I recognized the email address. I hadn’t heard from John in ages. He is quite the world traveler and author of two great books, so I was eager to hear about his newest adventure.
I hope this find you well. As for me, I’ve had run of bad luck. I am travel here in Spain and on way to airport. I realize I had been robbed. I have no money and am in desperate need of funds. Would you mind terrible going to a Western Union office and send me 1200 Euros. Here is the exchange rate to dollars 1,350.00 EUR=1,693.78 USD. Friend in need, John
Poor John, he not only lost his money but also forgot the proper use of the past and present tense. And he calls himself a writer. Even worse, he got a rotten exchange rate. You can’t run a scam from an airport currency booth. You need to work with a reputable bank.
I called John at his home in Greenwood to be sure I was correct in my assumption that this email was a swindle. He answered on the first ring. “Buenos Dias” he said.
“Very funny, John. I guess you know that your computer was hacked.”
“Yes, I found out earlier today. Did you send the money?”
“Of course not.”
“What if it had really been me? Would you have helped me out? Just curious.”
He brought up an interesting point, which gave me an idea. I’d clean up the original email, stick in a few personal references and see how many of my so-called friends were really friends.
TO: (Eric, Aaron, Phil, Toby, Ginny, Chuck, Dennis, Dan, Seth, Tim, Bob)
FR: DICK WOLFSIE
SUBJECT: DIRE STRAITS
I am at the Eiffel Tower and was pickpocketed. I have no money and no credit card. I can’t reach Mary Ellen at the hotel. I don’t even have cab money. Could you send 500 dollars to the Western Union Office here in Paris? —Dick
I received the following responses:
Dear Dick, Just saw the subject line. I love Dire Straits, too. What a great band. Didn’t know you were a rock fan. —Aaron
Dick, No vacation is perfect. A nice little French pastry or a baguette can cheer up a rotten day. —Phil
DW, What’s a Western Union office? —Toby
Wolfsie, This can’t be from you. Mary Ellen doesn’t let you walk around alone in foreign countries. —Ginny
Dear Dick, Let’s give it a few months and see what happens with the Euro.
Chuck Wolfman, Apparently, you still have your iPhone. Please snap a photo when the gendarmes pick you up for vagrancy and send it to me. Thanks for making me smile. —Dennis
Dear Dick, As they say in French: no. —Dan
Dick: You must be new at this con game. As I look out my window, I see what must be your twin brother mowing the lawn — with your wife’s twin sister watering her plants. —Seth
Dick, Sorry, I’m low on cash. I just sent 500 to John in Madrid. —Tim
Hey, Wolfsie, I’m sending the money now. —Bob
I quickly emailed Bob, letting him know that it was all a joke, but thanking him for being the only one who was willing to help me. If one day you are a bit short on cash on a vacation, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He’s a real softie.