Yoharie: Security Check (part two)
“Dawn,” (he’d ask) “where’re those old picture albums? I think the one I want’s got some kind of pink cover.”
Giarma as a little girl.
Anyway, that would be home to her. He put an end to this interior scene with dialogue. The thing was, Hibbler’s wife got started thinking Valentine…she must have seen him get out of the car…was a high-schooler, that Savannah (very much not the case, as Dawn reported) might like to make a new friend. Val was puny. That was why he needed his Dad’s protection.
“Thought my son was a girl?”
“So, you know I’m captain of the neighborhood watch.”
Now…Hibbler had done that a minute ago, brought up a thing and backed off it…
Yoharie began to think he knew he was having it both ways. And not for the world would he autopsy his own kid, so what was he going to do, pick this fight? Or let it be.
“Sorry,” he said. “I wasn’t hearing you.”
“I could go around the house with you, make recommendations. You might want a motion-sensor light in the back yard.”
“Well…yeah. I think you gotta go around with Dawn. I’m not too good on my feet.”
This was a score. Hibbler blushed. It was something, Yoharie told himself. But at once he felt contrite. He had come to this neighborhood wanting to get along with everyone.
“Busby over there was saying something about changing the door locks. He had some kind of thing where you’d punch in a code.”
“Yeah! You ought to always change the locks when you buy a place. Here.” Hibbler came round to the other side of the bed, where Yoharie’s tablet sat propped in its holder on the rolling table, and where Hibbler’s belly left no room for angling towards this, though he took a couple of feints.
“Take that thing.” Yoharie gave it a nudge. “If you wanna look at it.”
The velcro caught Hibbler off guard. Picture frames clattered over, one against the other.
“Hey, what’s your password? I don’t wanna lock you out, trying to guess.” Hibbler bounced into Dawn’s chair.
That seemed courteous. Why was he trying to guess?
However, he was captain of the neighborhood watch. Yoharie didn’t even know whether, like the HOA, the watch had special powers.
“Um. Capital D, small a, capital V, small a l, capital G, small i, fifty-nine. I mean, the numbers five, nine.”
“Don’t worry. I’ll never remember it.” Hibbler stayed absorbed, bent over the tablet, for five or ten minutes. “Here you go.” He showed Yoharie a site he’d found, one that sold wireless locks. “Good idea for you. You could use your phone to open up. You want me to screenshot that? You got any passwords on your drives?”
“No.” This seemed best. Yoharie had no idea what Hibbler had just asked.
“I’m gonna stick it on your desktop, okay?”
He lingered, and Yoharie began to feel he’d have to say, “Dig into that refrigerator and help yourself. Or start up a pot of coffee, if you want.”
He had those two things on his porch, for his own happiness. It took him twenty minutes or so to move all his gear out of the way, pull himself onto the chair, motor over to the credenza. He’d never needed to navigate around playing host before. But Hibbler jumped to his feet.
“So, did you want me to do that survey for you?”
Only after Hibbler bustled through into the kitchen, and Yoharie could hear him walking, swinging doors on their hinges…only after a minute of this, Hibbler talking to someone on his phone…did Yoharie understand what politeness had kept him from prolonging a silence over.
He’d changed his way of putting it, Captain Hibbler. This was the security check Yoharie guessed he’d just agreed to.
His daughter, hashing it out with Dawn. No, he didn’t fight with Giarma, not because she’d beat him hands down, but because he wanted her to love him, this adult who’d been a child once.
“All you see when you look at Val is a boy who wears makeup. Anything else has to be in your own head, cause it’s not there in front of you.”
Giarma canted her head towards the street side of the house. “Them.”
She wouldn’t have it, that he could have messed Val up, having the accident…
(He kind of entertained the thought Jo shouldn’t have named the kid Valentine, but Giarma wouldn’t have that, either. “Cave-man psychology, Dad.”)
Yoharie kept for his daughter a sober, attentive face.
“There’s nothing wrong with Val, is there? No, Dad. So there’s nothing to question, is there?”
But a thirteen-year-old. Yoharie at that age (but sure never saying) could still get nightmares from stupid TV shows, like Kolchak…guy with the rotting skin hiding under Seattle…
Man, that was cool, that underground city. He loved that show. Get it on Netflix, he told himself.
He thought Val had taken it hard. He knew Jo had left, not for that, but because…well, Dawn was a trained LPN. Stuff was easier for her.
He picked up the tablet. On the desktop, he repeated. Yeah, I think I get it. But Yoharie couldn’t find which icon was Hibbler’s.
He put “70’s TV” in the search bar.
Yoharie: Security Check
(2017, Stephanie Foster)