Harry was expecting a phone call from the teenager, so he was surprised to find the young man at his front door.
“Good evening, sir. May I come in?”
More polite than most his age, Harry thought. “You must be Jesse. Come in, come in.”
The boy unslung his backpack and dropped it on the sofa, glancing quickly around the room, including the art work, which he recognized would impress his sister. He also noticed the lady who had spoken to him outside the clinic, stretched out before the fireplace and looking rather sultry. He wondered if he had interrupted something, but it was too late to worry about that now.
As far as he knew, nobody in town had ever been inside the MacOliver home. It was known he was well-to-do, but he kept pretty much to himself. Jesse considered himself privileged to be there. “The lady said you wanted to talk to me?”
“Yes indeed. Helen told me you were recording the protest and our little contretemps?”
“If that means when you totally destroyed that lady, you’re right.” He went to his backpack and extracted a laptop and a CD. “It’s all on this CD. If you don’t have a PC, we can view it on mine.”
Harry gestured toward his office. “I think I have something to view it on. Come with me.”
The boy followed Harry into his office and stopped short, laughing at himself. “I guess you do have a PC or two. You’ve got more stuff here than my high school computer lab. What’s that?”
“That”, Harry said, “is a real computer. An IBM mainframe. I don’t use it as much as I used to , but it’s still the best thing for crunching passwords.”
A big grin began to spread across Jesse’s face. “Hacking? Is that how you found out about that woman having an abortion?”
“No’, Harry laughed. “The world of secrecy and digging up secrets didn’t start with computers. Let’s see that CD.”
Harry slipped it into one of the PCs with a big screen daisy-chained to the monitor Mrs. Howe and the entire entourage blasted to life on a 60-inch screen, chanting and praying and shouting their message of fundamentalism and hypocrisy.
Helen came in and the three of them settled down to watch the confrontation. It was just what Harry had hoped.
“This is going to be your class assignment?”, he asked. “What do you think the teacher is going to say about it?”
Jesse laughed. “She’ll have a heart attack. Our projects were supposed to be combined into an hour-long show for the TV station, but there’s no way she’ll let me put this footage on the air. And I doubt if the TV station would have the guts to show it.”
“You’re probably right,” Harry said with a grin, “but it seems a shame to deny the world the opportunity to observe such grand hypocrisy, doesn’t it? Maybe Youtube?”
Jesse grinned broadly. “At least. There are a lot of places you can post videos. But what do I do if she sues me?”
“Well”, Harry said, “she can sue me, presumably for slander and recording it might make it libel – I’ll let my lawyer worry about that –but truth is a good defense and the truth is on my side in this case. You are just a citizen journalist, so all she could do to you is try to browbeat you into taking down the video, but I have some ideas about that. If you’re interested in doing more things like this, exposing the assholes of the world, we can discuss it over pizza. You game?”
“Yessir! And I know some other people who would be happy to help.”
“Good. One advantage to being rich is you can hire good lawyers, good programmers and hackers, lots of hardware and bandwidth and PR people. With a bit of luck I fully intend to torpedo a lot of careers.“
To be continued…