In these challenging economic times, when a middle-class guy like myself can't get a federal bailout or an AIG bonus, even though my tax dollars are helping to pay for it all, it's nice to know that there are some people who are willing to give me lots of money.
I refer to the kind folks who have been sending me emails from all over the world with an offer I can't, they hope, refuse: In exchange for my assistance in transferring huge sums of cash to the United States, which would entail giving them vital personal information, these generous individuals will give me a significant percentage of the millions of dollars in their foreign bank accounts.
They include Dr. Bakary Sawadogo of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Africa; Mr. Zuma Camara, who is from Liberia but now lives in the United Arab Emirates; Mr. Egor Fillipenko, who works for a large oil company in Moscow, Russia; Sgt. Joey Jones, who is stationed with the U.S. Army in Iraq; Mr. Ken Ahia, an attorney representing a late relative of mine somewhere in the Middle East; and Miss Jessica Yao, a desperate young woman who lives in the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire, formerly known as the Ivory Coast in West Africa.
To all of these people I responded with the following message: "Show me the money."
You can imagine my surprise and delight when I actually heard back from some of them. Here is the reply I got from Mr. Ahia:
"I am Barrister Ken Ahia, a solicitor at law. I am the personal attorney to the late Mr. Ali Zezima, who bears the same last name with you, a national of your country.
"See my attached message.
Barrister Ken Ahia"
Naturally, the attached message contained a plea to help Mr. Ahia transfer a large sum of money to the United States through my bank account.
Here is my reply:
"Dear Barrister Ahia:
"Cousin Ali is dead? I am desolated beyond words at this terrible news! Is it true he died in a tragic bungee jumping accident? Or that he was bitten in a sensitive area by a poisonous spider? Or that he was caught in flagrante delicto (Flagrante Delicto is a popular resort where cousin Ali often went to escape his legal troubles) by the husband of the wealthy woman with whom he was having a torrid affair?
"Please write back to fill me in on the scandalous details and to arrange to send all of his money to my bank account here in the United States.
Strangely, I have not had further contact with Mr. Ahia. But I did hear from Miss Jessica Yao, an orphaned college student who has been targeted for murder by the thugs who killed her father, a wealthy cocoa merchant. They want to get their bloody hands on her father's fortune, which is why she wishes to transfer the money, through me, to the United States. Miss Yao wrote to me, in part, as follows:
"Thanks for your prompt responds and my heartily greetings to you this day. I am glad for your interest in helping me with the funds transfer and investments in your country. Please promise me that you will not betray me when my inheritance is transferred into your account ... God bless you.
"Best wishes with love,
Miss Jessica Yao"
Here is my reply:
"It grieves me to read of your troubles, which have touched my heart. I was already touched in the head. You probably think I am an easy touch, which is why you have written to me.
"I am a newspaper columnist who had to take a vow of poverty when I went into journalism, so I could use the money. Your story will be of great interest to readers around the world, including, I am sure, the authorities.
"Please respond quickly, dear one, for I desire to transact with you. It will be chaste, unless you are chased, by the police, who may want to arrest you for fraud, in which case I will have the funds to bail you out. At the very least, I'll send you a postcard from the new vacation home your money will enable me to buy. God bless you.
"Best wishes with love,
Unfortunately, I have not had further correspondence with Miss Yao or any of the other nice people who wanted to make me rich. But I am not giving up. Maybe, with the help of our elected officials, I can get some money from AIG.
Stamford Advocate columnist Jerry Zezima can be reached at JerryZ111@optonline.net. His blog is www.jerryzezima.blogspot.com.