Chrome Contact


The Centroid Café, a popular haunt in Hawkins Falls, was widely regarded as a warm and  lively gathering place. The café had a long reputation for its hearty food and creative drinks, generous servings, and modest prices.


Alec arrived at the Centroid Café to to find a large knot of news reporters milling around several mobile TV vans parked at the front. There was  no armed guard at the entrance anymore, but as soon as he stepped through the door, one of the café’s weekend bouncers, Big Mike, stepped in front of him.

"Oh, hi Alec. C’mon in. I’m just keeping out the media guys," the burly man said as he stepped aside.

Alec found Monty in his office, rearranging papers on his cluttered desk.

"Ahh, come in Alec…just squirreling around until you got here. Come here—I’ve got something to show you."

Monty motioned Alec over as he swung open the double doors on the lacquered Chinese cabinet behind his desk, revealing a small TV monitor and a control panel with odd switches and lights. Alec never suspected that Monty had any closed-circuit TV cameras in the large, three-storied café. But the image on the monitor was unmistakably from the front entrance. Monty flipped a couple of switches and the patio view snapped onto the monitor. The alien creature and the glowing sphere were clearly visible, although now surrounded by a small wire fence and an assortment of cameras, three Omnivore 90s on mobile platforms, and some odd-looking machines with parabolic dishes mounted on their tops.

"See," Monty said, "there’s our little monkey."

"Boffo view," Alec blurted out. "I never saw a camera up on the patio, where’s it at?"

"Mum’s the word, Alec, don’t say anything to the feds…not even to Chief Cook. OK?"

"Sure thing, Monty. But how do you do it?"

"Well, you know that old, weather-beaten bird feeder that hangs under the Wisteria, well…"

"Boffo!" Alec exclaimed. "And I bet you even rigged it up to rotate, eh Monty?"

"Right you are. Plus, look at this…I can record up to a whole day’s worth of video automatically. In fact, I started recording from the patio camera just before I called my lawyer yesterday."

"Double boffo," Alec said, obviously impressed by the sophistication of the setup.

"Fact is, I’ve got four other concealed cameras in the café…had to put them in after a punk plastique gang blew into town a few years ago. Built the hiding spots myself—even the motorized mounts," Monty boasted. "But remember, not a word of this to anyone."





. . . . . ..

© 2000 Centroid Communications.

. .