Copyright 2016 Mario V. Farina
Shakespir Edition, License Notes
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Mario V. Farina
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Reginald Maxwell would never have admitted that he was a scammer. However he would have proudly stated that he was an ambitious individual. “A person gets ahead by the skill of his wits,” he would have gladly declared. But a scammer, never!
If one had asked him why he wanted to write a business letter to the very wealthy new widow in the area, he would have said that he merely wanted to be of assistance to her. He had seen her picture in the paper and it had considerably intrigued him. In his mind he formulated the words that he wanted to include in the letter. Sitting at his computer, he began:
Ms. Agnes T. Foster:
My name is Gordon Chambers. I am a gardener of considerable experience. I have noted your grounds need attention. I would like to offer my services at half what you would expect to pay for the expertise that I have. My objective in making this offer is because I have admired you for a long time, and at this sad time in your life, you may appreciate the services of an individual who understands your situation and wants to be of the greatest support to you that he can.
He had given a fictitious name. He had no knowledge of gardening. However, if he could be hired by this wealthy woman, there was no telling what considerable advantages might accrue to him. He checked with the Internet for her address and mailed the letter the next day.
In the letter he had given an email address, one of the many, that he would resort to from time to time whenever he was involved with an ambitious plan.
He waited patiently for several days before deciding that there had been no favorable reaction to his letter. He felt that trying again with another letter would be a good idea. However, he knew that the new letter should be very carefully crafted so that it did not seem to come from the same individual.
He designed a letter that stated his name was Philip Winslow, and that he was a skilled carpenter. Making sure that there was no chance that this letter could be suspected as having come from the same person as that from the gardener, he mailed this letter on the following day. The email address he gave was of another of his supply of addresses.
Reginald waited patiently for a week, and, receiving no response, decided he would try again, this time, as being from an electrician. As before, the letter received no response. Other ambitious individuals might be disheartened at this point, he muttered to himself, but not he. He had heard, and believed, that if one fails, he needs to try again.
In his next letter, Reginald indicated that he was a knowledgeable business manager for a home such as hers. As before, he used another email address for the response, and sent the letter. Several days went by. Opening his email later that day, his heart leapt when he discovered a message from Ms. Foster. “Please phone me at 555–2867” is all it said.
Using his smart phone, he punched the number, and heard a feminine voice on the other end.
“This is Edward McDonald,” he announced. This was the name that he had used in his last letter. “Am I speaking to Ms. Foster?” he asked.
“Yes, this is Agnes Foster. I was intrigued by your letter. I have felt the need for a business manager for quite a while since my husband died. Would you be able to come visit me tomorrow at two?”
“Yes, of course I can!” responded Reginald. His heart was racing at a speed that he had never experienced. After a few more words had been exchanged, he hung up.
At the appointed time, Reginald drove to the home of Ms. Foster. There was a gate that he needed to go through and was pleased to see that it was opened wide. He drove several more yards along a winding driveway until he came to the doorway of his destination. He exited from his car, walked to the door, and gently pushed the doorbell. The door was opened by a butler, who escorted him into the living room of the luxurious home.
“Sit here, Ms. Foster will be with you in a few moments.” Reginald did as he had been instructed. This was the time when his wits must be exercised to the maximum, he felt.
Ms. Foster entered the room. She was about forty-five, of medium height, had slightly graying hair, wore no glasses. She was dressed in a long blue dress. Reginald noted she was attractive, and, even though he was much younger than she, felt that a marriage with her would be very satisfactory. He must not indicate any romantic designs, however!
Ms. Foster graciously introduced herself, and sat on the sofa facing where Reginald was sitting.
“You are a business manager!” she remarked. “I was intrigued by your letter, and felt that you might be of great help to me.”
“I hope that this will be the first day of a very pleasant relationship,” he replied. What he had in mind, of course, was a relationship not greatly involving business management.
“Even though, you stated that you would work for me at a much reduced rate, I want to offer you the going salary for an experienced business manager. There will be a trial period, of course. I have every expectation that you will pass with flying colors!”
“Thank you for your confidence,” exclaimed Reginald. “I’m sure you will be greatly satisfied with my work.”
“I have something that you can do for me right away,” said Ms. Foster. “I have been receiving a number of letters from different people recently. Let me show them to you.”
Opening a drawer of a nearby desk, she pulled out several papers, and handed them to Reginald. He was mildly distressed when he saw that all of them were the ones he had written.
“These letters have come from several service people that I can use,” Ms. Foster said. “They are offering their work at very reasonable cost. I would like to hire all of them. This can be the first task I give you as a part of your test period. I will leave the room now. While I am gone, I’d like to have you call these individuals and ask them to come here tomorrow so that you and I can interview them. Are you willing to do this now?”
Reginald hesitated. His wits were not capable of coming up with a quick response as to why she was requesting the impossible. “I don’t know,” he mumbled. “I may have trouble catching them at home. They may not be available tomorrow. Some of them might be frauds,” he stumbled over his words.
“I’m glad you mentioned frauds,” she responded. “It occurred to me that you might be a fraud, writing several letters pretending that you were someone that you were not. In view of this, I invited you here so that you could have a chat with two men that are waiting in the next room.”
At that point two police officers entered the room, and walked to where Reginald was sitting.
“Ms. Foster said that she had been getting several suspicious letters, poorly disguised as coming from different persons, and was worried. She thought that you might be that person and that’s why she invited you here. We’d like to have a chat with you!”