Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “All that Glitters is Not Gold” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/24/08)
TITLE: Crooked Smiles
By william price
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The balding 44-year-old had an irritating habit of twitching his rodent-like nose as he worked. The only time he cracked his crooked smile was when he finished a batch of his product.
Glancing at a wall clock he noticed it was 6 a.m.
<I>Time to get ready for work</I>.
Sigmund finished boxing up his latest shipment of product and carried it upstairs.
In an hour, Sigmund was standing on the front steps of his home waiting for his carpool ride into the Windy City. He was dressed in creased khaki pants, a white button-down shirt and blue tie. His David Hasselhoff style wig was fit firmly on his head. His product was tucked safely away in his alligator skin brief case.
Five minutes later, (an eternity for Sigmund), he was still waiting. Glancing down the street he noticed two little old ladies visiting with his neighbor’s wife at their front door. They were showing her a brochure.
“Christians,” he muttered, “Can’t they leave their lies at church?”
<I>Where’s my ride</I>?
Sigmund’s brow began to sweat when he saw the women ambling his way.
<I>Where’s my ride</I>?
“Hello, sir, can we have a minute of your time?”
“I’m waiting for my carpool; they should be arriving shortly.”
Sigmund tried to smile, but his mouth was too tense.
One of the women turned and looked up and down the street and then back at Mr. Fraud.
“Well, it appears, sir, they’re not here yet.” She smiled.
Sigmund noticed her grin was a little off kilter, crooked like his own. His curiosity was piqued.
<I>A kindred spirit maybe? I wonder what she’s selling?</I>
“Maybe I do have a minute, young ladies. Would you care to come in?”
Sigmund invited them inside his home and they all sat in the living room.
“I might have to leave for work, so let’s get down to it. What‘s your scam?”
Taken aback, one of the ladies blushed red.
“We’re not scamming anything, sir, just inviting people to our church.”
“And what Church would that be?”
“The Southside Revival Center. Here’s one of our brochures.”
Sigmund took the pamphlet but didn’t look at it. His mind was churning.
“Hmm, to the best of my recollection, there is no Southside Revival Center, except for the County Jail. I hear that is it’s nickname.”
Both women blushed.
“Oh my,” one spoke, “I think we’ve been found out.”
“So, what are you doing, taking donations to a fake church and then flying off on vacation?”
“You’re pretty sharp, young man. We are, in fact, planning a trip to Phoenix next week.”
Sigmund flashed his crooked smile.
“Well, maybe we can help each other.”
“Oh, and how could we do that?” One of the women’s smiles bent crooked as she spoke.
Sigmund opened up his briefcase and pulled out a box full of his product. He opened it and handed a credit card to one of the ladies.
“And what is this?”
“A gift card, with another person’s credit card number on it. I usually just send them to church membership lists in the disguise of an anonymous blessing, and then wait to read the newspapers to see who gets arrested for credit card fraud.”
“How do you do that?”
“I have access to all the information at work. I also have the knack for spotting a fake. You two are no church goers. So why don’t you take a stack of these, sell them for donations, and we’ll split the profits?”
“Ingenious,” said the one of the ladies as she pulled out a Blackberry.
“Excuse me a second, sir. I’m getting a text message.”
<I>Old ladies with blackberries, what a hoot</I>.
In a minute there was a car honk outside.
One of the old ladies flashed another crooked smile.
“I think your ride is here, but before you go, would you please take a closer look at our brochure?”
Sigmund’s face went pale as he read.
“A search warrant?”
“Yes, Mr. Fraud. Our agents will be in shortly. We hope you enjoy your visit at the Southside Revival Center. We’d love to stay, but we have another case in Phoenix. And, by the way, love the wig. David Hasselhoff was always a favorite.”
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