.

She vamoosed back to her hidey hole and relaxed behind the array of monitors that made up her favorite place in the world. The robot delivered her one of its usual perfect drinks, and she sat there watching the cameras. It made her a little nervous not being able to actually test the guns, but the noise in the middle of the neighborhood at 4pm would be a little too much to pass off as anything else but what it was.

She got busy, though, on setting up the laser sights and getting them trained along the various entry points, especially along the walk and the front entryway. She tested the lights and nearly pee’d her pants with delight, seeing the equivalent of a small sun come to life before her eyes. Darkness began to fall and she knew the time was near.

This year, she was prepared.

Those little bastards were not smashing her Jack O’Lanterns THIS year.