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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Exotic (08/08/13)

By C D Swanson


While eating breakfast one Sunday, the doorbell rang. John and Lydia wondered who would be calling before eight. John opened the door to a police officer, standing on his porch.

"Are you John Banks?"


"Call this detective, now." He handed John a business card.

"Officer, may I ask what this is in reference to?"

"I don't know. He's located in another state. I came to your door as a courtesy for a fellow police officer. Apparently, he's been trying to get in touch with you, and asked me to call on you in person."

"I see. Thank you officer, I'll call him."

John looked at Lydia’s face which had gone thirty shades of pale.

"You okay?"

She nodded her head silently.

"Do you know anything about this?"

"John, he asked for you! Why would I know about this? I know my stomach is burning, and flopping, akin to a slug, that just had salt poured on it. But, I don't know why a detective, from another state, wants to speak with you."

John called the detective, "Mr. Olden?"


"This is John Banks. I understand you've been trying to reach me sir?"

"Yes, I have."

"Do you mind if I put you on speaker? My wife is about to crawl up into the phone."

"Sure, no problem."

"Okay, go ahead detective."

"John have you been trying to sell a Bobcat recently?

"A Bobcat?"


They looked at each other mouths ajar, trying to absorb the question. Also, wondering if they were on "You've been pranked."

"No, sir I haven't been trying to sell a Bobcat. May I ask, what's this about?"

"Well, it seems someone has stolen your name and address, and has been using it, as a scam, to sell a Bobcat. This person has scammed people out of money in Florida, South Carolina, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and parts of Connecticut. There are ads in about one hundred newspapers with your name and address. I kinda figured it was a scam, but needed to ask you about it. We're trying to get the individual or individuals, but it seems the scam stems from overseas. These individuals used your name and address, with a picture of a Bobcat, for the people to see. And, people, responded with checks, to buy the Bobcat."

“You mean to say, my name is being bandied about in a scam game?”

“I’m afraid so.”

“Did they steal my identity?”

“Not your social security number, just address, phone number—enough for people to respond to the advertisement—and they’ve extorted quite a bit of money from gullible individuals.”

The detective informed John what to do. Equipped with a case number, and instructions for Monday morning. The conversation was about to come to a close.

But, not before Lydia asked, “How could something like this happen?”

“It could be a random thing. Or, someone might have cracked into your computer. They've an email address for John,people have been responding via the computer, in addition to the newspaper advertisments.”

“Do you think we’re in any danger of a disgruntled person coming to our door, looking for their money or the Bobcat?”

“Perhaps, but most of these individuals are in other states. So, try not to worry. If anyone shows up, refer them to me, with your case number.”

“Oh my goodness! Suppose they don’t wait for an explanation?” Lydia was circling the kitchen table, eyes wide.

“Mrs. Banks, I really don’t believe that you’re in danger.”

“Okay.” Lydia sat, the silence was deafening, until her next question. “I’ve been nervous since this conversation began. However, I’ve really wanted to ask…how is that poor Bobcat?”

John looked at Lydia. A smile slowly crossed his face. The detective chuckled. Lydia failed to see the humor in her sincere concern, for a poor animal. She’d hoped it was safe and being treated well.

“Mrs. Banks, the Bobcat… it’s a machine.”

Lydia’s face burned, “I thought you were referring to an actual Bobcat that was connected to an exotic animal underground link.”

This is a true story that happened to us two years ago. My face is red as I type.

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This article has been read 330 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 08/15/13
This is cute, and I was amused to read the note at the end. It's like something I would do.

Be careful of misplaced modifiers. The way your first sentence is written, it appears that your doorbell was eating breakfast.

I like the fast pace of this, with well-written dialogue.
lynn gipson 08/15/13
This is brilliant. The fact that it is a true story makes it all the more fantastic. I was thinking myself it was an animal! Great writing and a wonderful tale to tell the grandchildren!
Dannie Hawley 08/15/13
Uh, well, I wasn't far into your story when I said right out loud, "Well, those silly people don't know much about bobcats if they think they want one for a pet." By the end "Gotcha!" was written all over my face. A really fun read. Thanks
Linda Goergen08/15/13
What an entertaining, humorous, and captivating story, and all the more-so knowing it is a true story! Wow! What an experience! As I read, at first I thought maybe John had a bobcat machine for sale and the detective thought he was selling a live bobcat as an exotic pet instead. But then when John denied having anything for sale, I too thought the scam was about an illegal exotic pet. So how funny when the ending showed the scam to be about the bobcat machine I thought John had for sale. How amazing that you had a true life story that lent itself to this topic perfectly! Loved it!
PamFord Davis 08/16/13
Just when I think I've heard everything; ha!
We once owned a Mercury Bobcat station wagon, I kept thinking that as I read on...
This article is interesting and I'm sure will be shared by many.

Wing His Words
Noel Mitaxa 08/20/13
A great build-up through credible dialogue, though I thought that the exotic tag linked to a remote reason for the police visit. My (male) brain was confused by sudden concern for the bobcat. Doesn't everybody know that it was all about a machine - or was I also confused because the only bobcats we have down here in Australia are in zoos?
Barbara Caldwell08/22/13
This piece was interesting, humorous, and well written.