Keyboarding, Internet, and You! Wil read at the top of the whiteboard. It was the upbeat subtitle of a series of life skills classes in the Preparing All Students for the Future course. Besides improving morale with bright, plastic colors; her school also sought to show it gave all attendees necessary skills like cooking, computers, woodworking, and sewing.
Wil was currently sitting in KIY! (or KillYou, as the teenagers called it), barely feeling the lecture to be necessary or engaging. Like most of her generation, computers did not intimidate her in the least. Also like most, she thought keyboarding an archaic practice reserved for those too dumb to use the auto-fill and spell-checker. KillYou earned its nickname because the class killed you with boredom.
Preparing herself for a brain nap, Wil slid around in her seat behind her computer. She nearly slid right out again when she looked down to see what was printed on the handout the teacher’s aide had just given each person. The page was titled Cyphers and Codes, with a cheesy cartoon Sherlock Holmes peering through his magnifying glass at said title. Below the title, however, were several examples of codes -including one using lines and dots!
Wil tried to calm her pulse and breathing, then looked around. She was certain she’d see her note-writer. The coincidence was too strong.
No one looked remotely suspicious, however, nor interested in anything in general. This was their last class, was always boring, and the teacher, Mrs. Camp, was difficult to see and hear.
In fact, Mrs. C. was currently lecturing. She was quite short and petite, and quite soft-spoken. She wore her eyeglasses on a chain round her neck, on her face, or set upon her graying hair. She’d just stood up to outline the assignment, though that was hard to tell since the top of her head could just be seen over the top of Wil’s monitor.
Wil realized that she’d missed most of the instructions, in her surprise and subsequent peering round at everyone. Fortunately, Mrs. C. was aware of her height deficiencies and usually wrote their assignment on the paper or the white board up front.
Their riveting task would be to recreate this paper on the computer, using their word processing program and the images already saved in Cyphers and Codes on the shared drive D:/.
Many in the class, Wil included, let out various noises of disinterest as they slowly logged into their student accounts. They wearily copied the text and inserted pictures.
Wil still felt on high alert, so she took a few minutes of moving through automatic gestures to finally realize she knew how to decipher her note now. The lines were part of an X or a box, and corresponded to writing the alphabet in X or box shapes, some with and some without dots. Then, a code writer wrote the shape the letter was in for the code.
Wil also realized that her mysterious person (or, persons!) could have attended this computer class the day before, with the A Schedule session. Then, the person would have learned about codes and started writing her secret messages.
These thoughts were comforting, as she worked to finish the mundane assignment and looked forward to starting on her note. She was so intent now, though, that she didn’t even notice the sneaky, sly look of appraisal from a quiet pair of eyes two seats over and one row back.