Another item from my pending file of the Scriptorius writings:
Tom: Hello, Jim. How goes it?
Jim: Fine. Are you keeping well?
Tom: Not bad. I saw old Charlie last week. Didn’t have time to stop and talk with him but I noticed he was looking very prosperous. Posh suit and big cigar.
Jim: I don’t wonder. He’s done it again.
Tom: Done what?
Jim: Pulled off another scam. I’ll swear that if that chap would put his mind to honest affairs, he’d make a fortune the right way in any case. He’s the most ingenious fellow I’ve ever known but he’s always on the dodge.
Tom: That’s true. Did he give you any details?
Jim: Yes. He’s made a nice little coup on the stock market.
Tom: Well, that doesn’t seem to be out of order.
Jim: It is the way he did it.
Tom: Tell me all.
Jim: He rented a little dump for two months, got some stationery printed, found various luxury residential areas around the country, all a long way from his base and sent copies of a letter to addresses that looked like good targets.
Tom: What sort of letter?
Jim: A persuasive one by the sound of it and he admitted that the idea wasn’t one of his originals. Apparently it had been used a long time ago. Anyway, he told the recipients that he had a way of predicting UK stock market movements and that anybody using his services could be sure of making a fortune. He said that for a year he had forecast the Financial Times hundred-share index fluctuations for a week ahead and got it right every time.
Tom: Remarkable, if it were true, but knowing Charlie I imagine it wasn’t. Even if it had been, how did he gain from writing the letter?
Jim: Bear with me. He included a comment to the effect that he didn’t have sufficient funds for big investments on his own account, but that he wanted to make money legitimately – big laugh – so decided that the next-best thing was to supply others with his infallible information for a fee. That way they could make killings and he would get an income from them.
Tom: Sounds a bit thin. How did he take anybody in that way?
Jim: He offered them a free trial period, after which – if they were satisfied – he’d charge them for his continued advice.
Tom: But he couldn’t be sure of getting his prophecies right. Nobody could do that.
Jim: It wasn’t necessary. Under his free introductory offer, he first contacted 1,500 residences asking the owners to reply if they wanted to take part. He didn’t expect to get an answer from everyone, but he got 960. He responded, telling half of them that a week from the date of his letter the index would rise and the other half that it would fall. In the event it rose.
Tom: What then?
Jim: He ignored those he’d supplied with the wrong forecast and replied to the other 480 with a further one, again splitting them half and half for the stock market’s rise and fall. As it happened, the index rose again, but that didn’t matter. The point was that he’d given wrong information to 240 punters. He discarded them and wrote again to the others, once more dividing them half and half. That time, the index fell, so he’d supplied the right prediction to 120 people. As before, he ignored the ones he had misled and contacted those who’d got the right tip, again dividing them down the middle. So once more he gave the right forecast to sixty of his targets. He wrote again to them, splitting fifty-fifty as before. The index rose, so he’d given the right tip to thirty of them. Next he went on to stage two of his plan.
Tom: Just a minute before I lose track. He’d given the right information first to 480 people, then to 240, then to 120, then to sixty and finally to thirty. Have I got it?
Jim: Yes, so thirty parties had been advised correctly for five successive weeks. He wrote to them, this time saying that he imagined they were satisfied that he’d been as good as his word and assuring them that he could continue in the same vein, but as he’d told them in the first place, he needed to make a living. If the people concerned would pay him a thousand pounds each, he would give them the weekly service for a further six months, after which they could renew the arrangement or not, as they saw fit. Sixteen of them failed to respond but he got a thousand from each of the others, so he pocketed fourteen thousand pounds.
Tom: But surely he’d spent plenty?
Jim: Right, but it was a sprat to catch a mackerel. He got a whopping discount for bulk posting and the letters and rent also didn’t cost him much. Overall he laid out seventeen hundred pounds, so in the end made twelve thousand three hundred net. All payments were by cheque and as soon as the last one had cleared, he closed the office and the bank account he’d opened. Then as far as his victims were concerned, he disappeared without trace.
Tom: What a conman. I wonder how he keeps thinking up these fiddles. Any chance that he might let us in on the next one?
Jim: No – and don’t think I haven’t asked him.
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Scriptorius is alive and well in the spirit realm and enjoying the greater freedom of moving about without needing a physical body. From there he is greeting you and wants you to know that he’s looking forward to meeting you one of these days, when your time for departure from the earthly plane has come.
With love – Aquarius
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