Bongo in the Congo
You are a con man. A man who cheats or tricks someone by gaining their trust and persuading them to believe something that is not true. This time around you are pretending to sell land in the Sahara desert. You have been hired by an Arab merchant to buy some land for him. “I am looking for a place where I can build my own trading post,” he says. “My name is Abu Hamza.” He tells you his story: He was born in Egypt, but grew up in Morocco. His father died when he was young, so he left home at sixteen to find work as a carpenter. After several years of hard labor, he found himself with enough money to start buying land in the Sahara desert. “You have come to the right man,” you say. (You are pretending to own land in the Sahara desert to sell.) “Yes, yes,” says Abu. “I have heard of your fine business record. As I said, I am looking for a good piece of land that I can use as a trading post.” says Abu. “But there are two big problems. The first is that the local Oasis is ruled by a brutal tyrant. I’d rather not have to deal with him."
This, too, was a fraud. There had no one been governing over the desert’s oasis for a long time. The people had reverted to banditry, and had been raiding each other, so much so that the merchant was willing to pay top dollar for a post in a place where he could conduct his business in peace. “Hmm,” says Abu. “How about it?” You say “You can have the domain for $110000” “Hmm,” says Abu. “So this is the case?” “Yes, you can have the domain for $110000,” you say. “This is a steal!” he laughs. “Yes,” You say “So you just transfer the money to my account and the territory is yours.” “Well, yes,” says Abu. “You can have the money transferred to your account by next week.” You nod and make a note of it. You’ve been in the business long enough to know that deals like this rarely fall through.
This scheme of pretending to have land to sell and then running off with the money, was a grift you had ran a couple of times before. Always to outstanding success, after all, you knew what you were doing. You and your men leave the office and go back to the saloon where you take a break for lunch. After a week, you pay a visit to the bank and withdraw the sum of $110000 from the account. As only a week had passed and you were still well within the window of handing over the land, you were confident. You order a flight ticket to as far away from Africa as you could muster. The following week, you fly to England and get in a carriage heading for the coast. You get off at a town that doesn’t exist. You say, to yourself “This will prove to be quite a cozy time, what with my hundred grand cash to lavish upon me!”
It’s been a week since you arrived in England, and you’re staying at the most luxurious hotel you could afford. You eat the most expensive British food. You drink the most expensive Italian wine. Life is grand here for you. But, of course, this all couldn’t last. The heat sometime gets too much to handle. You could call the whole thing off at any time. Or at least that’s what it feels like. Of course you would never return the money, and you had already made a considerable dent in it. Still, you don’t want to over extend yourself. You’ve already made so much money in this scam that you could live like a king for years. Why rush to greed? But after all, who could care less about who is banging a bongo deep inside the Congo you decide for yourself. Who cares? You lie in your king size bed and stare at the roof of your room. If you get up now, you could probably make it out one of the windows and onto the roof quite easily. Which will have to do, as far as escape plans go. No sooner have you made your pre-decision, when there is a pounding on your door.
It opens before you can answer and there stands a tall man in a black suit.
You say “Holy shit it’s him!” Your heart feels like it’s beating outside your chest. This was Abu Hamza, ready to settle the score. You run over the balcony, up across the roof, and dive in the swimming pool from twenty metres up. Narrowly escaping Abu. You’ve never been more scared in your life. You surface and tread water to catch your breath. It’s hard to believe that you got away, but there’s no time to rest. You decide: “RIGHT IMMA NEED TO ARM MYSELF!” Never before had you had such a close call. Never before had you been needing to buy a gun. In fact, it’s been a few years since you last owned a firearm. That’s mainly because when you lived in America, the police were always on the look out for gun ownership. You run into the gun store off eleventh street and take a liking to a hefty weight pistol. It’s large and hard to conceal, but you decide that it will serve you well. When you get home, you practice with your new purchase. Just a few nights more in the pricey hotel, you assure yourself. If he comes back, you’ll be ready. You have your pistol. You’re ready. When you awaken, there’s a note on the pillow next to your bed. It reads: Come down to the main desk at 8am. Grabbing your pistol and a fitted cap, you head out your room and to the main desk. A bellhop stops you as you head to the counter. “Hey, are you…?” “Yeah, I’m that guy.” “Really? The guy from last night?” “Yeah, what’s it to you?” It doesn’t matter, you say, you jump from roofs into pools all the time you say. Nodding, the bellhop continues on his way. At the counter, the hotel staff member hands you a piece of paper. On it is a note to meet the man at the bar. You nod and head off towards the bar. A little curious, you head over. You see a man with slicked back blonde hair talking to the bartender. He turns around to see you. The bartender pulls out a double barrell shotgun from behind the bar and points it at you. The man nods, and then reaches for his jacket. He fumbles with the button and slides the jacket off his shoulders to reveal a tight fitting black shirt. You notice he’s not wearing a belt. You look around, but there’s no one else in the bar. “Abu Hamza sent me. You need to come with me.” “Why? What did I do?” “You’re the guy from last night, aren’t you?” “Yeah. What of it?” “Nothing, I just need to confirm a few things. Come on.” That’s the instant you pull out your pistol and say “Hey, I am not coming anything.” Then you nervously take a few steps back. Still pointing at them the pistol. Then you run the hell away. The man runs after you. You hear him shouting “Hey, stop”. But no one but the wind will catch you now, you’re running that fast. As you cross the street, you slide into a diner. Adrenaline coursing through your body, you look around and notice a pay phone. It could be for anything, but you hope it’s a police station. You exhaustingly type in “999” and hope for the peaceful quietness of a jail cell soon. The police answers. You say “Yes, hello?”
Then you explain thoroughly what went down and how your life is in danger. The police are on their way. You hang up and wait. It’s only a few minutes before a squad car pulls into the parking lot. Four officers get out, two men and two women. One of the men is holding a shotgun. You mutter “I’ve just got to make one more another call. To make nice before they stick me in a cell.” You walk over to the bar and order a soda. The bartender nods. You take out your cell phone and make a call. The officer with the shotgun walks up to you as you finish. “Hello.” You respond: “Uh, I’m calling to make nice before you put me in a cell.” The man nods. A stressful phone call later the officer opens up a line of questioning: “Okay, so why don’t you tell me about yourself.” You finish with the accountant on the other end and can still make $16000 arrangeable to pay back Hamza. You begin to tell the police officer all about yourself. As you do, the other officers walk across the room. “So, where you from?” “Huh? Where am I from?” “Yeah, where are you from?" You say
“A rural farm in Minnesota.” The man nods. “Minnesota? What’s it like out there?” “Oh, it’s nice. Really nice.” “Mm-hmm.” He nods slowly as he writes it down in a log. “And when did you get into the business of running a scam on people?” The police officer asks. You respond with “Listen. I’ll tell you all there is need to know, and what is there to know is that there is a wealthy African business man threatening my entire existence because of a fraud I ran on him.” The officer radios in that, yup, he’ll be taking me down to the station. You grab your soda and head towards the door, the officer following you. “Can’t we work something out?” You ask. “Like what?” The officer asks, opening the door for you. You: “Leniency for having $16000 left to pay the African?”
The officer shakes his head. “Sorry, but we get that many dollars in every week.” You look back at the officers and notice that all of them are laughing. One turns to you and says “Come on, I’ll show you to your cell.” You sigh, and follow him out of the diner.
Now, it had been a quick trial, and a jail sentence of two years for you, and some reprimands for the gentleman you ran the con on, but you have begun to see that you might actually have a future to look forward to. And so concluded the last con of Jonathan Longstockings.