From Terry’s PI Files – The Digital Love Affair

[Back in January 2014, I left the security and investigations business to pursue new ventures. But, I’ve been recapping my old cases in recent times… here’s one of the funniest I’ve ever been involved in. This was written in 2013]

In Calgary, I wear a number of hats. I’m best known as a foodie and avid twitter fiend (@calgarydreamer), but those who know me also know me as the guy to go to when you need help… in an espionage kind of way.  I used to run and operate Spy City in Calgary from 2007-Jan 2014 years.  Needless to say, I’ve encountered some pretty funny and some pretty tragic events.

Priiiivate eyes...they're waaatching you... they're seeing your every moooove...

Priiiivate eyes…they’re waaatching you… they’re seeing your every moooove…

As cool as my job sounded, a lot of the work deals with some of the nastier stuff of human nature… that is, betrayal, hatred, lust and fear.  Think more Magnum PI than James Bond a lot of the times, and you have some pretty negative situations all around.

But every so often, you get a pretty funny surprise that blindsides you in it’s hilarity and even genuine sense of love and redemption.  There’s the client who had me follow her husband and his “mistress” for a few days, only to find out that the “mistress” was a party planner and my client was about to have a kick-ass surprise birthday party.  There’s the guy who found out he was just too suspicious and discovered that his girlfriend was about to surprise him with the announcement of their first child (they’re a great couple btw). And then there was this case…

My client was technologically inept in pretty much every sense of the word.  A charming lady, she brought meaning and true embodiment to the term, “more jittery than a jitterbug.”  She couldn’t believe it had come to the point that she needed my help.  But at the same time, she didn’t know what to expect as well.

Every night, her husband would leave their bed, and he would go on the net every night to do god knows what, and then return to bed a few hours later.  It went on like clockwork for weeks, and it was an obsessive sort of action.  But the last straw was when she went down to try to see what he was doing online, and he snapped back at her.

Burning the midnight oil or something nefarious?

Burning the midnight oil or something nefarious?

When she came to me, she was at her rope’s end.  Her husband had always been a good person, but now with these late night online events, he would sleep less and less and go to work an utter zombie.  He refused to talk to her about what was going on, and would not let her near him when he was online.  And in a time when online affairs was rampant, you can only imagine what she was going through.

After she explained the whole situation, my own first impression was that he was probably having an online affair.  I didn’t really know the man, but this sort of behavior was common among the cheaters I’ve caught in the past.  So after a few more minutes to gather initial impressions, we were both convinced that some sort of monitoring software was needed.

Later that day, with her permission of course, I installed a useful piece of software that records every single action, keystroke, website and more into a secret database.  It’s been a pretty handy tool for someone in my line of work, since I can honestly say that I’ve assisted in stopping at least a few adult stalkers, cheaters, prevented 3 child abductions (way cool…) and stopped a planned assault that could only go worse.  Once installed, I let it work it’s magic, and waited for him to do his.

About 2 days later, my client was waiting at the front door anxiously for my arrival.  She had to know if she had lost her husband to another woman or online porn or worse, and I was her only hope.  So I sat down before the keyboard, and hitting a secret combo of keys and passwords, I called up the hidden logs.

At first, I noticed that she was right.  In the last 2 nights alone since the installation, someone had been using the computer for hours between 10pm and 2am.  But that was pretty much all that she was right about.  My attention turned to the keystrokes, and I noticed that there were far too many keystrokes for a normal chat.  Over and over, the letters A, W, S, D and SPACE were being hammered on every second of every minute of every hour.  There was very little actual chats being made as well, except terms like “cover me” and “eat my unholy axe”.  It was with the last words, that everything came into view… he wasn’t having an online affair at all.  Heck,. he wasn’t even looking at porn.  He was addicted to WORLD OF WARCRAFT.

Screenshot of World of Warcraft

Screenshot of World of Warcraft

It was a bit difficult to explain to her that her hubby wasn’t cheating on her with another woman, but instead with 2000 orcs and goblins, but eventually I got through.  She was so incredibly relieved, and had me take the software off the computer. Needless to say, it was probably the best few hundred she ever spent.

This was one of the best results I ever had in a case, that led to happy (relatively) results.  I still look back at that and smile.  But as I think about it, one little thing concerns me.. how does a real life mortal wife compete with 2000 digital Orcs and dragons?

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