A screech of tyres is heard as a vehicle
dangerously takes the corner on the wrong side of the road.
His breathing is so laboured, it is
painful to hear. You can almost smell the fear of the driver
as he frantically steers his battered vehicle to a deserted, ramshackle
building on the edge of town. All the while, he checks his mirror to see
if he is being followed. He conceals the car in a corner of the car-park,
using a discarded tarpaulin, then races around the building until he finds
a way to force entry.
His face covered in beads of sweat, the terrified fugitive is
standing on a narrow ledge, beside a large, picture window, but out of
sight of anyone inside the room, as he is behind a protruding section.
Below is deserted. No-one
is there to see or worry about him - no rescuers - no crowd.
Gasping for breath, he is a sickly, ferrety-looking, loser of a man,
worthy of very little note. As
the wheezing subsides, his South London accent can be clearly
‘Spose ya wond'ring what
I’m doin’ up ‘ere, eh? Well,
I’ll tell ya. I’m ‘iding
from me bruvver. Bit of a long
story, but if ya’ve got the time, I ain’t goin’ nowhere.
I’ll just light up me fag, first.
He fishes out a
cigarette from behind his ear, goes to light it, but drops the lighter.
He wistfully watches the lighter fall all the way to the ground.
Bugger me, if I can’t even do that right!
Oh, well! (long sigh, putting cigarette back behind his ear.)
It all started when I was
learnt to use email. Me bruv
taught me and it certainly opened up a new world, alright!
Suddenly, I was gettin’ very friendly emails from people I
didn’t even know. Then one
day ....... IT arrived! ‘Cor, stone the bleedin’ crows, I thought.
He contemplates the distance, shaking his head and clearly
remembering that day (Fanfare of trumpets)
It was an email from a
Fathi Fouladi (pronounced slowly and carefully), in Nigeria,
offerin’ me a lot of money for doin’ practically nuffin’.
Ooohh! (wail of woe) If
only it hadn’t been a scam, I’d be so rich now.
Beautifully written, it was! Well,
this Fatty Foolhardy told me in ‘is email that ‘e was auditor-general
at a top bank in Nigeria. Said
‘e’d found an old, undisturbed account - full of money, ‘cos the
owner and ‘is wife ‘ad died years ago.
‘E wanted to transfer the money out of Nigeria and needed my
‘elp. Well, ‘oo am I to
refuse ‘elp? ‘E said it
would be worf my while. Me
reward would be 20%. (He
lowers his voice, conspirationally)
20% of 30 million dollars, would be 6 million dollars!
(His voice trails away as he dreamily envisages the $6 million.
He comes to with a start...) No
risk even - and only a little bit iffy, as the money wasn’t ‘is, see?
So ‘e asked me to keep it ‘ush, ‘ush.
Well, a nod’s as good as a wink, eh? (he nods, winks, then
taps his nose to prove the point, followed by another sigh).
Jumped at the chance, I did. Sent
‘im my account number by return.
Suddenly, a screech of
tyres can be heard. He has a
spluttering coughing fit, then
spits down to the ground. He
recovers his composure....
A very long week went by.
I ‘ad been on real tenter’ooks, wondrin’ if I’d be
‘earin’ any more from ‘im.
Suddenly, me mobile rang. It
was ‘im, phonin’ ME all the way from Nigeria!
That made me feel really important and I could feel me chest
swellin’ wiv pride. Farty
Foolhardy was very apologetic. Said
‘e ‘ad to pay a transfer fee to release the money, but ‘e would
‘ave no money of ‘is own ‘til the money was released.
Well, of course, I didn’t ‘esitate.
Any fool could see a layout of a grand was peanuts to the 6 million
dollars they was goin’ to pay me! So
I took out a loan and sent it off to ‘em.
note of pending doom
Next fing, I got a call
from Ireland. Said they was an
offshore finance company and they ‘ad the funds ready, but required an
‘andling fee of 3,000 quid. Well,
by this time, I felt so close to that money, I could smell it.
Rushed down town, I did and took out a second loan.
They ‘ad given me an address in Ireland and I sent off anuvver
buildin’ society cheque. Felt
like an international businessman, I did.
Started planning what I was goin’ to do wiv all the money, didn't
A triumphant fanfare,
full of hope and expectancy.
Didn’t ‘ear nuffin’
for 3 weeks! Real worried, I
was. Then I received a fax,
sayin’ all the formalities ‘ad been cleared and they just needed proof
of me ID. Wanted photocopies
of me passport and drivin’ licence.
panic-stricken chord, or set of notes
I ‘ad neiver, on account of me losin’ me licence for
‘drivin’ under the influence’ and me passport ‘ad been
confiscated, so I couldn’t go to away matches abroad.
Anyone would fink I was a trouble-maker at matches! (Said
Foot slips again and he
gasps, as he regains his balance. Looks sorry for himself, then triumphant
Well, found a way round
that problem alright, didn’t I? Just
sent copies of me bruvver’s ones. Got
the same initials, we ‘ave, see?
Me name’s Peter Brittle, but they all call me Peanut;
Gloomy look and
Never ‘eard from ol’
Farty again. Me bruvver
didn’t beat ‘bout the bush: ‘You’ve
been ‘ad,’ said ‘e. Right
cheesed off, I was - I can tell you! Couldn’t
afford to repay the loans or rent, so bailiffs came round an’ took
everythin’, then landlord chucked me out.
Couldn’t go to the police, so went to stay wiv me bruvver, which
pleased ‘im no end. Still,
‘ runs a bar an’ ‘e knows all sorts of villains an’ conmen - one
lot of ‘em work as a team; real
slick, they are. They told me
bruv they’d get me money back as a favour to ‘im.
AND THEY DID JUST THAT!
He reflects for a
True to their word, they
started to search out lots of these types of emails which are
apparently called 419 scams. Don’t
know how they managed it, but they ‘ad a lot of fun fleecing the
scammers with red ‘errings among trees in
The Black Forest and parcels on riverbeds.
I ‘eard they even devised tricky tongue twisters as
passwords, just to spice things up a bit. (Ever 'eard a Nigerian
saying a tricky tongue twister? Difficult enough for an English
20,000 quid, they ‘anded
over to me - not only was it enough to pay off
both loans plus interest, but it also left me with enough to rent
anuvver flat and furnish it.
Problem solved, you might
think, or so it should ‘ave been..........
A catfight suddenly
started below him and he watched intently, as they spat and snarled at
each other, before running off.
Problem is. What I
didn’t foresee, was that they ‘ad wanted the photocopies for ID theft.
They wanted to steal me identity, as well as me money, but ‘cos I
sent me bruvver’s ID, they stole ‘is, ‘stead of mine and ‘e’s
not too ‘appy ‘bout it, I can tell you.
A section of ledge
gives way and his foot slips down. He
grabs wildly at the drainpipe to stop himself falling and successfully
manages it, squeezing his foot onto the tiny remainder of the ledge to
accompany his other foot. He
What’s more, them
bleedin’ scammers are still runnin’ up credit card bills in ‘is
name. At the last count, me
bruvver owed 87 grand and ‘e’s definitely out to kill me!
No doubt ‘bout that!
Well, now ya know why
I’m out ‘ere. Not quite
sure ‘ow to get out of this fix. Any
Didn’t fink ya would ‘ave.
Never mind, the problem’ll solve itself, one way or anuvver.
Suddenly, the ledge
gives way altogether (discordant notes of panic) and he falls down
awkwardly - beside the lighter.
He lifts himself up
onto one elbow, obviously in great pain: Not quite the solution I was
‘oping for...... still, it’ll do.
He sinks back down, smiling - then expires noisily with a belch.
Footsteps can be heard approaching the window.
Quirky or solemn
version of ‘The Funeral March’ as credits go up, to finalise the
situation and to emphasise the black humour.