From The Journal of Dr. Rick Hightower, M.D., soon to be adapted into an ABC primetime drama entitled Hightower:
I ran through Central Park, with my iPod Shuffle Touch strapped to my arm, playing random songs from Katy Perry’s new album. “Man,” I thought, “look at all of these attractive women walking their dogs, doing calisthenics, and jogging.” I stopped to catch my breath, and said aloud “I’ve got to come here more often,” as I shook my head, sweating appropriately.
Just then, my earpiece buzzed, interrupting the song. “V.J., this had better be you,” I said, as I admired the view of a cute blonde walking her dog.
“This is Ace,” the voice said, sounding like a computer. “Are you ready to solve your riddle?”
“Who is this?” I asked, “and how did you get this number?”
“Relax, Hightower,” was the reply. “I hacked into your phone through the mainframe. It was simple.”
“So this is the mysterious Ace Shadow,” I said. “What can I do for you?”
“No, Hightower,” he said, “what can I do for you? I’ve heard you have a challenge for me. I like challenges.”
“Well good,” I said, “because this one is big time. It requires the highest security clearances. Ones that no one has ever been able to access.”
“Shouldn’t be a problem,” Ace answered, “I can break into any system in the world.”
“You might just come in handy,” I said, wiping sweat from my brow.
“That’s what I planned on, Hightower,” he replied. “Meet me at the Leather Basement tonight at 11pm. And make sure you’re dressed…appropriately.”
“The Leather Basement?” I asked, “I’m not seeing that on my smartphone GPS.”
“Have your friend Vijay show you,” Ace said.
“Ok,” I replied. “But no funny business.”
“Of course not,” he said, and hung up.
Just then, it started to rain, so I pulled my Nike windbreaker over my head and hustled back to the hide out, as Katy Perry’s new single grew louder and louder in my head.
V.J. and I slowly descended the stairs to the Leather Basement. Techno music thumped loudly around us as the hostess took asked for our I.D.s.
“How do you expect me to carry identification in a get-up like this, sweetie?” I asked, as the tattooed bouncer began to close in.
“Whatever…,” she said, and signaled to the bouncer, who clumsily attacked.
I did a quick karate flip arm thing to him, and everyone in the club stopped to look at V.J. and I.
“End process,” V.J. said, and the techno music started back up, and we moved our way to the V.I.P . room.
We parted the hanging beads to find Ace Shadow sitting behind a V.I.P. table, surrounded by tattooed supermodels.
“Nice outfits,” he said, as he sipped a drink through his Zorro mask. “Do you two visit the same tailor?”
We looked down at our leather outfits at the same time, and I said “we’re here to discuss national security, not fashion, Shadow.”
“Please, call me Ace,” he said, and shooed the supermodels away. “I understand you have a problem in space.”
“How could you possibly know that?” V.J. asked, “our system is encrypted.”
“Ha ha ha,” he laughed from behind his motionless mask, “we see everything.”
V.J. and I traded glances, then I spoke. “So, Ace, what’s in this for you?”
“Sklylab is every hacker’s gold medal,” he replied. “We’ve all known it was still up there, full of hot women.”
“So,” I said, “perhaps Topsfield has some help from within the hacker community.”
“Perhaps,” said Shadow, “but first, let me go to the bar to buy you gentlemen a drink.”
After five minutes, I told “V.J. “this is taking too long, it’s a trap.” V.J. agreed, and we left. On the street, we encountered my hot ex-girlfriend. “Hightower!” she said, “what are you wearing?”
“We’re auditioning for the new sci-fi movie,” said V.J. “You should, too. We’ve got to go.”