Mavis Bramston

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One day our firm received a now familiar letter:


DEAR SIR

RE: TRANSFER OF US$26.5 (TWENTY-SIX MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS ONLY) TO YOUR NOMINATED ACCOUNT.


The letter refers to grossly over invoiced accounts in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (that place needs an audit!) and implores strict secrecy.

As before, the letter goes on to offer me 30% of the money for providing the necessary assistance.

This time my cover was "Too Eager Embraces", a charitable organization. Its patron: Phineas T. Barnum. (Most remembered for his comment that "There's a sucker born every minute")

Dear Sir,

We are writing to you at the suggestion of a business acquaintance of one of our members; he felt it would be a compromising of his position to assist you himself with a project that you had in hand but that it may be something that we could do as a fund-raising exercise for our organisation.

He is the one who has given us you name and phone number.

We are a hospice and workshop for people with untreatable delusions of adequacy; a terrible malady and, given sufficient time, always terminal.

We are currently raising money to build a new basket storage warehouse and we are lead to believe that, in return for the use of our banking facility, we would receive a small remuneration.

Would $50 be too much to ask for in return for this service?

I am not sure what to ask for as I have never had to price this sort of thing. Now, if you need some baskets that is a different thing. The inmates make a truly beautiful wicker laundry basket; the wizards of wicker, I call them.

Anyway, I feel that this service to you would be a suitable thing for us to do and I hope we can be of assistance.

Please let me know if the price is too high,

Yours sincerely,

Mavis Bramston, Secretary, Fund-raising committee.


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