In Plain Sight – 3

About five blocks from the Rosa Marie Inn was 5th Street Community College. Ian had attended one semester there last year but dropped out. This sub-par institution had a library full of student workers, most of which couldn’t care less about their job. It was a paycheck – and a small one at that. At that college’s library, however, individuals could check out laptops with their student ID cards. A policy a little too trusting. A policy that could be easily abused – especially with the minimal security set in such a lower income area part of Los Angeles.

Ian walked down the streets looking like a different person. Sirens continued to roar in the distance, still. Was it even from the same incident? Perhaps it was something else entirely? Every time he heard police sirens, his paranoia would increase.

He turned on 5th street and walked right by numerous people who didn’t even take a second look at him. Why would they? No one had idea what he did, what even happened, or what Ian Avery even looked like prior to the incident and the news couldn’t have travelled fast enough – and if the police haven’t nailed him to the ground yet, they sure as hell weren’t any closer now. He was safe – at least for the time being.

Ian saw the “campus” of 5th Street Community College. Overflowing dumpsters, trashcans knocked over and there was a raunchy looking couple making out in a corner with zero regard for any rules against public displays of affection. Right across from a graffiti-ridden building, which could have only been the school’s cafeteria, was the library. He went through its doors as moist, humid air invaded his face. After casually walking up and down the aisles, Ian went up to the lip-pierced student worker at the main desk.

“Hey would I be able to check out a laptop?” he asked trying his best to act as though he had nothing to do with any of the news that would soon make him famous.

A dead, lifeless stare. “Sure, dude. I’m gonna need your 5th Street ID,” the lip-pierced boy mumbled. The smell of weed left his dry lips accompanying his unenthused response. He looked as though he hadn’t washed his face in weeks.

Ian replied, “Ah unfortunately, I don’t have it on me,” he braced himself for what he was about to attempt, “Hey man, this is a bit of an emergency, really. I’ll bring it right back in a couple of hours. Here,” he took off his watch from his wrist, “Hold on to my watch until I bring it back. Will that work?”

The scuzzy boy took his watch and looked at it. Transactions like these happened to be common because it was thought that if the belongings of students were held as collateral, it would count just as much – because after all, who would want to give up a piece of their personal property, right? A dumb policy – if it was even a legitimate policy. The lip-pierced dude replied, “Alright sounds good. You get your watch back when you bring the laptop back. Good luck with whatever it is you’re doing.” He didn’t care. It was a paycheck.

It was easier than Ian thought. No resistance. No trace. He didn’t even need that watch anyway. It was a clear example of specifically why managers need to be pay more attention to who they hire. He had just stolen a laptop and walked right out of the building. Technically it wasn’t even Ian’s fault. Technically it was the fault of the student worker who simply wasn’t careful enough.

Next stop, a place with Wi-Fi. Well before the incident, Ian remembered a few acquaintances from high school whose technical knowledge surpassed his own. From their knowledge, he was able to absorb and vaguely recollect a few concepts and ideas on how to change one’s identity further than just appearance. A fake ID card? He would need more than that. There were people out there who could create entire new identities for people. Illegal? Of course – but law obedience was no longer a requirement.

As Ian walked off the campus, he furrowed his brow trying to block out what had just transpired in order to focus on remembering the exact steps to take. He had already changed his appearance and if he would have any chance at all of starting over effectively, he had to start somewhere. He never thought it would be necessary, but there he was – about to use these skills out of sheer desperation.

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