Men at work

Con men, that is.

I’ve been had.  OK, I have a bit of a reputation of being had rather easily.  But this guy was really good, ek sê.

One Friday morning this gentleman approached me just as I stopped at the Post Office.  He ran out of fuel, he explained, could I possibly allow him to siphon off a few liters from my car.  He indicated over his shoulder where his stricken car was.

I saw him leaving a white Discovery, the driver of whom unsuccessfully tried to assist him, he said, as one cannot put a hose down the Discovery’s tank.  Same problem with my car, though.

It was a bit like watching Derren Brown (the guys who does the mind games on TV) in slow motion.  To cut a long story short, this guy talked me out of all the cash I had in my pocket, instead of (as he suggested) filling his tank up with a quarter tank of fuel.  Instead, also, of being relieved of the hassle of assisting him and sommer leaving my car keys with him so that he can siphon the fuel from my tank and return the car and keys to me later.  He did offer his laptop that he carried in a shoulder bag as security, I should add.

Now, while this was going on, and while I parted with the money, I did not genuinely believe that this guy would return the money as he promised.  It was a good story, though, which could have been reasonably possibly true.  He was fast talking, continually expressing his embarrassment for having to ask for money, offering to triple whatever I give him to get him out of the fix. Working for his father-in-law from Piketberg, he explained, showing me some form of contractor’s card that he carried around his neck.  He has nine children, he said, although he probably took his cue from my reference to my children, so this might not be part of his standard script.  But not lame.  Chirpy, I’d say.

Yet, whilst not really counting on the story to be true, and even less expecting him to really show up to bring back the money by 11h30, I still parted with the money.  I would be interested in the views of any amateur psychologist out there as to how this can happen.  But then again, stupidity and gullibility probably do not require psychological analysis. Or maybe guilt?

Expressing his sincere appreciation for my helping him out, he also offered to bring me a salomi on the house when he returns with the money.

He then left for his car.  But in the opposite direction than where he initially, albeit somewhat vaguely, indicated where his car was parked.  He once again promised to bring me a nice salomi when he returns the money at 11h30.  [Come to think of it, he did not mention which day.]

Halfway across the street he turned around and asked “Chicken or mutton?”

“Chicken,” I said.

I never saw him again.  Maybe I should have asked for mutton.


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