(Part I laid out a variation on the old “You could pass for a distant relative of a European millionaire who died without will or any relatives, and you and I will split his fortune.” The new wrinkle is the use of LinkedIn, the on-line contact agency. Besides the something for nothing angle, why do I smell a rat? NatWest is trademarked as one word. He has “believes” and not beliefs? Have you ever seen a deal described in business correspondence as “cool”?)
A few days later Mr. Squires sent this e-mail: “Just checking on my partner.”
I e-replied: “Since Lex was my cousin, 50-50 feels more than a bit onerous. Let us adjust that to 80-20; your 20% is still a lot of money.”
He ignored and dissed me, with this reply: “We are running out of time, Jackson. You must act now.”
I sent him a detailed argument for a larger share, to wit.
That 50-50 split is in no way fair. Lex crossed the big waters to visit me a couple of summers in Louisiana, way back when we were teenagers. He soon introduced me to the joys of bovine bestiality and short-term car theft. As a future engineer, Lex had an insane talent for hot-wiring sporty, late-model cars. We’d ride the bus to Shreveport, get out and walk a few blocks, and in almost no time find a cool unlocked car. In seconds Lex would jimmy the ignition, and then we’d joy ride for a couple of hours. We’d try to pick up some ho’s, and then work very hard to persuade them to do some pro-bono business with us.
That almost always failed, and after those failures was when old Lex wanted to go after the cows.
Like you, Pete, I am deeply religious, maybe even more so, although I am not judgmental. My brethren speak in unknown tongues and take up serpents. (Except when somebody gets snakebit, then the tongues quickly revert to gutter English.) And like you, I cannot tell a lie. I will add you as a LinkedIn contact, which is how I will establish my authenticity. But truth be told, and truth’s what I do, Pedro, blood be thicker than money, so I should get way more than half. After all, Lex was my cousin, and I actually knew him. But yo, dog, you doin’ important things too, and I know you are going to earn your cool $3,000,000. That’s 20% in US dollars, Jim, which is what I’m going to pay you via certified check drawn on the Oil City National Bank, right after I cash Nat West’s cheque for 9.7 million pounds.
You will like our climate in the USA, especially if you choose to live in Florida, which has no state income tax. Pete, you may want a new identity to make it tougher for Scotland Yard and Interpol to find you. As part of my 80% share, I will help you with that. I know me some people in high places, and that’s the best kind of help to get when you need a whole new persona. But don’t even think about changing your name to Donnie Trump: I am already working on getting that one for myself. Given your British accent, you should go with something more formal. May I suggest Warren Buffet?
Your friend and partner,
I sent that e-mail two weeks ago, but so far, there’s been no reply. Could old Pedro be onto me? Oh, come on! What could have tipped him off?