A spam email to my Aloysius. P. Hazzencockle account the other day started like this “This message might meet you in utmost surprise” then went on to offer me the opportunity to cash in on some dead guy’s languishing funds to the tune of nine million dollars. How could Hazzencockle resist! I/he wrote back:
“Dear Friend and/or Potential Business Associate and/or Facebook Friend,
If you thought your message would be surprised, imagine how shocked I was when I read it. Wow! Getting on the internet has been the best decision I’ve ever made, second only to my investment in that Manitoban agave farm. Over the course of my few years online, I have befriended Nigerian princes, wealthy widowers, and now a benevolent banker. If it was not for the generosity of strangers such as yourself, I would never have been able to afford my mid-town castle with genuine crocodile-infested moat, home to nearly one hundred once-needy orphans (and the occasional adult entertainer) who now have a roof over their heads, at least one meal a day, and a secure position in my burgeoning sneaker factory where they are paid in excess of five cents an hour for such simple tasks as stitching, tanning, and the slaughtering and skinning of various animals for their precious hides.
Your offer is most intriguing, but forgive me if I exercise some caution in these proceedings. You claim that the individual whose unclaimed assets your bank holds died with his entire family in a plane crash, and even offer up a link to prove as much. The news story you provided is certainly legitimate, but I must question the veracity of the death – just to be absolutely certain. Mistakes do happen, particularly in incidents like airline disasters where shockingly uncooperative victims may wander away from crash sites to assume new identities in their amnesiac states, leading to all sorts of blunders, oversights, and, on rare instances, unintended hilarity. Believe me, the possibility of a dead man showing up on your doorstep to repossess your fortune is not one I would cherish (It has happened to my Uncle Rudolpho on more than one occasion and, he’ll tell you, it aint pleasant). All this to say – I’d like to be absolutely certain that the individual in question is in fact dead before proceeding with our business venture. And so, to put my mind at ease, would you be so kind as to provide me with the following at your earliest convenience:
1. Copy of official death certificate.
2. Copy of obituary.
3. Copy of bank statements showing account has been inactive for the period since his death.
4. Piece of exhumed body part (ie. a finger would suffice) or 50 grams of cremated ash.
I look forward to doing business with you.
Aloysius P. Hazzencockle”
I hope this one actually writes back. I’ve been finding it increasingly difficult to engage these scammers in any sort of sustained correspondence. What happened to infinitely patient rubes like the dying Ali who was so convinced of Aloysius P. Hazzencockle’s genuine interest in his in inheritance that he suffered through endless emails detailing Hazzencockle’s plans to use the money to build an orphanage (that, coincidentally, also met his needs for new housing), barrister James Williams who proved so desperate to get Cookie Monster’s banking information that he put up with countless emails concerning the Sesame Street gangs misadventures, or that guy from I-don’t-remember-where who grew so frustrated with Baron Destructo’s inability to come up with a requested fee that he was willing to forego the cash payment in exchange for the pair of rocket boots the Baron was kind enough to offer instead. What gives?
A home cooked meal last night compliments of mom. Great orechietti, meatballs, and short ribs in tomato sauce accompanied by a truly terrible salad. There was so much vinegar in the dressing that it would have surely corroded the utensils had I not had the foresight to rinse them before popping them into the dishwasher. “It’s fine,”my mother informed the table as she chowed down. “It burns my lips!”I protested. My physical discomfort elicited none of the expected sympathy. Instead, she laughed and went right on eating. For dessert, we had some of the desserts she’d brought with her from Montreal.
Yet another rainy day today. My mother wanted to stay inside. I suggested that there were plenty of places we could go on a rainy day. “Want to go to the art gallery?”I asked, suggesting one of the many mother-son excursions I had researched and planned for her stay. “No,”she emphatically replied, looking at me as if I’d just asked her to help me kill someone. I mentally crossed that Museum of Anthropology visit off my list and, instead, we went shopping. After about three hours of braving the holiday crowd, I was left exhausted, irritable, slightly nauseous, and battling a splitting headache. It was as if I’d eaten an entrée of tainted clams, or been forced to sit through Moulin Rouge for the second time.
For dinner tonight, we went to mom’s favorite restaurant in Vancouver, Ouzerie, for the best lamb chops in the town, a house moussaka with spicing reminiscent of pumpkin pie, and baklava, the most cloyingly sweet dessert this side of a Cadbury’s Easter Cream Egg.
The mailbag may be here tomorrow – along with my sis whose flight is scheduled to arrive a little after 8:30 p.m.