By: Jake Hatcher, Official Bookshelf Battle Blog Private Eye
BQB Editorial Note: 3.5 readers, as the Spanish might say, “mi private dick es su private dick.” If you have questions about pop culture, put Hatcher on the case. Drop a dime to @bookshelfbattle on twitter or in the comments below and I’ll engage Ms. Donnelly to deliver them to our resident gumshoe posthaste.
Because he’s a busy man, it might take Hatcher awhile to get to it, but sooner or later, he will. Here’s his first Fan Dime Drop Report.
It was the answer to my prayers. The man upstairs had finally gotten tired of kicking me in the keister and dropped a big win in my lap.
Moolah was involved. Lots of moolah. And it was all about to be mine. All mine.
Dear Sir or Possibly Madam as the Case May Be,
Congratulations are in order, for you have been identified as the long lost distant cousin of my client, Prince Matombo of the Blessed Land Known as Nigeria.
Perhaps you have heard of the passing of our King and that he has bestowed all of his wealth, a sum of one hundred million American Dollars, upon the Prince.
Alas, banking laws in my country are so ruefully complicated that it is impossible to transfer this fortune to His Highness directly.
However, the Prince has stated to me, his advisor, that he trusts you, for you are his distant relative. If you provide me with your bank account number, I shall be happy to transfer the 100 million to your account.
It is then requested that you forward 90 million back to the Prince, but for your troubles, His Majesty has agreed to allow you to keep 10 million of your very own and hopes that you will enjoy it in good health.
Please provide me with your banking information right away so that this transfer may begin.
Advisor to His Highness, the Most Regal and Just Prince Mutombo of Nigeria
“Hot digity damn!” I shouted.
Everyone in the computer class turned around. I put my head down and went about my business.
Best to remain on the down low when that much scratch is involved.
Imagine it. Ten million smackers. That’s a whole helluvalot of do re mi. My own mansion. A fleet of fancy cars. A yacht.
I could fill it up with buxom broads, head out to sea, and finally put my trash heap of a life behind me.
Agnes’ shrill cake hole horned in on my fun. Blast her incessant yammering.
“Class, last week we learned how to set up e-mail accounts,” the old librarian said from the front of the library’s computer classroom. “This week we’re going to learn how to write a short, concise e-mail and how to send it out.”
“Agnes!” I whispered
“Now the e-mail you write doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just a few words…”
“Maybe you can write about what you did today, what you had for breakfast this morning, or just write a bunch of gibberish, it really doesn’t matter because we’re just getting a feel for what all the different functions do….”
“Oh for the love of…”
Agnes marched over to my beep boop station and looked at me like I’d just stuck my finger in her pudding.
“What is it?!”
“Keep your voice down,” I said quietly.
I looked around to see if anyone was looking. Agnes’ “Intro to Computing” course was full of a bunch of geriatric fogies who could barely contain their drool, let alone work a beep boop machine.
Not that I was any better at it than they were
“Do you see this?” I whispered as I pointed at the screen.
“Huh,” Agnes said as she grabbed the pair of spectacles dangling around her neck on a chain and lifted them up to her eyes.
“I didn’t even know I was part-Nigerian,” I said. “Think it’s a mistake? God, I hope not. I sure could use an extra family member right about now.”
“Jake,” Agnes said. “This is a scam.”
“A trick,” the old gal said. “This person doesn’t know a Nigerian prince. Whoever this is, he just wants you to send him your bank account number so he can withdraw all your money and keep it for himself.”
Boy, talk about letting the wind out of my sails.
“Are you sure?” I asked. “I can usually spot a grift from fifty paces and this Prince Matombo character doesn’t seem like such a bad fella.”
“It’s the biggest scam going on the Internet,” Agnes said. “Just click the X button at the top of the window and close it out.”
“Joke’s on him then,” I said. “I haven’t got two plug nickels to rub together.”
“I know dear,” Agnes said as she patted me on the back. “I keep telling you that you really need to work on that.”
Agnes returned to her podium and left me high and dry.
A con job. A bamboozle. A flim flam.
And to think I, Jake Hatcher, infamous investigator extraordinaire, came dangerously close to getting caught up in it like a fat tuna trapped in a fisherman’s net.
I clicked the X.
I wasn’t sure what depressed me more. Losing the ten million or learning I had a relative only to have the rug pulled out from under me.
Maybe that was a sign I was lonelier than a weasel trapped in a burlap sack.
But not for long.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
Someone was rapping on the glass window near my work station. I was too engrossed with the Matombo fiasco to pay attention.
“Now class, maybe you’ll want to add an attachment to your e-mail. Maybe it could be a nice photo of your family that you want to send to your friends. All you do is…”
Tap. Tap. Tap.
“…click on the paper clip button and…”
Tap. Tap. Tap.
Agnes grew visibly annoyed. For some reason, she always looked that way whenever I was around. I don’t know why. Maybe she was just one of those people with a bad attitude.
“Jake,” Agnes said. “That blonde woman at the window is trying to get your attention.”
I turned around to find an angel in my presence. It was the woman of my dreams, Delilah K. Donnelly, no doubt arrived to deliver yet another missive from our mutual client, Mr. Bookshelf Q. Battler.
“Yes,” I said.
I stood up and put my hands up.
“Carry on, geezers,” I said. “No one go dying on me while I’m gone.”
From the looks of Agnes’ students, that was probably too much to ask for.
I stepped out onto the main floor and greeted my visitor.
“Ms. Donnelly,” I said. “So wonderful to see you.”
“The pleasure is all yours, Mr. Hatcher. Is there somewhere we can talk?”
Copyright 2015 Bookshelf Q. Battler.
All Rights Reserved.
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