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February 13, 2008

Aloysius P. Hazzencockle – Ali Abbas

June 29, 2007

Every so often, sobering reality intrudes on the shallow mirth that typifies this blog. Today, I received a heartbreaking (unsolicited) email that I just happened to rescue from my junk folder through sheer luck, the grace of God, and a passing interest in a preceding message promising “Turbo Charged Grass Seed!”. At first, I assumed the email was spam, but I quickly realized how wrong I was when I read its contents.

It was a touching letter from a fellow named Ali who, once a major investor in the field of oil and gas, suffered a debilitating stroke as a result of the shock he sustained “from the kidnap encounted from Nigeria militant group that rendered half my body paralysed”. (Lest I receive any posts criticizing my atrocious spelling, I’d like to make it clear that I’m quoting the email verbatim, heartrending spelling mistakes and all. As a result of his stroke, Ali is no doubt struggling to make do with half a brain. Give the guy a break.).

As if this wasn’t enough, Ali just received some terrible news. According to his doctor, he only has three months to live. And, even worse: “the said of it is that I have no close relative around”. Said indeed. Well, following something about spirituality and faith, he gets to the point (a.k.a. the part that involves me cashing in somehow): “I would want you to set up an orphanages foundation in my name and also donate the rest for my wealth to the missionary or charitable organizations as well as the needy, since my money would not have any benefitiary when I’m dead.” Bless his heart – provided it isn’t on the side of his body that has been left paralyzed in which case curse the sluggish organ that has no doubt hastened his premature demise. He goes on: “My account balance presently totaling $38.5M“ ! “I have set aside 25% of thise money for who ever will be willing to assist in this project as his/he reward.” Of course, helping the orphans is reward enough for me. Still, I suppose I could find some use for that other 25%.

More blah blah about faith and spirituality after which: “I am confined to an automatic wheel chair in the teaching hospital untill dearth comes calling” And sadly, I can only assume death will be not far behind. To finish: “I shall instruct the bank from my hospital bed to transfer every information you reqres including all legal documents for onward transfer to your account so that you can commence on this work of humanity.” Yes! As even the most casual reader of this blog can attest, there is no better candidate to perform work on humanity’s behalf than me.

I sent back the following message:

“Dear Ali, I am sorry to hear about your hardships – the Nigerian militants, the stroke, the diagnosis, and the fact that you must spend what little time remains in a teaching hospital. I bet death can’t come soon enough. All the same, color me pink and delighted. As I have orphans of my own, I would be thrilled to help you spread the gift only 38.5 million dollars can buy. Count me in. Let me know what I can do.

Sincerely

Aloysius P. Hazzencockle.

P.S. How much is 25% of 38.5 million?”

Naturally, I will keep everyone posted on my efforts on behalf of humanity. Who knows? If this works out and I put this money to good use, I may well follow in the footsteps of the great philanderers who have preceded me. 

June 30, 2007

Those of your who bothered to read yesterday’s blog entry know all about the heart-rending email I received from the poor unfortunate who reached out to me from his death-bed in Argentina to request my help in founding an orphanage in his name. I was touched. Touched by the prospect of granting a dying man’s request. Touched by the prospect of helping the children. And, of course, VERY touched by the prospect of receiving 25% of the $38.5 million dollars this sad, heirless soul would be leaving behind [Please see last issue. Editor.]. Well, I sent poor (in the figurative sense only) Ali a response, informing him that I would love to help out in any way I could. And, miracles of miracles, I received another email from him this morning:

“Dear Hazzencockle,

I have received your mail, i really appreciate your concern to my ill-health and your willingness to help to set up the orphanage foundation and for the needy, may the ALMIGHTY ALLAH bless you.

Meanwhile i need your truthfulness towards this work of humanity since im now in my sick bed and cannot undertake this foundation myself .I will need from you to forward me your personal informaton of passpot and bank ,your home address and your tellphone number. As soon as i recieves this i will forward your information to the bank to transfer the money to you as my next of kin.

I am waiting to hear from you as soon as possible .

Thanks,

Yours trully,
Engr. Ali”

Yes. Yes! By all means, let’s get started on helping those troubled tykes. I drafted the following response and sent it on its way:

“Dear Ali,

Good to see you are strong enough to write back! Given how sick you sounded, I was afraid that dearth would claim you before we had the chance to break ground on that orphanage. Speaking of which, I wanted to quickly run some possible orphanage names by you:

Hazzencockle’s Home for Wayward Youth

Aloysius P. Hazzencockle’s Gift to the Children

Aloysius et. Al’s Kid Crib

I’m working on a few more, but let me know if you have any ideas of your own or would be okay with one of the aforementioned suggestions.

Regarding the banking request – I invested $10 000 with the heir of a crown prince of Nigeria a few months ago and am concerned that I may have been scammed, so I have to be very cautious in my internet dealings. That said, your request comes at a good time as I was recently informed that I am the winner of $10 million in the U.K. Lottery, money I could use to help co-fund the orphanage!

I will be going to Europe to deliver the cash necessary to free up the funds (and pick up my winnings!) and since I’ll be in the area, would it be possible to meet up? I could deliver the documents then.

I don’t travel much so I’m not familiar with foreign lands (I assume they speak English in England? I’m not sure.) but I was wondering how close you are to the area? How long would it take you to drive from Argentina to Hounslow? If it’s out of your way, maybe I can hop on a train and meet you for the afternoon instead. I have heard many lovely things about Argentina and would love to get my picture taken with a koala bear. If this can be arranged, it would be dandy.

Sincerely,

Aloysius P. Hazzencockle” 

July 2, 2007

I was worried. I hadn’t heard from Ali all weekend. Had he grown tired of me so soon? Had he found an easier mark elsewhere? Had he caught on? Well, there was a new email sitting in my inbox this morning:

“Dear Hazzencockle,

I,m glad to recieve your mail instantly.This alone gives me joy that you are one, i could trust in this work of humanity.Ofcourse my health is so diverstating but my disk-top computer is handy for me enough to try my hands still in my wheel chair.

As in regard to the names you proposed they are all good and very much appreciated but i would like you to make it a joint name of both you and i since you are going to be my next of kin and beneficiary. It was also very sad to read about your experience with scammer, this was also my experience ten years ago and this why i,am praying that i do not fall into such hands again as well as making sure i know whom i,am dealing with in this matter. For all those loses Allah i guess is now trying to pay you in return.

I wish to correct your impression and draw your attention to my initial mail , i,am a citizen of Argentina.who has worked so hard in an oil and gas company ( SHELL ) in Nigeria where i,am now on a sick bed .My prayers to Allah is to still keep me alive to withness that i transfer the whole lot of my wealth to a next of kin than leaving all this effort in Nigeria before death comes calling on me.

On a daily bases,i only look up to Allah i,am afraid i will die, as i told you before do as fast as possible to forward me your bank information so as to instruct the bank to transfer the fund to you to commence the orphanage foundation .Continue to pray for me,Allah will bless you, call me with this number (…) thank you .

Regards

Engr. Ali.”

Okay. This could probably go on forever. It’s very clear that the lure of money is too great for these guys to pass up. I should just move on. But, in the words of Ebola Monkey Man: “I wanted to get their hopes up and waste their time. After all, time is money when you are scamming.” And so, with apologies to the Monkey Man, a pioneer in the field of scam baiting, I sent Ali the following response:

“Wait, Ali! Don’t die yet! We still have the orphans to help! Think of the children!

It sounds like you are truly at death’s door and that each email I receive from you may well be the last. This saddens me for many reasons, not the least of which being the solid bond of friendship I feel we have cemented over the course of our correspondence that may soon fizzle away like not so much as cotton candy on a Chevy convertible‘s black leather interior on a hot summer’s day. And so, I am of two minds. On the one hand, I want to send you my banking information and passport and get the ball rolling (they sit here on my coffee table as I write), but on the other hand I’m afraid that if we pursue this business venture, I will grow too attached to you. Recently, I’ve lost too many things that were dear to me (my great aunt Hortensia during a black op run in Mozambique, my prized lizard Mercutio from a stomach ailment, and Gilmore Girls which, as I’m sure you already know, ended after an all-too-brief 7-season run), and the thought of losing you as well may be just too much for me at this point in my life. Is it possible that the doctor’s grim prognosis is wrong? Have you exhausted all avenues in the search of a cure for your condition? Have you looked into the healing power of mangosteen?

As I mentioned in my previous letter, I’m traveling to London where I’m to meet with a representative of the UK Lottery Company in order to pay off the $10 000 required to free up my lottery winnings. The next time you hear from me, I will be a very rich man! Also, forgive my ignorance but I had no idea that Argentina was not within driving distance of London. Back in high school, geography was my worst subject as the mittens they would make us wear (so that we wouldn’t hurt ourselves) made it very difficult for me to draw the maps. Still, I would love to visit some day. In the words of the denizens of your homeland: “Crikey, mate! I think it’d be a beaut to visit your bush!”

Finally, if we do decide to move forward on this, I think it is imperative that we finalize the name of our orphanage. Often, these things are left to the last minute and then, when the time comes, it causes just too many problems. So here are some more suggestions. Let’s nail this sucker down:

ALOYSIUS P. HAZZENCOCKLE’S HOME FOR WAYWARD YOUTH in memory of Ali Abbas

ALI IN THE FAMILY – HOME FOR ORPHANS AND ALOYSIUS P. HAZZENCOCKLE

HAZZENCOCKLE’S HACIENDA OF LOVE AND CARING AND ALI

THE HOUSE THAT GOD (AND 38.5 MILLION DOLLARS) BUILT

Anyhoo, let me know which one appeals and we can discuss further.

Finally, and I don’t mean to sound overly critical or insensitive because I realize you have less than three months to live and are friendless and paralyzed, but would it kill you to be a little more upbeat? Your emails are a little depressing and my life counselor says that’s the last thing I need right now.

Keeping you in my prayers and favorite file,

See-ya cobber,

Aloysius P. Hazzencockle” 

 July 3, 2007

Dear Hazzencockle,

Thanks for your mail which really awaken me. I cannot appreciates Allah for keeping me untill i met you ,your prayers are giving me enough courage and strengths,thanks so much!

As regards the orghanage name conclusivelly, ALI IN THE FAMILY – HOME FOR ORPHANS AND ALOYSIUS P. HAZZENCOCKLE has finally caught my likes,and i settles for that .

I do fervantly pray for you on your jouney to london but please do be careful .

I know by the special grace of Allah i will not die but prays that i will be strong enough to stand fit to be able to sign all the necessary ducoments on the quick transfer of this money to you .

My hope is that this could be done this week as soon as your informations are ready.
I will be expecting your responds on this instance thanks .

Yours regards
Ali,”

To which I responded –

“Pip! Pip! Top of the mornin’ to you, guv! Fancy a shag?

Ali, my friend. Guess where I am? Yes – London! It is, without a doubt, the most exotic place I have ever visited with its commemorative plate shops and adorable wrong-way driving. I am enjoying myself immensely and, tomorrow, will be making the payment to free up the funds and collect my lottery winnings! Who knows? I may be so rich that I won’t need your money to build the orphanage after all. Ha! Ha! Seriously though, I still need that money.

Speaking of which – I don’t mean to rush you but how much longer do you think you have? Your last email got me a little concerned when you wrote “I know by the special grace of Allah i will not die”. Uh, I don’t mean to sound insensitive but I‘ve already started making plans for that money. If you can assure me that you are still dying, that would be great. Also, any sort of an inkling of a timeline would be much appreciated. When the doctor gave you three months to live, did he seem hopeful? Was it “at least three months” or “three months at best”? Does the five days we’ve corresponded count toward those three months? At approximately 90 days minus 5, that still leaves 85 days! The segway I put the down payment on can only be held for less than half that time!

Regarding the orphanage name. You just had to pick the one where your name appears first. You sly dog. So, okay. ALI IN THE FAMILY – HOME FOR ORPHANS AND ALOYSIUS P. HAZZENCOCKLE it is. We should start breaking ground as soon as possible as my landlord has informed me he will be raising my rent this September and I will need to move. I was thinking that we could build the orphanage on the vacant lot across the street from my old place as it would still allow me to be within walking distance of both my work and my mom and has the added bonus of all my former neighbors and landlord being envious of me because I will be living in the castle across the street from them. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention – I think the orphanage should be an actual castle with working drawbridge and moat and maybe one of those cauldrons with the hot oil on the top for when my landlord drops by to pretend like we‘re friends and that he wasn’t the one who stole my Royal Doulton Bunnykins collectible. Sort of like the castle Harry Potter lives in but hopefully not with as many kids. Let me know what you think.

Tally ho!

Aloysius P. Hazzencockle

July 14, 2007

On the off-chance that my long lost pen pal Ali was still kicking around, I fired off the following to his last known email address:

“Hey Ali,

Aloysius P. Hazzencockle here. I don’t mean to be a bother with you being on your deathbed and all, but a few issues have arisen regarding the building of that castle (for the orphans) and there are a couple of questions I need to run by you:

1. Do we want crocodiles in the moat? Yes? No? They’ll be $15000 a piece. Personally, I think they’re a good investment that will pay for themselves in time. Alternately, we could go with alligators instead at only $5000 a piece. Do you have a preference?

2. Have you given any thought to the battlements? Are we going with meurtieres, machicolations, or murder holes? If you want my opinion, I say do it up right the first time and go with all of the above. After all, there’s nothing worse than nosy neighbors.

3. The builder says he can get us a line on a second-hand trebuchet if we’re interested. I assume we’re VERY interested, but I just wanted to check with you first.

Well, that’s it. Get back to me if you’re still alive. And if you’re dead, kindly disregard this email.

All the best,

Aloysius P. Hazzencockle”

July 23, 2007

Miracles of miracles! Just after I’d given up all hope, I received the following email from my old friend Ali –

“Dear Hazzencockle,

Qiute a while ,good to hear from you ,although still on my sick bed i’m still doing better.
Ofcourse your mail sounded a little difiicult but i did pick something off it, I would like you to come straight into this project by providing me the necissary information as regarding your ID’s / address for me to forward you all the documents relating to the fund.

Thanks”

He’s alive! Thrilled, I responded –

“Ali, you‘re back! When I didn’t hear from you, I imagined the worst (ie. Your decrepit corpse lying overlooked on the grounds of some Argentinian teaching hospital, subject to ignominious abuse at the hands of stick-wielding children and angry kangaroos). Thankfully, my worst fears have not been realized and you (and your money) are still out there for me. I can’t tell you how pleased I am to see you’re still clinging to whatever tenuous strand of life you still possess.

I hope you don’t mind, but I gave the go-ahead to start work on our orphan castle. Last week, we finally broke ground on ALI IN THE FAMILY – HOME FOR ORPHANS AND ALOYSIUS P. HAZZENCOCKLE. Unfortunately, because you didn’t get back to me in time, we lost out on the trebuchet (Adam Baldwin got it) and will have to special order the crocodiles if we still want them. They will take 8-10 weeks to ship which means that if we order now, they should get here for late October. How many would you like? I’m thinking about twenty. Any more would be garish and any less would be kind of pointless.

Finally, it really warms my heart to know that we are helping the second neediest of all of God’s creations (lemurs, in my opinion, still hold onto the number one spot). In the words of Celine Dion: “I believe that children are our future”. And bless their industrious little hearts, given the cheap labor contract I’ve just signed with a major sneaker manufacturer, it’ll be rosy future indeed.

Sincerely,

Aloysius P. Hazzencockle”

July 30, 2007

“Dear Hazzencockle,

I got your mail in a second chance,glad your are doing great.could you simply go ahead to give me your imfo’s it will enable me get direct down to business with you .I have addopted you as my next of kin to inheret my worth on the need for the less previlaged.I really need to know who you are with your information and who inheret this fund to the knowledge of my medical doctor as the need be .Thanks ,i will be expecting from you .

Ali”

I responded:

“Ali my friend, you sound great for a guy with one foot in the grave! Who knows? Keep it up and you may outlive us all! Ha ha ha! (Seriously though, if you do find yourself in the long tunnel, waste no time and run towards the light. I’ve read reports of lingerers who missed the opportunity and ended up back in their bodies, condemned to live out their miserable existences as circus clowns and Sharon Stone. Imagine the worst. You, in your sickened state, wasting away in a hospital bed, impatiently awaiting death’s icy embrace while, I, halfway across the globe and fit as a fiddle, step onto a crosswalk and am macerated by a speeding rickshaw. Then where would we be? Me, dead. You, almost dead. Your money, unspent. The countless street urchins that may have benefited from the ALI IN THE FAMILY HOME FOR ORPHANS AND ALOYSIUS P. HAZZENCOCKLE never to know the comforts of a warm straw bed or the pleasures of firing a crossbow).

Speaking of the orphan-castle, things are going well following a minor hiccup. Taking a page from the Pharaohs of Egypt, I thought it might be a good idea to entomb the work crew after they were finished so that the secrets of the castle would die with them. Unfortunately, complications arose when I realized that as skilled workers already under contract, they would have to be the ones to do the entombing and, as it turns out, a little known sub-section of a clause in the union agreement forbids self-immurement. The only other option was to hire a second crew to wall up the first crew but with their job complete, I’d be faced with the same problem. In the end, I decided to do away with the headaches of unionized workers altogether and put the orphans to work. They may not be as quick or as capable (sadly, three perished attempting to install my alabaster pool slide), but it feels good to know I have given them direction and a sense of purpose beyond basic survival. By doing this, they are building character. And a castle.

Finally, thank you for adopting me. You’re like the sickly illiterate father I never had.

Sincerely,

Aloysius P. Hazzencockle

P.S. Great news! I was able to purchase a dozen moat-worthy crocodiles off eBay. They will arrive via UPS as soon as the check clears. Will keep you posted.”

August 22, 2007

A little nostalgic for old ailing Ali, I sent off the following to his last known address:

“ Dear Ali,

It’s your old buddy Aloysius P. Hazzencockle! I hope this email finds you unwell and not quite dead yet and, hopefully, still in possession of your laptop computer as, I’m sure, your relatives and the hospital staff are anxiously circling your property in anticipation of your long overdue demise. I’m reminded of a similar situation several years back when me and my fellow siblings spent the greater part of a long weekend painstakingly reviewing my grandmother’s assets and splitting them into fair and equal shares, only to learn the following Tuesday that she had, in fact, recovered from her bout of pneumonia and would not be dying after all. At fifty-seven, she was still a fighter, God bless her, and proved an inspiration to us all in her subsequent spirited battle to regain her health, her quality of life, and her personal effects. I’m proud to say that my dear grandmother displayed great fortitude and determination to the very end (it took six interns to get her out of her apartment and into that retirement center!). Well, even though many years have come and gone, I’ll always have fond memories of my time with nana and sometimes, if I close my eyes and listen very carefully, I can still hear her voice calling out to me from her room on the third floor of the old folks home located across the street from my place. Occasionally, she’ll even wave to get my attention. Then I usually just close the bathroom window.

In any case, I’m touching base with you because it seems that UPS has misplaced a package intended for the orphanage and I was just wondering if you may have received it by accident. Off the top of your head, do you recall accepting delivery of a shipment of crocodiles within the past two weeks? If so, please let me know.

Sincerely,

Aloysius P. Hazzencockle”

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