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Chronicle of the NonPop Revolution
Miss Aminata Kabba Needs Your Help!
From: "Miss Aminata Kabba" [firstname.lastname@example.org]
The message popped into my email in-basket with an urgency that caught me off guard. My curiosity piqued, I opened and read it at once.
"Dear Bob [it began],
And she could do it, too! Seems she's swimming in dough--10½ million US greenbacks! There is, of course, a little sticking point named Isadora Ricola, Aminata's overbearing guardian who, for two years now, has been siphoning off much of the youth's rightful inheritance. And Aminata--who, if the web photo is accurate, looks not unlike the nearly eponymous mushroom--is determined to finally put a stop to the fraud. But apparently only with my help. Or Bob's, really. But since I don't know who this "Bob" is or if he even responded, I figured I'd better go ahead and offer my own assistance. However, I don't know if ethically I can "unleash a hundrid [sic] African scorpions into [her] Aunt Isadora's boudoir in Schenectady." Still, time, according to Aminata, "is of the essential." I had to smile at the plucky lass's attempt to converse using standard American patois.
My first course of action was clear: procure a hundred African scorpions. I googled the horrid little arachnids but couldn't find any suppliers. Dejected, I wrote back to Aminata and reported my progress. Or rather, lack of it. To my surprise and delight, she responded instantly with the name of an internet site that sold giant South African Flat Rock Scorpions in--and how's this for serendipity?--lots of one hundred! Only after I had eagerly placed the order did I begin to have doubts on the wisdom of the course of action I was pursuing, and all because a poor, wronged refugee had called out in email despair.
But the doubts vanished when, three days later, a large box arrived in the mail labeled "Bud's Famous Wormwiches" --the specious return address that Aminata had told me to expect--and I knew I had to make good on my commitment. I prized open the lid and straightaway recoiled at the fury of the scorpions, whose naturally ill temperament had been exacerbated, I presumed, by the incommodiousness of the trip. I resolved to get them to their intended target without delay.
"Aunt Isadora's boudoir in Schenectady" wasn't much of an address to go on, and Aminata was strangely unable to provide any details that might help me pinpoint the address. But again, luck was with me! As I stopped for the light in front of the renowned Schenectady Museum & Planetarium, a tatterdemalion strolled up to my car and slipped a flyer through the half-open window. It was an invitation to the Museum's current exposition, "Boudoirs Through the Ages." Scanning the list of exhibits, I noted one entitled "Aunt Isadora's." My good fortune continued as just then a car vacated a parking spot right in front of the museum. I slid my car into the space and clambered out with my box of charges--just in time, too, because they were becoming exceedingly bumptious!
I presented my invitation to the guard stationed by the front door, while hacking loudly to mask the scrabbling sounds that emanated from the box. He glanced dully at the box, then waved me inside. I passed quickly from the lobby into the lofty main hall, which was filled with scores of what I can only describe as boudoirophiles--persons decked out in habiliment appropriate for a sitting room. Women and men alike sported nightgowns, lounging pajamas, peignoirs, kimonos and trench coats. Fortunately, my plus fours were not out of place in such an environment, and I had no difficulty blending in with the crowd. I paused by the grand stairway to consult a diagram of the exhibits and found Aunt Isadora's Boudoir on the second floor, midway down the west wing. A waiter approached with a tray of diverse libations. I gratefully accepted a Jello Shooter and promptly downed it, the better to boost my courage. Then I climbed the stairs, and walked silently down the carpeted hall to my appointment with Destiny!
A plaque on the door identified my quarry's room. Pausing only to unlatch the box lid, I sprang into the room ...
... and came face to face to face with eight other startled men and women in various stages of bedroom habiliment, each cradling a box that looked uncannily like the one I was holding. Surprise was swiftly replaced by abhorrence as I had to dance out of the way of (I made a quick mental calculation) approximately six hundred and fifty giant South African Flat Rock Scorpions that were crawling aggressively about the floor, their stingers dripping lethal amatoxins. Suddenly, a large man with a face not unlike Aminata's--or at least it was in the same fungal genus--leapt from the shadows of the corridor and attempted to shove me back into the room. But a tiny, worrying doubt that had accompanied the Jello Shooter had put me on guard. In the nick of time, I sidestepped his lunge so that he charged into the room, falling higgledy-piggledy upon the blanket of fractious arachnids. I pulled the door closed, the better to cloak the ensuing screams.
Walking slowly back down the stairs, I was chagrined to think that I'd so easily fallen for Aminata's deceptive story which, in hindsight, was so obvious! But then another waiter appeared at the bottom of the stairs with another Jello Shooter. I downed it in one long gulp and felt better, especially after I had entrusted him with my box of still cross tenants.
There was nothing left to do but to get back in my car, drive home, and henceforth treat any provocative email message with a healthy dose of skepticism.
--which is precisely how I'm treating this latest email from a Mr. Victor Paddy, who says, "I work in the International Operation Department in a local bank here in South Africa. On a routine inspection I discovered a dormant domiciliary account with a balance of 36,000,000 USD. On further discreet investigation, I also discovered that the account holder has long since passed away (dead), leaving no beneficiary to the account." He went on to say that, with my help as a foreign agent, the two of us could lay claim to this money!
Hmm. That would certainly help take Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar out of the red, and maybe even fund the production of, say, this 498th episode. Well, stranger things have happened! And will, we hope, continue to happen, both to Damian and to Kalvos.