Mr. Ramos owns and manages a six-door apartment. He is a greedy landlord who takes everything he could but never gives out any. He is selfish and inconsiderate. For him, money is all that matters.
That’s why he looked subdued one Sunday morning. His best tenant, the only one who paid rent on time, moved out last month and no one has inquired yet about his post “Wanted: Tenant”.
He occupies the first door apartment leaving him five more doors to lease. He chose the first door so he could keep tabs on who comes and goes and who he was with. The one next to him is rented by an on-and-off model who was always behind rent, so, by way of getting back at him, Mr. Ramos never gets his leaking faucet fixed. So, the model has to tie a rubber band around it when not in use.
The one next to the model is an online writer who seldom gets out. So, Mr. Ramos doesn’t have any problems with him except that, probably because of his being absorbed in his writing, he always forgets to hand over the rent on time.
The door across the writer’s is occupied by a college student. Though Mr. Ramos believes that the parents send the rent on time, the young man is too forgetful to hand it over.
Next to the student is a teacher. Mr. Ramos doesn’t mind getting the rent a little late. After all, the teacher is a respectable man and infinitely polite. But Mr. Ramos secretly wished he would check test papers in school and not in the apartment. If only each tenant has his own electric meter, then the teacher could pay his own electric bill.
The last door, across from Mr. Ramos’ is unoccupied at the moment making the landlord uneasy and sulky. So, when someone inquired about the rent, Mr. Ramos could barely hide his elation. After explaining the terms and condition, the landlord happily gave the key to the new tenant who, he learned later, was a contractor. Whatever kind of contractor he was, Mr. Ramos didn’t know nor he cared. Why would he, when the new tenant paid three months in advance?
Mr. Ramos is so pleased with his new tenant and made no secret of it. And as if to tell everyone how lucky he was with the new guy, a wifi connection was suddenly available for everyone to use. All of them, especially the student was elated but no one, not even the respectable teacher would tell the new tenant that he forgot to guard his wifi with a password. Well, maybe he’s naturally generous and doesn’t mind sharing, they all thought. Hopefully, the landlord would learn something from him.
After two months, even Mr. Ramos who detested gadgets bought his own laptop and put up his own email account. Surely, the new tenant knows they are tapping with his connection and it seems like he doesn’t mind a bit. So, they became bolder and started to bring out their cellphones and tablets outside for a better connection.
After another month, all the inhabitants of the apartment, including the landlord, were irritated when they couldn’t get connected to the internet. They tried bringing out their gadgets into the open for a better connection, the student even shamelessly stood by the new tenant’s door which was always locked. Still, no connection.
The tenants waited, but it was as if they just imagined the whole thing, that there was never an internet connection in the compound. However, the landlord’s new laptop and the teacher’s new cellphone were proof that there was.
A day passed by, then, another day and yet another. Still, there was no connection. Mr. Ramos racked his brain for a reason to knock at the new tenant’s door, just to keep tabs. But the student was the first to find out something has gone wrong. He texted his parents for his allowance but was told that his allowance, together with the rent, was already sent on his account. But when he checked his account, it was empty. He mournfully went to Mr. Ramos and told him what happened to the rent.
Naturally, Mr. Ramos was furious. The parents probably sent the money to the wrong account. It wasn’t his fault they were bunch of stupid people, he got to get paid. The following day, the teacher told the landlord the same thing, his salary which he received through ATM was gone. His account was closed. The same goes with the model and the writer.
Mr. Ramos felt uncomfortable. He rushed to the nearest ATM and checked his account. It was closed. He came home and knocked on the new tenant’s door. When no one answered, he got his spare key and opened it only to find out that it was empty. The writer was the first to realize what happened. They were hacked. The new tenant was a hacker who let them use his internet connection to tap on their accounts. He probably got all their email accounts, bank accounts and social network accounts so he knew everything about them while they knew nothing about him. Nobody even saw him in person except for Mr. Ramos who was more focused on his payment than on his face.
But since no one can identify the hacker nor can prove he was the culprit, the tenants nor the landlord couldn’t go to the police. But all of them learned one thing..
… be very careful with things you get for free.
(Original story by the blog author. Any similarities with other stories, fiction or otherwise, are purely incidental.)