The Grand Prize

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

"Yes, ma'am," said the Telemarketer who met her at the railway station as promised. "I'm the one who has consistently called you, promising a grand prize of 2.5 million dollars! All you had to do to play along is to purchase this green card for the low, low price of $490, which I see you have here. Now, please hand me the card and wait right here."

"But sir," Mrs. Hinkly asks, "what am I waiting for? During your phone call, you indicated I would be a happy millionaire the moment I met you here at the station. Not to be impatient, but where is my money you promised me?"

The Telemarketer smiles cordially at her and replies, "Oh, the band is on its way out here now. So, too, is the local TV station News team. We're all going to celebrate your big win, Mrs. Hinkly. Why just think, tonight you'll be drinking Bahama Mamas in the Bahamas! And next week, you can buy that new house, new car, and be happy for the rest of your life!" 

Mrs. Hinkly watches the shrewd Telemarketer as he disappears by slipping into the bathroom. An hour later, she is still waiting for the band to appear, and there has been no sign of the Telemarketer. She is tempted to ask a railway conductor to go in the Men's Room to check on him, but she simply waits another hour.

Later that week, still poor as a church mouse, Mrs. Hinkly kicks herself giving away her hard-earned $490 for a scheme that she so foolishly fell for. She promises herself the next time a telemarketer calls, she will wise up. 

That very next day, a second telemarketer calls and says, "Yes, Mrs. Hinkly, this is the IRS calling about taxes still due on your account. We would be happy to take a check for the full amount right now on the phone."

Mrs. Hinkly responds, "Let me clarify for the record, you represent the IRS correct?"

The Telemarketer replies, "Yes, our records indicate that you withheld monies and tried to conceal the fact. In order to rectify—"

Mrs. Hinkly cuts in, saying, "Rectify? Oh, my, that there is a big word. Speak simply and more clearly for this conversation is being recorded. Fact is, the FBI caught up with me long before the IRS did, and they have been conducting an investigation." 

The Telemarketer worriedly asks, "The FBI? Investigation?"

"Yes," Mrs. Hinkly says. "For the record, state your name and the corresponding address associated with that name. In fact, let’s cut to the chase here and save us all some time. Which agency are you associated with? You can lie and give me false information to cover your butt, but eventually, all phone calls made to this address are being traced. In the end, the FBI will determine who you are working for, and just why you have contacted me."

The Telemarketer, now sweating bullets, says, "This is the Internal Revenue—"

"Wrong answer," Mrs. Hinkly interrupts him. "Remember you called here four times yesterday? Each time you did, the phone number was traced to an address outside the country. The Federal Agent in charge of this particular investigation informed me that all IRS numbers have an 800 attached to them rather than 830 like yours. I’m afraid to inform you, you’ll soon be caught up in what is known as an 'umbrella'investigation, meaning everyone in contact with me is suspect of being involved in this full-scale operation. If you’re not associated with a cartel, that’s too bad. It’s already too late. Your phone number links you to the net. Be expecting a contact soon."

The Telemarketer, now barely able to breathe, asks, "Are you kidding me?"

"No," Mrs. Hinkly responds, "I am not. Do you know what the penalties are for impersonating an IRS agent?" 

Telemarketer: CLICK!

Mrs. Hinkly calmly asks, "Hello? Hello? Are you still there?"

Crickets chirping in the background.

Submitted: April 26, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Tom J Frye. All rights reserved.

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