Just as I arrived over at my folks place on Sunday afternoon and walked in the front door, my Dad suddenly clicked off his beloved television and exclaimed "There you are boy, I've been waiting for you. Glad you finally showed up."
That statement in itself should have set off warning bells in my head as firstly, my father never turns the TV off for anyone who arrives and secondly, he rarely, if ever, exclaims a gladness to see anyone. Usually he expresses quite the opposite.
My initial reaction was to look behind me to see who Dad was talking to. It certainly couldn't be me. Satisfied that no one else was following, I cautiously entered the living room.
"I'm actually early for Sunday dinner, Dad." I hesitantly responded. "It's only 3 PM and Mom serves dinner at 6."
"Oh yes, dinner." Dad replied, as if he suddenly remembered why I was there. "Glad you could make it. I just have a little errand for you to do before then. I told old Frank Mason that you would 'pop over' and set up his email on his new computer he just bought. Got a real good deal on the thing however he has no idea how to get the damn email to work."
"What did you tell him that for?" I protested. "The last thing I want to do on my day off is go over to some crazy 'old coots' house and set up his computer. I don't even know much about these things."
"Nonsense" Dad replied, dismissing my comment with the wave of a hand. "You work with computers all day, of course you know how. Anyway this will only take you a second and it will really help out old Frank."
As we both walked down the street towards Frank Mason's house I reminded my father that although I work with computers all day, I am a testing consultant and really don't know much about computer installs & set-ups and attempted to discourage him "loaning me out" in future to help any of his elderly buddies with their home computers issues.
When we arrived, we were greeted at the door by the old widow Mrs. McMasters, the neighbourhood crone who does housekeeping duties for him a couple days a week.
I always remember her growing up as a nasty old lady who would angrily yell at all the kids to stay off of her lawn and go play elsewhere. Although that was many years ago, I still remember it clearly and never could stand the 'fat old bat' as a result of this.
She looked at both my Dad and myself and ushered us inside while grunting what sounded to be a painstaking greeting of "Hello".
Frank showed me where the computer was and as he turned it on he explained that he has everything working except his email, which he really needs since, as he put it "I don't get around and about so much at my age anymore. So I need my email to keep it touch."
I told him it probably just needs to be installed and configured correctly and should only take me a few minutes to complete.
With that he left me alone in the room while he went to have a quick beer with my Dad, who was sitting in the kitchen chatting with the vile Mrs. McMasters.
As the email program was installing, I sat there bored out of my mind, just wanting to get this over with and get out. I then suddenly noticed on the computer desktop that Frank had a few .jpg files (Picture files) entitled Xmas1 through Xmas12.
As a rule I really hate seeing other peoples photographs however being completely bored I mindlessly clicked on Xmas1, more just to pass the time then any actual real interest.
Now before I proceed any further here, let me tell you that in hindsight this was a huge mistake and I strongly recommend anyone ever considering looking at something on a computer you are unfamiliar with, to avoid it at all costs. I certainly wish I had.
Xmas1 opened and my jaw almost dropped to the floor as it was a picture of the rotund Mrs. McMasters, standing in front of Frank's Christmas tree in his living room, dressed only in her underwear & a Santa hat!
I quickly closed the picture, completely aghast at what I had just seen. However for some unknown reason and as shocked and disgusted as I was by this photograph, I went ahead and double clicked on Xmas2.
AAAAHHH! This one was even worse! Old lady McMasters was posing with a candy cane in her mouth, displaying a naked shoulder to the camera and winking.
I was thankful that I had not had my dinner as yet as I almost threw up when I saw this sickening image and quickly closed the picture. I had seen enough, actually I had seen way more than enough. I now felt quite ill.
I just sat there for a moment, trying to calm my nerves and attempt to get these horrible pictures out of my mind. Apparently the widow McMasters was not only doing old Franks' housekeeping, she was also doing 'old Frank'! AAAAHHH!
Finally the install had completed and I nervously typed in all the information from the internet provider and then went to get Frank to sign in and see if it worked.
"You look a little pale." Frank commented as he came into the room. "Are you feeling ok?"
"I'll be fine, thanks." I responded, lying through my teeth. "Just suddenly have an upset stomach is all."
Frank sat down at his computer and logged in successfully. His mail started showing up in the inbox and he seemed extremely pleased, thanking me repeatedly.
I then noticed he had tons of spam coming into his inbox for sweepstakes and Viagra advertising, etc.
"If you want me to set up some junk mail filters to get rid of that spam, I can easily do that for you." I offered, being the helpful individual that I am.
"Spam, what spam?" Frank replied, sounding somewhat surprised.
"Those adverts." I responded pointing to one. "Like this one, selling Viagra, for example."
"Well that's not spam." Frank advised without hesitation. "I buy that over the internet all the time. It is a competitive market so I get it from a number of different places."
Once again I stood there frozen and looking stunned. All I could think of is "How do I get myself involved in these situations?"
Frank must have noticed my expression as he started to laugh out loud.
"Don't looked so shocked, appearances can be deceiving." Frank continued. "Just because there's snow on the roof doesn't mean there's not a fire in the furnace."
A few minutes later as Dad and me were walking home, Dad thanked me again for helping out and then I got him to promise again to never volunteer me again to his buddies.
Dad then leaned over to me and lowering his voice said "I shouldn't be telling you this but 'word on the street' is that Frank and the widow McMasters are 'carrying on' together."
"Street? What street?" I asked looking over at my father. "Who are you, Perry Mason? Don't you just mean the neighbourhood gossip? Why not just say it like that ?"
"I'm just telling you what I heard, boy." Dad responded. "Not sure if it's true or not though. No one is."
"Well Dad" I began, a little hesitant. "I can confirm that it is true, without doubt."
"How would you know, I just mentioned it?" Dad replied.
"Stuff, Dad. I saw stuff on that computer." I responded, my voice quivering as I recalled what I had just observed. "Horrible & repulsive images as well as emails for Viagra. It was terrible. I just need to forget about it."
Dad, of course, would not let the topic drop until I had given him a full & complete disclosure of the dreadful images that I had seen.
"HA" Dad exclaimed aloud, slapping me on the back. "I knew it. I knew those two were up to something. Good work, boy!"
Dad then continued.
"When I asked old Frank why he didn't come over to our annual open house earlier this week on Christmas Eve, he replied that he took a pill and made an early evening of it. I just assumed he had meant one of his heart pills.
Turns out it was more likely he took one of those little blue Viagra pills and made an early evening of it. HAHA!! Good for him, that crafty old hound!"
It must be an 'age gap thing' since as much as I wanted to forget and erase the horrific images I saw today from my mind, my Dad seemed to find these both entertaining and a source of humour.
"Ok, lets get a move on home." Dad suddenly ordered, picking up the pace. "I want to share this story with your mother and hopefully eat dinner, I'm famished."
"That's odd." I thought to myself as I increased my speed. "Dad's hungry and I have completely lost my appetite for the rest of the day."
We definitely look at life differently at times.