Succor for the Afflicted, Sucker

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I received an email this morning from a producer, a distant acquaintance whom I met only once at a party six or seven years ago. She has never before had my email address and I was a little surprised to find out she had somehow tracked me down, but you know how hope always springs eternal. Perhaps Universal wants to make one of my novels into a movie and is positively throwing money at me! Perhaps Quentin Tarantino wants me to come out of retirement and star as the murderous psychopath in his new movie! Perhaps, perhaps… Well, who knows what wonderful thing it might be!

Fingers trembling with excitement and anticipation, I opened the message. There was no salutation.

“I am writing this with tear in our eyes. We are here in London, in United Kingdom on vacation, but last night we were mugged in a the park of our hotel. We lost all our cash and credit card and traveling cheques. Fortunately we still have our airline ticket and passport. But the hotel won’t let us leave until we pay our bill and i don’t know how we can do this. Please help us so we can come home. Please send us some money via wire as follows as soon as possible. Thank you my dear good friend.”

Of course I was appalled to hear such a thing could have happened to anybody, let alone to somebody to whom I had once been introduced, but I was very touched to find she remembered me so well and thought so highly of me that she would reach out in her hour of need. I hit the reply button.

Dear ________,

What a horrible experience! My heart goes out to you, mugged and stranded in a foreign land. I know you must be desperate to get home, especially since I happen to know you’re in the middle of working on a movie. It’s extraordinary and shameful how much this type of crime is on the rise. You simply wouldn’t believe how frequently I hear of just this sort of thing.

Fortunately, I am in a position to be of real help to you. My very good friend Elliot Morris is an Inspector with Scotland Yard right there in London! He is a very capable and formidable man with no love or patience for criminals, and of course he has all the resources of the Yard at his disposal. And more good news for you! Maurice Sabatini was a classmate of mine in boarding school and he is now a specialist in computer and internet crimes (internet fraud, hacking, that sort of thing) with Interpol. I have forwarded all your contact information, and this email, to both gentlemen and you can be sure they will move heaven and earth to find you and give you everything you require.

Please fell free to contact me again if I can be of any further assistance.

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