Scam Caller

Image: mobile phone. Text: "Answer," Claire commanded.

Scam Caller

Short story by Iris Carden

The phone rang.

“Answer,” Claire commanded.

The voice on the other end was unfamiliar.

“Hello I’m Mary from Hendricks Investment Mentoring.  We provide mentoring on investing in the stock exchange.”

“Oh,” said Claire.

“I’m calling about setting you up with a mentor to get you started on your own path to wealth and security.”

“Oh, OK.”

“You will have me as your personal mentor, and with the help of our exclusive software, you can invest in the stock market and maximise profits.  Some of my clients have doubled their money in only a couple of weeks.”

“That sounds expensive.”

“Not at all.  For only a hundred and fifty dollars, you can get started trading shares on the Australian Stock Exchange. Your investment just increases and increases.”

“Well, that does sound good, but I don’t know where to find a hundred and fifty dollars.”

“Of course you do.  Half my clients are pensioners and they can find the money, surely you can too.”

“But the judge said I’m not allowed money anymore.  You’d have to talk to the person the judge said had to manage my money.  The judge knows who that is, you could ask him.”

“What?”

“My psychiatrist, would know too, but I can’t ask him.  Then he’d know I’ve got a phone and I’m not supposed to have one.”

“Excuse me?”

“They don’t want me to harass the victims’ families.”

“The what?”

“Would I need a computer for your software?  I don’t have a computer either.  They confiscated it.  I took pictures, you see.  Pictures I kept on the computer.  So much blood. Beautiful blood. I’m not allowed a computer anymore.  I used my computer to find them.  I could find you if I had a computer.”

“Ahhh….”

“You sound like a nice person Mary. Where do you live?  Are you near here?”

“I’m not allowed to tell clients where I live.”

“Oh, but I’m not a client.  I can’t be. I don’t have any money.  And I don’t have a computer for your software.  But I do have a mobile phone and an escape plan. Can I come and visit you when I get out?”

The line went dead.

Howard walked from the kitchen with a cup of coffee.

“Scam caller?” he asked

“Scam caller.” Claire answered.

“Psycho serial killer, multiple personalities, or little old lady who doesn’t understand what they’re talking about?”

“Psycho serial killer.”

“You have way too much fun with scammers.”

He put a straw in the coffee cup, and raised it for her to drink.

Unable to move any body part lower than her chin, Claire sipped the coffee, then made a point of moving her eyes to look all around her, and particularly down at her paralysed body.

“Since the fall, I’m not going rock climbing or doing anything else much at all,” she said. “I’ve got to entertain myself somehow. And anyway, someone who claims to be able to mentor people on using the stock market and doesn’t know you need a minimum of five hundred to make your first buy on the ASX is deserves to be trolled.”


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By Iris Carden

Iris Carden is an Australian indie author, mother, grandmother, and chronic illness patient. On good days, she writes. Because of the unpredictability of her health, she writes on an indie basis, not trying to meet deadlines. She lives on a disability support pension now, but her ultimate dream is to earn her own living from her writing.

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