The Mobile Spy – “Ending It All” (The Finale & Part 4)


Catch up on Part 1 of “The Mobile Spy” here, Part 2 here and Part 3 here (on AT&T’s Lose the Laptop site) or Part 1 here, Part 2 here and Part 3 here (on

He slept most of the way. He hadn’t realized how running on adrenaline had made him so incredibly tired. He only woke a few times to have his ticket checked and to peer out the window to identify his surroundings. But after each check, he slipped back into a deep slumber.

After about five hours of sleep, lulled by the gentle rocking of the train, he snapped awake, refreshed and rejuvenated. He was about an hour away from his final destination, a sleepy lake-side town in the Italian mountains. He knew the area like the back of his hand. The small villa had been purchased many years ago and had been cared for by a local who had been paid from an anonymous fund. It would be his family’s sanctuary and the start of his new life.

He thought back to the events of the past 24 hours, double checking every possible angle of his escape. By the time the agents caught the vagrant in the cab, they would realize that they had been tricked and that the trail would be cold. The safe house had been thoroughly burned. He knew this because of how he had set up the rooms. Each room had areas that were meant to act as tinder, from the old, dry and dusty curtains to the yellowing newspapers stacked in careful piles around the flat. He had lost the laptop by completely destroying its internal hard drive and burning it beyond recovery. The data had been transferred from his cell phone to the laptop and then off to a secure site. All of the checks were in the appropriate boxes. Through a stroke of luck, Mark Z, the man he had bought the data from, was dead. And for all intents and purposes, any connections to Mark, the data and him were long erased.

HTD_lake_villas_sm The man got up from his seat and walked to the WC at the end of the train car. Once the bathroom door was locked behind him, he took out his wallet and began removing all of the credit cards and IDs. He set to work folding and ripping up the items of his past lives, flushing pieces of the documents down the toilet as the train raced through empty pastures and hillsides. When the last piece had been disposed of, he breathed a sigh of relief and headed back to his seat.

The train slowed as it approached a non-descript station. It was simple, just a room with some benches and a closed ticket window. He did notice a change since the last time he was there, on the roof was a multi-directional antenna. He glanced at his HTC Tilt 2 and saw that it actually had signal strength. Ah, technology progress had even spread its fingers up to the rural Italian mountainside.

But it really didn’t matter to him. After being connected in so many different ways, he was finally going to be able to fully drop off the grid. It was a moment he was looking forward to for a long time.

The train screeched to a stop. There was a short toot of the steam whistle and he hopped off of the car. To the casual observer, nothing would have seemed out of the ordinary, just a man getting off of the train. The only slightly odd things were the spring in his step and the fact that he didn’t have any baggage with him. With another blast from the whistle, the train jerked for a second and then started pulling away from the station.

He stood alone on the platform and watched the train curve round the bend and into one of many long dark tunnels along the route. The clanging of the wheels on the metal tracks faded into the distance until there was nothing left but the soft wind whistling through the trees. He stood for a few more minutes, fully absorbing the tranquility and silence of the moment.


The quiet was broken by a familiar and excited voice. The shadows revealed two figures, the smaller of which came bounding out into the brilliant sunlight. Little arms suddenly crushed the man’s leg and the man bent down to effortlessly scoop the child off of the ground. With his boy wrapped around his arms and chest, the man walked toward the other figure.

He bent forward and kissed his wife. She smiled, looking deep into his eyes.

“You’re finally here,” she exclaimed.

“Yes,” he replied.

“What did you bring me?” the boy inquired.

The man’s heart sunk as he thought back to the stuffed animal sitting in the store several hours in his past, paid for, yet abandoned. He thought for a moment and reached into his pocket. He pulled out his cellphone, carefully popped out the battery and removed the SIM card. He dropped the SIM to the cement and then with his right foot, brought his heel down hard upon it. After grinding it a few times, he kicked what remained out onto the tracks.

“I got you this,” he said as he handed his cell phone to his boy. “I won’t be needing it any more.”

“Oh wow! Thanks Daddy!” his boy bubbled.

The family walked slowly off of the platform and down the dusty road.

“Where’s your laptop?” she asked casually.

“I lost it,” he replied and never gave it another thought.


About this article: This post is the FOURTH and FINAL installment of an on-going series for the AT&T Lose the Laptop Challenge. See the FIRST installment here, the SECOND installment here and the THIRD installment here. This is the FINAL month and we are all “gunning” for the GRAND PRIZE of $5000. Remember to VOTE (for me, especially). By voting, you too can win $5000. There were 3 subjects during the previous 3 months: Travel, Social and Shopping. Please take a look at my previous posts. Over the next few weeks, I will be tying it all together so I hope that you will follow the progress and adventures of the hero.

Disclosure Text : I have a material connection because I received a gift or sample of a product for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was/am not expected to return this item or gift after my review period. More information can be found in my About page as well as here. More information about the “Lose the Laptop” program is available here.

HTD says: If you liked the story, please VOTE for me! Re-read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 as well! What do you think? Was it what you expected?

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Disclosure: This is a global disclosure for product review articles on HighTechDad. It does not apply to Automobile reviews and there are other exceptions. Therefore, it may or may not be applicable to this particular article. I may have a material connection because I may have received a sample of a product for consideration in preparing to review the product and write this or other content. I was/am not expected to return the item after my review period. All opinions within this and other articles are my own and are typically not subject to the editorial review from any 3rd party. Also, some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate” or “advertising” links. These may be automatically created or placed by me manually. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item (sometimes but not necessarily the product or service being reviewed), I will receive a small affiliate or advertising commission. More information can be found on my About page.

About HighTechDad

Michael Sheehan (“HighTechDad”) is an avid technologist, writer, journalist, content marketer, blogger, tech influencer, social media pundit, loving husband and father of 3 beautiful girls living in the San Francisco Bay Area. This site covers technology, consumer electronics, Parent Tech, SmartHomes, cloud computing, gadgets, software, hardware, parenting “hacks,” and other tips & tricks.

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