The Windows Maven

Sunset was casting deep shadows across the midwestern suburban lawn. Carl used the approaching twilight to creep discretely around the side of the house. Pausing only for a second to tap the large plastic bulge in his front pocket, Carl moved his lithe teenaged body around the brick corner and perched himself beside a bush just under the girl's window.

Carl knelt nervously beside the bush and waited. Would there be a psychotic guard dog or a nosy neighbour to ruin his well-crafted plan? Nope. Apparently not. Thank God for that. 

The boy then proceeded to pull out his Blackberry mobile computer. He smiled to himself and began typing a quick succession of keys in the precise and necessary order. Then he sighed and placed the device back into the front pocket of his baggy cargo jeans. 

It was Showtime. 

Rebecca, the unassuming teenaged girl and object of Carl's latest desire, was inside her bedroom finishing up a school paper due the next day. Or so she thought. Because just as she had started on the final paragraph — the unthinkable had happened. Without so much as a warning shot fired the monitor turned a sinister shade of blue and displayed an indecipherable error message.

*** Stop: 0x0000001E (0xF24A447A, 0X00000001, 0X0000000)
*** Address F24A447A base at f24A0000, DateStamp 35825ef8d – wdmaud.sys


Rebecca had been working on her paper "The Fall of The Roman Empire" for three days straight. And she was almost finished with it. But now it was gone.

Still solidly in a state of shock and disbelief, Rebecca stood up, screamed in vain, and then sat back down again. She wanted to scream again, but instead she bit her plump lower lip until she could almost taste blood. That helped a little, but now her lip hurt.

Fucking Bill Gates UberNerd Asshole, the girl hissed through her teeth.  This would have never happened, the girl mused further, if Dad had bought me the cute pink Macintosh I wanted.

Yes indeed her father was being cheap. He splurged and got himself a shiny new Dell. And of course she got his crappy old Packard Bell. 

Now with the History paper due on Monday and her computer in this crippled state, there would be no chance of going to the Hives concert tonight. No chance to release the energy and frustration pent up inside her voluptuous teenage body. 

The girl pecked fruitlessly at the keys. The Word document reappeared momentarily, as if teasing her, before it disappeared again into the void. Next the keyboard stopped responding. The situation passed quickly into a state of despair. The Blue Screen had won, and it stared back at her as if gloating victoriously. 

"What am I supposed to do now?" The girl thought. The only answer she could come up with was to pull the power plug. Of course her paper might be lost forever. 

But just before she plucked the three-pronged cord from the power outlet, she heard a rapping noise, like a knuckle on glass. She quickly turned her head. A teenaged boy was in the window. He was looking at her and smiling innocently. 

"Can I help you? " she asked sarcastically. 

"Hi. I'm the new neighbor," the boy answered smiling. 

"So what?" the girl responded curtly. She had just taken a shower and was wrapped in her blue terrycloth bathrobe. This was no time for introductions. 

The boy continued undeterred. "Well, I heard your distress call and then saw you were having trouble with your computer. I naturally thought I might help. "

"The little creep is spying on me," thought the girl. But I guess that's what boys do. And I do need some help. 

Cautiously she locked her bedroom door so her parents could not barge in and see the two of them together. Then she opened the window. The boy deftly crawled feet first into her room. 

"Hi, I'm Carl," the boy introduced himself smiling. 

"Hi, I'm Rebecca," the girl responded, hopeful the boy could really fix her computer and save her weekend.

Carl pointed to the rock poster on the wall. "Hey, are you going to the Hives show tonight?" 

Rebecca observed Carl's features. He was thin with a smooth face and slightly pointy nose. His hair was black and curly. Yes, he was perhaps a little nerdier than the boys who normally piqued her interest, but his eyes were dark and shiny like opals. And even with the prototypical teenaged zit on his forehead, he was still kind of adorable. 

"Yes, I was planning on going," Rebecca responded, "but now my computer ate my paper."

Carl approached the faulty computer, pausing momentarily to appreciate Rebecca's soapy fresh shower smell. He sat down and punched a few key combinations on the keyboard. Sure enough, the Word document reappeared. 

"How did you do that?" Rebecca questioned. 

"I got more tricks where that came from, " Carl replied. He then saved the document and rebooted the computer. 

"This boy is truly wonderful," thought Rebecca. He has saved my weekend. 

As the computer restarted, Carl pointedly perused the boot-up screen and sighed. 

"Rebecca, did you know your computer is infested with worms."

"Worms? Gross! My dad gave me a wormy computer." 

"Yeah he did," Carl elaborated, "they wiggle their way in through the Internet and into your applications and documents. Then hackers can seize control of your computer and make it do whatever they want."

"Can you get rid of them?" Rebecca pleaded. 

"Sure. The easiest way is to reinstall the OS and put up a firewall. That's all it takes. It keeps the worms out for good. Plus it's free if you know how. It just takes a little time."

"Wow. Can we get it done before the concert starts?"

Carl thought a moment and replied, "No, probably not."

Rebecca responded, "Well then we should come back here and do it after the show. My paper is due on Monday and my parents can't hear anything in here from their bedroom. "

Carl smiled slyly, for this was another perfectly executed operation by the Windows Maven.