Dear Splendid Ignorant American Moneybags,
I'm Zulu Zinfandel Zimbabwai, disbarred attorney at law and manager of Bank of Bunco in southwest northern Kenya, contacting you about FIFTEEN MILLION SIX HUNDRED AND FORTY SEVEN THOUSAND DOLLARS and TWENTY-SIX CENTS, give or take. Nobody wants it, and so I wish to transfer full amount, with its many numerous digits, to your bank account immediately.
Would that be ok with you? Some people say no, but you Americans are too smart to suspect me of being a criminal. So you will no doubt say yes. After all, I found you via Internet, most reliable communications tool ever invented. I Googled you to study your personal profile and found your personal e-mail address. You are well, yes? How's that annoying sister of yours? Still in AA, we suppose.
This is no April Fool's Day joke, my good sir. The money I mention comes from abandoned fund that belonged to Mr. Hiawatha Nairobi Sternberg, who died on December 9, 2009 along with his entire family and some stupid dairy goats, the result of either a crash in a Cessna 210 or a brain aneurysm brought on by pent-up flatulence. No one knows for sure. In any case, the dude is dead. But never mind that now. Our bank policy is clearcut. If fund goes unclaimed, it will revert to local chief of police, now once again under indictment on three counts of dairy goat price-fixing.
You appear to be only existing next of kin to deceased, his half brother via ovum implant, and thus a beneficiary. The Internet says so. We checked it out. And the Internet never lies. Applying for the money -- the FIFTEEN MILLION SIX HUNDRED AND FORTY SEVEN THOUSAND DOLLARS and TWENTY-SIX CENTS, give or take -- is simple. Just give us your home address, your phone number and all details of your bank account as well as your home security code and your car keys (both sets, please). It's just that easy. But tell no one. You must execute transaction in secret. That will ensure its legitimacy. Do you promise? Pinky swear? Even Internet must be kept in dark.
You have every reason in world to trust me. After all, I trust you. So let us trust each other. True, I'm a stranger and foreigner to you, but you're the same to me. And if you refuse to trust me, how can I ever trust you? Consider that carefully, my foolish yet loveable imperial swine.
At any rate, the fund is to be distributed as follows. We'll give you a 30 percent commission for your cooperation, while we keep 60 percent for ourselves and 10 percent goes to offset minor expenses such as postage and nine-millimeter Glocks for ethnic cleansing. So send me your information -- including all your online passcodes of course! -- and we'll process your application pronto or even sooner.
Did I mention no risk is involved? Well, in case I forgot, let me mention it now. No risk is involved. The Internet is the safest place on earth, no matter what Disneyland says. You must act now, so take your time, but hurry up, too. Please reply me urgently. We understand each other, yes? And remember: we know where you live. If you tell on us, it will be wrong on so many levels.
Bob Brody, an executive and essayist in New York City, blogs at letterstomykids.org. His alleged humor has appeared in Forbes, Smithsonian and McSweeney's, among other publications.