"Hey, Daniel, come and take a look at this before I post it on my blog. Dad and I are going to Starbucks to check out a couch from Craig's List." Leslie called down the hall as she searched for her keys and shoes. "Daniel."
"Coming said the grumpy teen, "Why do I need to look at it before you post it? It's not about me again, is it?"
"Well, sort of. It's kind of a mesh of Proverbs 13 and you and life in general. Just read it. If it's okay, click "Publish Post." If you don't like it, save it and I'll re-do it when I come back. We should be right back but we might be a little while if we like the couch."
"What? You're looking at another couch? How many are you going to look at?" grumbled Daniel.
"It's only been a few and this one is in Kaneohe, only a few minutes away."
"Wait. You said you were going to Starbuck's. Why are you going to Starbuck's to get a couch?"
"Rick said he'd meet us in the Starbuck's parking lot so that we didn't get lost."
"Who's Rick?" asked Daniel, exasperated.
"The guy with the couch from Craig's List! Anyway, I don't actually have his address but I know he drives a black '62 Chevy pick-up and he sounds like a really nice guy on the phone. Okay, so Laura's not home. You're in charge. Don't abuse that responsibility. Got it? Love you. Bye."
"Okay, whatever, bye."
"Read it please!" called Leslie from the back door.
"Bye." called Daniel from the kitchen.
"Okay, Okay!" Daniel walked over to his mom's chair and recognized immmediately the need for a comfy couch in the living room. He begrudgingly picked up her laptop and sat down. "All right, so what do we have here. "Daniel touched the touchpad to read the laptop screen. "'From the fruit of his lips a man enjoys good things, but the unfaithful have a craving for violence.' What in the world is she talking about? Here we go again..."
Dave and Leslie pulled into the Starbuck's parking lot just as it started to rain. They circled a few times but couldn't find the black Chevy. Leslie's phone rang. "Hi Rick, yes, we're here. Oh, now I see you." She smiled as she looked at the face of the man on the phone. He smiled at her and said, "Is that you?" They both laughed and closed their phones. Rick called out of his window, "I live just down the road a bit, follow me."
"Okay, great." yelled Dave from the driver's seat.
Daniel neared the end of the blog post..."'Righteousness guards the man of integrity, but wickedness overthrows the sinner.' Okay, whatever. I guess it's not too bad. Now what did she tell me to do?" Daniel clicked the button to publish the post and, as always, he then selected "view blog" so he could see the final product. "Hey, I took that picture. Hello sunset, you are looking mighty fine, I must say." Daniel scrolled down to see the rest of the blog and scanned the followers. "Hey, she has a new follower...."
"He seems like a nice guy." observed Leslie. "No tattoos, no piercings, just a nice guy who wants to go back home and take care of his parents. Did I tell you his wife is a third grade teacher too?"
"How did that come up?" wondered Dave.
"I don't know. Oh, wow it's dark back here. There aren't any street lights really. I'm glad he met us at Starbucks."
"Let's just hope this couch doesn't have cat scratches all over it." said Dave disapprovingly.
"Or that it's not 5 inches too short for you." said Leslie, reprovingly. They turned onto another road. "Okay, there are, like NO houses here. Can I have some of this undeveloped land for a small price?" wondered Leslie aloud.
The black Chevy pulled into the grass in front of a house. A middle-aged man wearing a polo shirt, khaki pants and dress shoes got out of the truck, certainly looking like someone who hasn't blended with the local culture and wants to go home to the mainland. Rick walked over to the driver's side and waited for Dave to roll down his window. "Dave, you can back into the carport if you want, to make it easier later."
" Okay, thanks." said Dave with a smile. He turned to Leslie, "How did he know my name?"
"I must have mentioned it. He's probably in sales or something so he knows how to remember names. Or maybe he's a Christian and Craig's List is his front for getting to know people. Relational evangelism meets the Internet!" quipped Leslie, seriously considering blogging on the idea as a valid ministry option.
"Well, he's not wearing a white oxford with a blue name badge so I don't think he's a Mormon missionary. Too bad."
"Why?" wondered Leslie.
"We'd know that the couch was smoke-free." laughed Dave.
"Oh, you're funny. Okay, so you have the money? Please don't haggle him on the price, he said his wife didn't want to negotiate on the price."
"Okay, okay. I have the money but do me a favor and leave your purse here so I don't have to drive back to get it when you forget it."
"I'll put it under the seat."
"Actually,I'll put my phone there, too so it doesn't fall out while I'm carrying the couch...IF I carry the couch, that is."
Daniel clicked on the name of the new follower and noticed his name. Rick Hobling. "Ha, Rick! That's funny. I wonder if he's selling a couch on Craig's List." he laughed. Unable to resist the power of the Internet, Daniel clicked on Rick's profile. "Hey, this guy lives in Kaneohe! I'll bet it IS the same guy!" That is SO funny. I gotta call mom and tell her. She would laugh so hard." Daniel dialed Leslie's cell. No answer. Then he dialed Dave's. "Oh well. I guess she'll find out when she gets home." Then, just out of curiousity, Daniel googled Rick Hobling.
Dave and Leslie both removed their shoes and entered the house, noticing that the owner, however, did not. Definitely not meshing with life here thought Dave. "The couch is up the stairs and to the right." noted Rick. He motioned for Leslie to go first. Dave followed. The hall was dark. They got to the top of the stairs and turned right. They entered what they assumed was the living room. There was a red carpet, black curtains which were drawn shut, but no couch. They turned around confused and heard Rick lock the front door down the hall. Leslie's stomach sank and Dave grabbed her hand protectively while he reached for his phone. His phone! It was in the car!
"I want to thank you for coming to take a look at my couch," said Rick. "Unfortunately, it's no longer available." Dave could see that there was no easy way out of this. Though Dave had more leverage, he didn't know what this guy was planning to do. Dave put Leslie behind him.
Rick leaned over to look at Leslie, "You have an interesting blog. I've been following you for some time anonymously. But today, I made myself your last follower."
Leslie was stunned. What was happening? Who was this guy? Why was he doing this? "Have I done something to...was there something that..."
"Oh, don't worry. It's nothing personal.It's just that, well, I can. So I do. You're not the first and you won't be the last. But I WILL be the last follower on your blog, be sure of that." Rick reached into his back pocket and pulled out a rope while at the same time a loud crash was heard down the hall and heavy footsteps were heard on the stairs. Rick turned around and Dave kicked him onto the floor grabbing Leslie's arm and pulling her out of the room just as the police came in wearing bullet-proof vests and pointing guns at Rick. "Mr. Hobling, you're under arrest."
Shaking and nearly sick with fear, Leslie moved toward the front door. "How did you ever find us?" she asked one of the policemen.
"Mrs. Collins, you should be very thankful for that son of yours. He is a quick thinker. Mr. Hobling left his mark on your blog and Daniel followed it. When he saw Mr. Hobling's own blogs and his other activity on the Internet, Daniel called us right away and, thanks to your cell phones, we were able to find you... Mr. Hobling is wanted in 3 states for murder.
"Every prudent man acts out of knowledge, but a fool exposes his folly." Proverbs 13:16