Finding ‘Renaldo’ (Pg. 2)


I had a feeling that if I hopped right back on Skype (at what would’ve been maybe 2:30 a.m. in South Africa), dude would be there. And he was. I called him up. He answered with a bit of suspicion and quickly realized I had him cornered. But then his nerves brightened to amusement. His voice sounded much clearer this time, so I asked again if he had been using a speech changer. “You are good, Tracy. No, I’m not.” His accent whacked my ears.

Forgive me for sounding ignorant, but you sound like your Asian?

Oh my God. Fuck that, I’m not Asian, I’m Black. Really, I’m Black. I’m
Black. Asian? What the fuck? Come on.
Maybe it’s just me being ignorant.
Yeah, whatever.
But your accent… forgive me again, but I don’t believe your Black. Where’s it from?
Silence] Well… it’s Spanish.
Oh, you’re Spanish?
Yeah, from South America.

From there, some “truth” trickled in. He edited a few facts from our first conversation. He had never even been to South Africa and was close to 30-years-old. I asked him to make up a name. He chose Renaldo. I had him speak in Spanish. He obliged. I still wasn’t satisfied however and told him he owed me more. After downing a beer, Renaldo offered to message me any of the hundred emails he had stolen from Guru. He even screen-shared his desktop to prove that he was truly the hacker. We got off Skype and I fell asleep piecing everything together.

Next day.

Renaldo instant messages me, asking if Solar had plans of defending himself. Another VIBE reporter, Mike Yi, had been tracking him down. I told Renaldo it was more than likely that we’d get his archenemy to talk. He was supremely pleased. A flurry of thanks, explanation points and of course smiley faces patterned my screen. Every 30 minutes, Renaldo asked me for an update on our Q&A, even offering to “proof-read it, if I wanted.” Riiight.

Literally 30 seconds after Kennedy hit publish, Renaldo IM’d me, ecstatic about the article. Fifteen minutes later, 22 people had retweeted his link. In our final exchange, I shared with him that we had indeed managed to get Solar on the phone.

“He wasn’t mad, was he?” —Tracy Garraud


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