Bonnie had first indulged herself in a long shower that her neighbors would probably complain about, depending on how big the water heater was for this section of the apartment building. Oh well, though. She had as much right to it as they did. So she was wearing clean clothes and her hair was still dripping a little when she got around to checking her answering machine.
First, a call from her mother that told her, flat out, that her answering machine message was not that funny, and if that was her attitude, then she'd never call back.
"That's not gonna last," she muttered through a chuckle as she sat down for the rest.
One from Devon, just to check up. One from her sister, chuckling at her mother and asking when she was going to be visiting and telling her she'd just gotten engaged. Bonnie was glad to hear that one. "Less pressure on me, thank God."
A couple from the colleges she'd gotten in touch with, and one that sounded very promising. She wrote down that number and made a note to call back.
And then, she heard Michael's voice.
"Heya, Bon, it's Michael-- Kitt and I managed to, um, run into some problems-- Problems at work. Long story better told in person, or at least where you can answer back, but, uh, I got fired.
"Kitt's okay-- sorta-- Devon somehow pulled my name from some encoded... thingy. No, cited code and gave an embedded command, that was it. Kitt's okay, no headaches, came home with me on his own, and he's sleeping on the couch now.
"But he needs to see you, to get things set right and to see if you can block off that code-- I mean, I don't want Devon trying this shit on Karr, either, or trying it again on Kitt. He seems... drained.
"Boy, I hope you get all this. I'm gonna go see to Kitt now-- call me as soon as you can. We can come up there if that's easier-- Kitt wants to get out of town, I think.
"Love you, take care. Bye."
Bonnie stared at the answering machine. "Devon... what the hell have you done." She nearly growled the words as she changed the tape on the machine - it was time and date stamped, and with something like that on the message, she knew it could end up evidence. And then, she rewound the reply tape and started recording a new greeting.
"You've reached the residence of Bonnie Barstow. The fact is that I'm screening my calls. If I don't answer, either I'm not at the phone, or I don't want to talk to you. Feel free to leave a message. I'll feel free to ignore you."
And then, with that done, she picked up her handset to dial Michael. What time was it here, anyway? It didn't matter, this was important.