Can You See Me Now?
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new Colorado interest every time he was on the 0800 - 1600 shift.
knew it was silly, but the night after
he'd seen the girl, he'd dreamed about her.
In his dream she was standing
behind her house, looking up and waving at
him with a smile on her face.
was wrong, so he couldn't see if she'd taken her top off or not and in
dream, of course, his controls didn't work.
The last part of that dream
he could remember was him, screaming for
someone to come fix his console so he could see all of her.
times he checked, there was nothing at all to see.
car was there three of those times, and
He had already decided
that whoever worked in the family did so at night, because the car was
daylight hours too often.
He worked at
night, but his job sheet when the United States was in darkness was
longer and more involved.
for danger in the daytime, but his birds were the only things that
large areas at night.
as if by
magic, she was there again, lying out in exactly the same place, on the
chaise lounge, wearing the same bikini.
He panned in close. Man!
was good looking.
He felt perverted for staring
at her like
His view was as if he were
standing on a ladder ten or fifteen feet above her.
He thought about going
closer, but the protocols for using really high
magnifications were different.
went closer than ten feet, the computer automatically recorded what was
And those recordings
automatically went to his supervisor for a determination of whether or
analyst needed to study them further.
would happen if his supervisor saw that kind of tape, and it wouldn't
be a happy reaction.
an instant if she'd received his message.
He panned out. The
still there, unchanged.
He counted in
She'd gotten it. Maybe
she was simply a lady.
Or married, and her husband
would freak out
if she went outside topless. There could be a hundred reasons why she
ignore a crass note like that.
suddenly felt guilty.
creeped her out.
he sent her another note.
This one said:
sunbathing again today.
I apologize for
making that crass suggestion. It was all in fun, I promise.
just saw your sign and, because you were
teasing me, I thought it might be fun to tease you back.
won't bother you any more.
I hope I didn't creep you out
too badly. I
promise you have nothing to fear from me."
he was in bed, after his shift, that he realized he'd actually signed
message at the bottom with the word "Bob." He
sat bolt upright.
What if she made a complaint? What
if she took the notes to the police, and
they gave it to the FBI and they recognized it for what it was?
just given them a confession!
Riley held Curtis up so he could pull down the door on the mail box and reach in for whatever was there. When
she saw the envelope, she somehow knew instantly who it was
She never got mail that
Except for this
She wondered how that worked. She
peered at the cancellation stamp. It
was from Skowhegan, Maine.
The first one had been from
Curtis followed, asking if
any of the mail was for him.
They had been to
get pizza and he was full of energy.
she said, thinking of giving him the strange mail.
never know the difference, and since he
couldn't read, she could say anything when she read it to him.
went to the big, scuffed up sideboard
she'd gotten at the Salvation Army Thrift Store. At
just ten dollars, it had been cheaper than
She opened the drawer she'd
tossed the original letter into. On
impulse, she had kept it.
Who knew? It
might make a good story someday, maybe at
a party. If she ever got invited to one.
Or hosted one.
the postmark on that one.
Who came up with these
Then again, she had left her
mother in Borger, Texas, and that was a
strange name too.
the new mail, and read the message with eyes that widened.
was no fluke.
The guy really could
see her. And
apparently on a regular basis.
no helicopter pilot.
out back, and stood to stare up at the mountains behind her house.
was nobody living there. She knew
There were four named
behind her, and they might have hiking trails through them, but there
roads that went into them.
was a fire watch tower or something like that, where some lonely forest
with powerful binoculars had nothing better to do than look for women
The image of the
ranger from the Red Green Show, on PBS popped into her head.
What was his name? She
The reason she laughed was
because she thought of the cartoon version of him, rather than the
were good guys ... right?
never meet anyway.
the poor guy a little treat?
envelope to Curtis, with the letter tucked inside, and told him it was
Santa, reminding him to keep a Christmas list all year, and send it in
Curtis was thrilled.
for a hike in the woods.
She made Curtis
walk for as long as he could, and then carried him back to the house.
put him down for a nap, and had a glass
of orange juice.
out to lay out in the sun ... topless.
learned something very interesting the first day she lay out in the sun with her breasts bared to the world at large and to a stranger named "Bob" in particular.
nervous about it at first.
misgivings as soon as she stepped out of the house.
had left her top on the bed, and walking
out of her house topless was very strange.
But she knew there was no one
near, so she steeled her mind and set up
the chaise lounge.
to put lotion on, thinking she might be so uncomfortable that she'd go
and get her top.
But within ten minutes,
she was amazed at how good the sun felt on her breasts, and she reached
lotion that would protect her from burning.
it over her breasts, she got horny.
normal, in the sense that she loved to have her nipples played with.
were very sensitive, and spiked all the
time, seemingly on their own.
erect the instant she decided to use her vibrator, for instance, before
even got the thing out of her nightstand drawer. All
she had to do was think about
masturbating, and her nipples stood up and said, "Don't forget
As a result, they got pinched
getting pinched now too.
As she rubbed
the oil all over her belly, shoulders and arms, her hands kept going
her breasts, molding them and teasing her nipples.
sat up to do her legs, and thought about
taking her bottoms off too.
Letting some forest ranger
see her boobs was one thing.
want to give him the entirely wrong idea by doing too
he could see her through binoculars, he
could probably figure out how to find her house, and she didn't want to
motivate him to do that.
provided the cartoon character with just enough motive to keep looking
back yard, in anticipation of seeing her like she was now ... not to
out for more.
That could be a problem.
did miss having a nice stiff one deep inside her, stretching her
and rubbing all those spots with warm flesh, instead of cold plastic.
later the urge to slide her hand into her bottoms was too hard to
He probably wasn't watching
What were the odds that, at
exact moment she decided to lay out, he was looking her way?
low ... right?
and one soothing orgasm later, she lay limp, and dozed off.
forest ranger, of course.
And the odds
that anyone might be looking her way from a satellite at that specific
were, in fact, astronomically low.
watched as Riley Franklin found out how much fun it was to sunbathe
at least almost
part of her
mind knew that the odds were in her favor, so to speak.
was peeking at her couldn't be doing
it very often.
So that part of her brain
told her how low the odds were that Ranger Bob would actually see her
she continued to sunbathe that way ... and the odds got a heck of a lot
of them knew it, when Bob did let
his cursor wander over to Colorado,
just to look at the cabin again, Riley was laying out topless for the
It was late July by then, and
weather was glorious.
The first time
she'd bared her breasts to "her forest ranger," had been two weeks
She hadn't received anything
the mail, and what astonished her was that she was a little
Something in her wanted
admirer to react to what she'd begun doing.
Another part of her, however,
was glad he hadn't.
She really liked sunbathing
that way now, and
she didn't want to have to stop because she got another letter and got
because of it.
this war within herself, the second time she'd laid out she remembered
on the roof, and had climbed up to get it.
She'd used the other side and
written "Hey NSA!
Is this better, Bob?" But
she hadn't tacked it to the roof. She'd
had a wave of ... something ... that
had, in fact, made her shy.
she'd gone outside and laid out half nude that day, anyway.
she laid out, she did put the sign back on her roof.
shyness had abated.
Laying out this way felt
had seen the sunbathing woman, it had been around noon.
on the time his seventy-two hour
shift started, he was on duty at that time of day a maximum of two
sometimes it was only once.
got the chance, though,
he clicked on
that part of Colorado only to see if she might be in sight.
didn't expect anything, really.
It was more like he was just
hopeful he'd be
able to see her, and how she was dressed didn't matter.
Riley had fantasies about Ranger Gord
(she had finally looked it up online), Bob had his own fantasy about
clad beauty who he'd seen twice. He
he'd never meet her, and she'd rebuffed his "suggestion" but that
didn't keep him from dreaming a little.
She lived in a beautiful
place, and he could easily fantasize about her being
It was hard to have a
romance when you worked the kind of hours he did, and couldn't tell
girlfriend what you did during those hours.
Most of the analysts who
weren't married lacked the regular company of a
Some of them patronized hookers, but that was dangerous, because if you went to a hooker and anyone found out, it would affect
your security clearance. For some reason, everybody in Washington believed that if you fucked a prostitute, you
also told her everything there was to know about your life, including the secrets. He didn't know how many times that had actually happened, as some person in an important and sensitive position, tried to impress a call girl he might never see again. And he didn't know that, to
those call girls, personal information was easily traded for money or favors.
go to hookers.
He didn't understand
people who were willing to get naked with a stranger and then pay them
There was no romance in that. Besides,
he wasn't that hard up.
His hand worked just fine,
and it was right
there whenever he needed it, night or day.
change in the sign that caught his attention first.
could tell it had changed long before he
had zoomed in enough to read it. Again,
it was canted strangely, but he could read his name even in that
seized, and then pounded.
She'd put his
fucking name on
pushed the button to reorient the image, and stared, unbelieving at the
He looked immediately to the
back yard, and
almost fell out of his chair when he saw only one black stripe across
otherwise white body.
his jaw dropped as his eyes took in the twin dark spots of her nipples.
urge to go reportably close was almost
too much to resist.
But he did resist,
pulling back, in fact, to see her whole body.
Her head was turned, and her
arms lay, palms up, suggesting they were
She might be sleeping.
She'd actually done
Elation filled him,
A woman had taken off her top
A guy just couldn't help but
feel great about that.
But putting his
name on her roof could be disastrous if another analyst saw it.
he didn't work for NSA per se,
but it would be child's play for any analyst who used the same
figure out what Bob she was referring to.
He was the only "Bob" he knew
who worked at the agency, and
even if there were others who worked for different agencies, the
what he'd accessed would make it clear he was the Bob she was
"talking" to. And that would open a great big
fucking can of
How innocent it was wouldn't
He'd already broken a dozen
rules, and that was all they'd think about.
afford to wait for the mail.
And, in any case, somebody
might start asking questions about why multiple blind mail messages
sent to a private address in Colorado.
risk it and use email.
had an email account.
Everybody had email. And
in any case, finding out was as simple as
falling out of his chair.
her name and address, but for the program he wanted to use, that wasn't
He centered the cursor on the
cabin and hit a button on his console.
The latitude and longitude
came up in a box in the lower right corner of
38° 51' 7.1064''
104° 57' 4.2336'' West.
another button that converted that GPS setting to the kind of digital
used by phone companies and internet providers.
He had to enter his password,
but then all kinds of information about
Riley Franklin popped up on his screen.
address assigned to her
computer was there, along with the most frequently used IP addresses of
computers she accessed.
Such as her
bank, and her internet provider.
The fact that he
accessed such information with his password was noted on some
Unless he actually mined data
from this screen, that was all that was recorded. If
he actually clicked on any field of data,
and retrieved personal information, that was noted somewhere too.
knew that because, in his routine duties,
he had accessed the personal data of a banker, and three days later his
supervisor had asked him about it. He
had the record of what he'd done, and who he'd sent the information to,
that was all legit, so his supervisor had said, "Okay," and
If anybody came and asked him
he'd done what he was doing, he'd have to have some kind of answer.
was about to
hit the button that would retrieve all the information her internet
had on her, when he paused.
she had a
He couldn't believe he
hadn't thought of that.
moused to a
different monitor and went online like anybody else would.
had a Facebook account that went with his
job, but that was all fake.
might look at that one.
They might look
at his real one too, for that matter, but unless there was a problem,
would care if he "friended" Riley Franklin. Assuming
she wasn't some thorn in the
He was paid to be
suspicious, but it didn't work if you became paranoid.
he had to
get that sheet off the
roof of her cabin. That was
his Facebook account and did a friend search for "Riley
He was astonished when
only one popped up.
He clicked on that,
and was elated when her location was listed as Colorado.
the message tab and typed.
I know I
said I wouldn't bother you again, but you have to get that sheet off of
If any of the other analysts
it, and my supervisor finds out I contacted you, I'll get fired.
really knocked out that you did what you
You look fantastic, by the
please take the sheet down.
do anything if you just take that sheet
and signed it Bob and hit the send button.
Then he worried for hours that he'd given her too much information. Like the fact that he was an "analyst", not to mention his full, real name, which was tagged to his account. Even worse, he had said he'd "do anything" which, if his superiors read, would immediately get his security clearance pulled.
If anybody saw the sheet, he
It was better to throw
on her mercy than risk that.
there were protocols to search for text with a satellite.
were used to track shipments of nuclear
The vehicles used had numbers
and letters painted on the tops. If
went off route, they could be located with a nation-wide search.
since the paint used on the numbers was,
itself, radioactive, even if it was covered by a tarp, there were
that could still see it.
input the letters "NSA" into that system, it would zero in on her
rooftop within an hour.
Of course there
was no reason anybody would perform that search.
take the chance.
account to give him an audible alert if someone sent him a message, and
back to work.
her email frequently, because she used it in her business.
only checked her Facebook account once a
She had thought about getting
of it altogether.
She didn't have many
friends, and she didn't talk to the ones she did have all that often.
that they weren't actually "friends."
It was more like they had
nothing to talk about after they caught up
with each other's activities. But she kept it because you never knew
somebody from your past who you would want to talk to might show up on
She wasn't worried about
She didn't expect to ever
hear from him again.
And if she did,
he'd disappear plenty quick when she started talking about all that
support he'd never paid her.
surprised when she logged on and found a new message from someone she
The name "Robert" on the
message hit her and she knew, instinctively that this was "Bob."
impression was "How the hell did he find me?" The
answer to that was obvious
He had sent her snail
He knew her name. Searching
that name was easy.
the message and read it.
It was an odd
experience to laugh, while she was frowning.
staring at the message for a long time.
She read it several times,
trying to imagine the man who had typed
There were so many aspects to
Her gut instinct took it at
He was a guy who thought he
was in trouble.
That had been foremost
in his mind.
But he'd still complimented
He hadn't been vulgar about
he hadn't dwelled on it.
He also hadn't
asked for more.
But that was probably
because he was worried about losing his job.
still nebulous in her mind.
wasn't Ranger Gord.
She was a little
saddened by that, for some reason.
Ranger Gord had been a nice
And he wasn't a helicopter
pilot or anything like that.
He was an analyst, whatever
She knew what a systems
analyst was, but that
didn't make sense.
He could see
That much was clear.
that she thought seriously about satellite surveillance for the first
She thought that was funny,
her sheet had been addressed to
But she hadn't believed a
government agency would actually see it. She
had been convinced someone else
seen it and used it as an excuse to contact her.
wondered, amazed, if what she'd thought was hyperbole about satellite
surveillance wasn't so farfetched after all.
at the moment, were a strange mix of anger, curiosity, and appreciation.
guy ... this Bob ... had intruded on her
privacy, apparently from a satellite ... a satellite that was either
house all the time, or could see it regularly.
That was creepy. At
time, he seemed like he wasn't a terrible human being.
apologized to her, and offered to leave
Of course he'd still
That much was clear. And
he'd seen not only her new sign ... but
A man had watched her
In some unfathomable, strange
way, that made her feel a little tingly.
She wondered what he
If he had a picture on his
Facebook page, she could find out.
to the message and clicked on his name.
His page popped up. There
He looked like a normal
He wore glasses and had a
He had a nice smile. Of
that didn't mean anything.
like there might be more pictures, but she'd have to friend him to see
Did she want to do that?
her that he hadn't asked to
stared at his picture for a minute or more.
outside, got her ladder, and took the sheet off the roof.
she wrote back was, "I took it down.
It's not nice to peek at
two minutes from going off the desk for his sleep cycle when the alert
He had wrapped things up. George,
who was supposed to relieve him, had
checked in and asked if he could hit the can before coming on shift.
had said, "Sure," and gone on
cleaning up the console.
his shoulder and then clicked things with the mouse.
time to verify that the sheet was gone, but he took her word for it.
felt a wave of relief wash over him. Her
castigation of his morals didn't bother
She hadn't made any threats
He wanted to send her a thank
you note, but George might be back any second.
Besides, he wanted to check
and make sure the sheet was gone before he wrote to her again.
slept well, and
was eager to get to work.
It was five in
the morning, Colorado time, but he had the filters to see well in poor
The sheet was, in fact, gone. Her
cabin looked no different than anything
else in the area.
There was nothing to
draw the eye of another analyst. Again,
he sighed with relief.
wrote her a
His job sheet was pretty
full, and he didn't know if he'd get a chance to send her anything for
He wanted his thanks to be
there, the next time she logged on. He
tried to make it polite, but warm at the same time.
you so much.
I'm really sorry I intruded
It was a fluke that I saw
You don't have to
worry about peeping Toms.
really nothing in your area of the world that is of interest to other
It's just that sometimes we
a little bored, and then we look around, trying to find something to
You sure did that. Your
sign caught my interest, and then I saw
I'll be polite and just say
very easy on the eyes, even eyes that are a thousand miles away.
the third time?
Thank you for that. I
shouldn't have done it, and I'm sorry if I annoyed you or made you
I'm really quite harmless. Though,
to be honest, you've been a really
bright spot in my day, and you should probably put your top back on,
doubt if I'll be able to resist looking in on you from time to time,
make sure you're okay.
Thanks again for
helping me out, and for having patience with me being naughty.
He didn't tell her about all
times he'd looked at the cabin when she wasn't outside.
just hoped she'd take his apology and
She had the power. All
she had to do was put up another sheet
with "NSA BOB HAS BEEN SPYING ON ME!" and sooner or later somebody
would see it.
He'd be toast, and she'd
have her revenge.
didn't think of that.
message, hoping for the best.
started in on his job sheet.
his day was full enough that he didn't think about her for six hours.
and fixed breakfast for Curtis and herself.
He had toys to play with, and
his own used desktop computer that was
loaded with learning games.
she could work off and on most of the day.
She had recently begun
experimenting with doing her drawings on paper or
canvas, and then photographing them.
That gave them a whole
different "feeling" than something that
was built completely from digital pixels.
She could then manipulate the
image if she needed to, enhancing this or
that, or subduing something that was distracting. She'd
only sold two of those images so far,
but she thought the market was there.
Digital constructions were
sometimes too clear and perfect. Sometimes
you wanted some blur in a picture.
of the day
she took a break from painting or graphics work, and wrote.
gotten longer and longer, and had now progressed to the point she
them as books, rather than short stories.
Her plots had become more
complicated, and her characters more
This allowed her
to become more detailed, pertaining to a particular paragraph, perhaps,
than a whole page of definition. She
almost finished with her longest book yet, and couldn't wait to get it
published on Amazon, to see how it would do.
did anything else, she checked her Facebook account, to see if Bob had
anything back to her.
She read his
message and was strangely delighted that he'd sent it.
had worried that her curt reply to his
first one might scare him off.
didn't want to
scare him off confused her.
This was new territory for
She'd never engaged in an
friendship" because she'd heard such horror stories about them.
about sixty year old perverts
But she also knew two girls
personally who had met someone online, and then met them in person and
worked out just fine.
They had told her
it was actually easier to get to know someone if you wrote to each
other a long
time before meeting.
Assuming what you
wrote was the truth, of course.
wasn't actually looking to
meet any men, on line or otherwise. Still,
she was curious about Bob.
There was this tug to find
out more about
After all, he'd seen her bare
Wasn't it fair that she got
know something about him too?
If he was, she was going to
She'd stop all attempts at
talking to him if that was the case.
maybe he wasn't married.
He'd said he
was a thousand miles away.
like he was going to show up on her doorstep.
She believed his apologies
were honest, because he'd been honest about
the fact that he'd probably "look" at her again. He
could have easily promised he wouldn't do
She'd never have known if he
kept that promise or not.
picture, sunbathing half naked, didn't show up on the internet
worried about that.
She didn't know him,
but she knew enough about him to make a complaint.
Facebook account could be traced. And
she knew some things about him that she
couldn't know if her story wasn't true.
Plus she had those two
Well the original one anyway.
Curtis had taken "his letter
from Santa" and squirreled it
He had, in fact, started
a wish list for Christmas.
He had her
add to it every time they went somewhere.
He was eclectic in his
He wanted, among other
things, an airplane, a police car, everything in
Toys R Us, even though he'd never been inside the place, his own ice
store, and a hat like he'd seen another kid wearing in a car they
He couldn't describe it,
except to say it was
Then she replied to it.
I've been told I'm
irresistible, so I guess I can understand your weakness.
you're obviously going to ogle me
again, we may as well be friends on Facebook.
At least for a while. I
you, but you might see me around noon, if you have time and are on duty
the words for a long time before she finally decided to push
Was she encouraging
She tried to make the answer
"No" in her mind, but common sense laughed at that. Then
again, it was harmless.
had trouble justifying in her own mind was that, at noon, while Curtis
taking his after lunch nap, she went out and laid half naked in the
looking up at the sky through her sunglasses.
The whole situation was so
bizarre she had trouble understanding it. She'd
been nervous about doing it.
Once there, she got excited
and couldn't help
but rub oil on her breasts over and over.
She resisted masturbating,
blushing hotly at the thought of him seeing
But she couldn't keep her
off her breasts.
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