By Ryan

Someone once told me, in the convoluted path I have taken to arrive at writing this blog, that “excuses are like buttholes, everyone has them and they always stink.”  Now I say that in advance with a promise, or at least an attempt, to relay those excuses as an explanation for the interruption of the story.  Last week was a cliff hanger.  Spike and Ray had survived combat, a shark, a Japanese Destroyer and were now face to face with the cannibals of Guadalcanal. Friends or Foe? Lost or Found?  Dinner or Guests? So, in my meticulous attempts to recreate and replay the events of Spike and Ray in a dramatic fashion, why would I start this entry comparing excuses to buttholes?  Well I hope you have enjoyed this so far and can forgive me for making you wait an extra week.  My excuse, or better yet, the butthole here is not me.  I can say it only once and, however reluctant I am to admit, I have come to grips with his arrival.  The butthole this week is Putin.  Dude….Putin?  Shut the front door.  Really? Yes ma’am.  Slam the doors and hide your children because he is following me, and if you are following me, he now might be following you.  He knows what we are up to here ladies and gents.  Put stamps over your cameras and talk in code, make rights to make lefts and lefts to make rights, the Kremlin is here…consider the next few paragraphs both your warning and your salvation as I describe my efforts to engage and thwart the great leader of the suspicious world.  You’re welcome.

It was Mother’s Day when I logged on to the computer where I now write this entry.  I had bought my wife an art class for her special day and wanted to print out the receipt to put in her card.  I logged in with our password to get by the intro screen and clicked on the Internet icon.  As the screen emerged onto the monitor, it poured on the chaos.  The screen started honking, lights were blinking and this Zelda like character in a grey box was telling me, in writing, that at this moment someone is dispatching virtual assassins into my computer.  I pictured an overmatched McAffee being executed as the Windows Defender desperately poured on the lead, hanging on in a dark corner not willing to relinquish my social security number and mother’s maiden name, information they were sworn to protect.  Paralyzed, I muttered something as my thoughts went to my family living by the river eating rotten watermelon under a bridge.  Not on my watch Putin.  There was a number listed on the screen and as I dialed the number, I thought, just maybe, the Japanese were involved too.  This looked a lot like a Nintendo game.

“Do you work for Microsoft?” I demanded to know. The gentleman on the other end of the phone had an American name but a foreign accent.  As he tried to ease my fears, I knew, in my gut, that this wasn’t right.  Before my dumb, trusting butthole had a chance to recant, homeboy had gained access to my computer and was running reports and scripts to diagnose my predicament.  “Just as I thought,” he said, “you have twenty three different addresses trying to gain access to your computer.  Thirteen of them are from foreign addresses.”  Thirteen foreign addresses!  “ Putin,” I whispered.  “Excuse me, what did you say sir?”  “I said is your name Putin!?” I was growling. “No sir it is Travis Parker, anyway we cannot perform the necessary repairs. I have to send you to another gentleman with a foreign accent and American name from a company called Gemini Techies.”  Bewildered, it just kept coming.  I signed over some cash and the dude ran all these diagnostic reports, prescribed some treatment and then inoculated my computer.  Putin had ransacked Mother’s Day and any hope of finishing Leo’s story in a timely manner.  Two hours later, exhausted from being bounced around between foreign nationals speaking tech talk, my wife came home.  She could see the fatigue in my eyes and perceived, correctly, that I had just battled in virtual combat with the help of foreign mercenaries to thwart Putin’s grab at our life.  She looked in disbelief as I relayed the events.  She put down her purse and ran to the car for her phone.  “Babe we have to call the bank…now!”

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