Today was a much better day insofar as I experienced no internet problems, didn’t encounter any black ice on my way in to work, nor did I have a bird shit on me. Instead, Tuesday was a quietly productive day spent helping to break a story (a possible episode #12) with a new freelancer. This one promises to be another interesting studying conflict and character. Another visit to the Destiny in Stage 4 and the Icarus Base in Stage 5 shows the sets are coming along nicely. The ship interiors are particularly impressive.
Like most of you, I receive my fair share of spam emails. Unlike most of you, I often try to make it a point to write back. After all, who wants to miss out on the opportunity to inherit tens of millions of dollars from the estate of Nigerian prince or collect a staggering $50 million USD in the Spanish Lotto? I don’t and neither do my various online personas (www.spambait.wordpress.com): the opportunistic Aloysius P. Hazzencockle, the lovesick Percival H. Lintmuffin, the megalomaniac Baron Destructo, he befuddled Margaret Quibble, the lovable Cookie Monster, the all-business Melvin’s Kidnappers, and, of course, the oh-so-sarcastic Norman Shuttlecock Jr. who received a note from an African banker alerting him that he had discovered $36 million USD in a dormant account. “The account holder,”he writes, “has long since passed away (Dead) leaving no beneficiary to the account.” Then, in a proposal fraught with misspellings and grammatical errors, he proceeds outlines a plan by which I could act as a beneficiary and lay claim to this enormous sum. All he requires to get the ball rolling is my Bank Account number. The email is signed “Yours Faithfully,
FROM:Mr:Kevin William.“ What an opportunity! Norman Shuttlecock Jr. wrote back:
I consider myself blessed that a) you have chosen to approach me with this opportunity and b) your bank’s education standards are low enough to permit someone like yourself to hold a position in their employ. Your general disdain for punctuation aside, the offer sounds very intriguing. (By the way, thank you for explaining that “passed away” meant “Dead”. I’d initially assumed it was a euphemism for defecation.). But, onto business.
You write: “I am certainly sure that he is dead and nobody will come again for the claim of this money”. How “certainly sure” are you? The-sun-will-rise-tomorrow sure or There‘s-no-way-he‘s-got-the-flush-so-I‘m-going-all-in-with-pocket-aces sure? I only ask because I wish to avoid the inconvenience and general embarrassment that comes with having to reimburse embezzled funds. Also, you write “A foreigner can only claim this money with legal claims to the account”. However, in accessing the funds, we would be making an ILLEGAL declaration, thereby seemingly contradicting the terms you had initially set out. Unless, of course, the aforementioned terms are not so much set-in-stone regulations as they are mere suggestions along the lines of “Wait half an hour after you eat before going swimming”, “Best Before October 12th”, or “Harmful if Swallowed”.
Well, if you’re feeling confident then, heck, what do I have to lose (beside my money, personal data, and freedom should the authorities learn of this transaction)? I have attached my banking information as a Ferbit file. Just in case you experience trouble opening the document, I have also attached it in Gergelplax.
Looking forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.
Norman Shuttlecock Jr. “
The next morning, I discovered an email in my inbox that began: ““Norman Shuttlecock Jr, I received your mail, you should send the information plain text because the attachement cannot be open.” Then, to allay any fears I may have concerning the legality of the transaction, he assures me: “The security of this business is 100% guaranteed, and there will never be any question both now and in future because HERITAGE is not a crime anywhere, also, anybody, organization, foundation or even animals can INHERIT…”
Even animals? Well, then. Norman Shuttle Jr. wrote back:
“This is wonderful news! If what you say is true, that even animals can inherit this sum, I know an aardvark that could really use the money. Our local zoo has given him two months to move out of his enclosure (They renovated the place and jacked up the rent in an obvious attempt to attract more affluent residents – ie. Koalas, sharpei’s, wealthy baboons. I‘m not exactly sure how they can get away with it but, apparently, Tenants’ Rights Laws in this state do not extend to mammals. The zoo says they have received complaints from neighbors claiming my friend is up at all hours of the night but I feel this is an unfair criticism given that aardvarks are nocturnal. Also, the zoo has found him in contravention of a strata bylaw that prohibits the construction of inground pools, although my friend insists this was merely excavation work on a new burrow.). He is short on cash and in desperate need. I think he would be a perfect candidate for you as his landed immigrant status fulfills the foreign residency requirement of the transaction.
How should we proceed? Will he require a bank account as well?
Norman Shuttlecock Jr.”
The following day, there was another message from Mr. William sitting in my inbox: “I am very serious with this transaction, if you are serious, send your empty account to start processing the payment.”
Egads. Fearful he had offended the poor guy, Norman Shuttlecock Jr. wrote back:
“I’m glad to hear it. I too am very serious and, more importantly, so is the aardvark. The only problem is that in order for him to acquire a bank account, he is required to provide either a driver’s license (which he doesn’t have, the result of an impaired driving conviction in ‘07) or the guarantees of TWO signatories. I can be one but, sadly, his only other friend, a pygmy marmoset, was recently put down in a case of mistaken identity involving a flea outbreak, a bowler hat, and a spiteful snow monkey. Would you be able to sign a legal affidavit confirming you have known the aardvark for at least a six months and consider him a citizen in good standing? If so, we can proceed with this transaction immediately.
Looking forward to doing business with you.
Norman Shuttlecock Jr.”
Alas, Norman Shuttlecock’s inbox sat empty all day. Fearful of blowing a golden opportunity to help out an aardvark in need, he followed up:
Even though I didn’t hear back from you, I assume we’re still proceeding with this transaction. I informed my friend, the aardvark, about the plan to make him the beneficiary of the $36 million USD inheritance and he was understandably thrilled. He called you a heavenly slice of Angel Food Cake in a sea of Devil’s Food Cake. He also says to stop calling his sister.
As I mentioned in my last email, in order for an aardvark (or, frankly, any mammal) to open a bank account in the United States, he/she requires two guarantors to vouch for him. That said, I have drafted the following statement for you:
“To Whom It May Concern,
I am writing this letter in support of Herscheval Quentin Aardvark‘s request to open a bank account with First Infidelity. I know Herscheval through the San Bernadino Community Theater Group, where I am the technical director. We worked together on several local theater projects including H.M.S. Pinafore, Grease, and Still Fresh: The Alfonso Ribeiro Story.
In the two years I’ve known Herscheval, I have found him to be a well-grounded, trustworthy, upstanding member of society with little, if any, anger management issues and no known drinking problems to the best of my knowledge. I feel he would make an excellent client for your bank as, in addition to his strong character, he possesses significant experience in deposits and withdrawals, albeit of a non-fiduciary nature.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Norman Shuttlecock Jr.”
If this doesn’t pan out, I’m afraid we’re going to have to make alternate plans for Herscheval. Anybody have a place with an extra room. And very relaxed pet bylaws?
Let’s hear your thoughts on the ultimate zombie collection: The Living Dead. And get those questions in for editor John Joseph Adams.!