Dial S for …

ACP Selvaraghavan hated his job as a Cyber Crime investigator and more so today when the case involved his close friend. More than the sleaze involved in these cases, he was perturbed by the depravity and audacity with which such crimes were committed.

Seated across him was his friend of 10 years and complainant Sanjay Ramachandran, Director, Mediavision.

He recalled Sanjay’s confession when the FIR was prepared.

***

It was past midnight on Halloween night when Vandana and I reached home, both as wasted as we could be after such a party.

Instinctively, I searched my pockets as Vandana screwed her eyes in query.

I said “Vani, I forgot my phone at the party.”

Relieved that it was not much of a disaster as my face betrayed, Vandana said

“Oh, is that all? We will pick it up tomorrow morning. If it is still there.”

I took Vandana’s phone and dialled my number. To my astonishment, it was busy. I was anxious. Who could be calling from my password protected phone?

My head was heavy and not just because of the alcohol.

Vandana was washing off the greasepaint when her phone buzzed.

She picked it up and announced, “Hey! It is from your number,” as she passed it on to me.

The voice on the phone was unfamiliar, but stern.

“Hello, Sanjay! Speaking from your priceless phone,” he laughed.

“My bad! I am the snoopy kind. I stumbled upon some personal raunchy pictures and messages which probably your wife will not approve of. Man! this will sell better than Fifty Shades did!”

The horror began to unfold on the night I lost my phone.

“That leaves us with just two options,” he declared.

“Option 1, you can choose to ignore this call. Then, the pictures and text messages will be shared to all in your contact lists. Even if you come clean about your misadventures to your wife and fall at her feet, would you be able to survive the irreparable personal and professional humiliation when these sordid details become public?”

“Option 2, you can pay me 25 Lakh Rupees and I can guarantee that you can go on with your life as if none of this has happened.”

I stood frozen weighing my odds before retorting, “Don’t you dare to mess with me. Do you realize whom you are dealing with?”

A mocking laughter later, a string of intimate pictures, hidden in my protected folder began cascading into my wife’s phone.

***

ACP Selvaraghavan played the CCTV footage of the dance floor on that Halloween party night. In slowed down frames, there she was, as witchy as the twisted clown’s costume she wore, placing the phone on the waiter’s tray and cover it with a wad of currencies.

ACP left the chambers in disgust as his dear friend stared in disbelief at his wife who did not show any remorse for trying to extort money from him.

***

Ranjit Narayanan

Ranjit is an Engineer by profession, does a sales job that takes him to different corners of the earth and those journeys make him pen down few words to lean away from the boredom of constantly watching the lazy clouds outside the window of aeroplanes.
Ranjit Narayanan

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