I deal in steps. Let me explain: no two people walk in exactly the same way. Each one of us has a particular way of walking; it is something almost as unique as fingerprints. My job is to record how people walk and sell this information. I work on commission.
I use a carpet with sensors wired to a laptop to record people’s steps. I do not use Wi-Fi, that’s how you get caught. Most international airports and most railway stations in large towns have step trackers built into their floor space. They can track the steps of all passengers and commuters. Most of these people are law-abiding citizens of no interest to anybody, but every now and again some of them travel under a false identity. But their steps, if you know what they look like, can give them away.
That’s what I do. I record and sell the steps of people of interest so that my client can follow these individuals’ movements. Sometimes these men and women show up in unexpected places and sometimes they disappear there too. I never ask questions.
But the job today is different. I am supposed to be recording the steps of a child…but I can’t. I watch the boy and his father hand in hand walk on my carpet, but I never record their steps. Something inside me tells me this decision is going to cost me. I roll up my carpet, pack up my laptop and head for my car parked outside.
After half an hour’s driving, I hear a mobile ringing; it’s inside the glove compartment. I don’t answer it. I don’t need to; I know they know. I go off the road and park my car in the woods out of sight. I take out my mountain bike from the car and take the mobile with me.
I go back to the main road and throw the mobile on the back of a garbage truck that overtakes me. I turn off onto a dirt track and head for a log cabin I rented under a false name. When I get there, the boy’s father is sitting on my porch. He stands up and comes towards me holding out his hand.
“We know all about you. We wanted to know how far you’d go, and you passed the test. We needed the step recordings to protect those people not to pursue them. We are their guardians. And from now on, we shall be yours as well.”