Far Too Much Mold

Mold spores


I don’t know why I’m telling this story. Maybe it’s so I can start the process of forgiving myself, knowing that what I did was beyond my control. Or maybe that’s a lie. Maybe I wanted to do it all along. I honestly don’t know.

When my buddy Raul and I heard that the Puerto Rican government was paying people to help clear the abandoned and unlivable properties that got wrecked by Hurricane Maria, we jumped at the idea. After the hurricane, neither of us were able to go back to work. Things were looking pretty bleak until that opportunity presented itself.

We went to the coordination center and got a map telling us the areas we’d be responsible for and what to do with the stuff we dragged out of the ruined houses. It was pretty straightforward – pull all the furniture and carpets and appliances out of the houses and put them on the side of the road. Trucks would pick up the junk, and, eventually, the homes would be properly demolished.

I did my best to not grimace when we were told how to tag and handle any bodies that had been missed by the initial sweeps right after the storm.

There were red X’s on the map showing where other crews were working. One spot on the far end of the grid was unmarked. It was ours.

“You’ll want to bring these,” the coordinator said, and handed us a pair of gas masks. “The mold might be toxic.” Continue reading “Far Too Much Mold”

Far Too Many Mushrooms, part 2

After all the schools and municipal cafeterias stopped taking shipments of wild mushrooms from the county co-op, they all came to my company for us to use. Normally, this would be fantastic. Mushrooms make great fertilizer.

I’ve got acres upon acres of property with great soil. It’s such good stuff that people come from all over the country in dump trucks to buy a load and haul it back to wherever they want. Our family’s been caring for the land for going on 200 years now. We’ve been asked to sell the property to big agribusinesses more times than we can count, but we could never give it up. Even when the offers got into the upper seven figures, we’ve been content with the low sixes that come in consistently, year after year.

I got a phone call a month ago from the farm co-op that’s been handling all the local produce for the county’s schools and whatnot. Apparently there’s been no interest in the mushroom glut after little Danny Lansing’s tragic passing. The co-op guy on the phone told me what I already knew: the boy’s death was from an unknown allergic reaction and no one else, as far as he knew, had gotten sick from the mushrooms. I listened and waited for him to tell me what kind of deal he’d give me if I were to buy the whole supply. Continue reading “Far Too Many Mushrooms, part 2”

Eavesdropping through an IP camera


A couple years back, there was a software flaw in a few webcam brands. Whenever they were active, they could be accessed by scanning the Internet for a particular open port. Once the port was found, anyone could tune in without the user knowing they were being watched. And millions of people used these webcams.

The companies quickly released software hotfixes, but no one, aside from a few tech-savvy folks, updated their webcam software. So even today, they broadcast everything they do in front of their computer to anyone who’s voyeuristic enough to watch. People like me.

Continue reading “Eavesdropping through an IP camera”