Using a built-in webcam and mini-microphone on the new laptop he got for Christmas, Troy in Minneapolis chatted online with his best friend Erica in Dallas.
"Merry Christmas, Erica!" Troy excitedly said. "This is so much better than talkin' on my cell. Stupid thing always cuts out...and I know you'd miss half my words."
"Merry Christmas, Troy! Yeah, and we don't hafta worry about using up my minutes."
"Well, now that we finally got this thing workin', I have to tell you something."
He sounded serious.
"Oh, oh. What's up?"
Troy scratched his ear like he always did when he was nervous. "Last night, when I was downloading some software updates so I could get this webcam workin' right, I got some spyware. I mean my computer got some spyware."
"Spyware? You mean like pop-ups and that kinda stuff?"
Just then, Erica's father walked by. Concerned, he asked, "Who you talkin' to? and who is 'Papa Latte'? a new coffee shop?"
Laughing, Erica turned and answered, "No daddy, it's 'pop ups' - an annoying computer thing. I'm talkin' to Troy--see?" She pointed to Troy on the monitor, and Troy waved back with a big smile.
"That's ok." Erica's father said. "I thought you might be talkin' to yourself again. Only us old folk can do that!"
"Oh daddy! You're just battling some flu right now, at least you got your health-- it's not like it's cancer or somethin'."
"Oh, no!" Troy said, "Another one. It says 'Click here now for TWO FREE COPIES of the latest SUPER Diet Weightloss Book!' Arrrgh!" He clicked the window away.
"What's so bad about that?"
"It just pops up on its own, and it's soooo annoying."
"Very funny! Hey Troy, I was thinking we could meet in St. Louis again, like we did last New Year's?"
"Sure, same 'bat-place', same 'bat-time'?"
"Yep. Hey --Buster-- not now!" Erica's dog -- a Black Lab dog, about a year old--tried getting on her lap. Buster sheds a lot of hair (and slobber!) and he was about as annoying as Troy's pop-ups just then.
"Hey Erica--I just checked my e-mail, and it looks like the spyware infected my inbox, too."
"That could be--like--real bad, hey?"
"Here's one... 'online dating for singles in your area!' and another... 'reduce your home debt with cheap mortgage insurance!' this one is interesting... 'start an online credit loan business - no attorney needed!'
I would forward these to you, but I wouldn't want your computer to get 'spywared' too."
"No-no-no don't send me that junk. Unless it's about fashion jewelry or wedding planners."
Troy giggled, because he knew Erica had no idea what he was about to do.
Erica's father appeared again. "Here, Erica. Merry Christmas--I made you a special 'papa latte'!"
Troy and Erica laughed at the same time. It was a special moment, because her dad got his humor back, which meant he was feeling better.
Smiling, Erica wiped a happy tear from her eye. "I'll get my car packed and leave in about 20 minutes..."
Ah! That was a great story! Amazing creativity with the word use. Loved it. Now my confession -- my first thought on clicking to read the rest of the story was that I'd get the spyware on my computer that your MC had. :) But I HAD to find out what happened next so, I risked it. :) Great writing!!