Monday, March 26, 2012

The Voice of a Master Con

It had been more than 15years since we last saw one another.Thanks to the social networking website - Facebook, we got reconnected. We reminisced about the good old days when we were young girls in secondary school and we thought it would be nice to have a reunion. It started as some unserious banter traded back and forth but the idea gradually grew and took on a life of its own.

Somehow, it fell to me to contact as many of our old classmates as I could reach but in the process of doing that, school mates of other classes and graduating years suggested that we expand the scope of the reunion. It seemed daunting but the challenge of actually helping to organize a national reunion of old school mates for the first time in almost 30years was too exciting to pass up!

That was how it started. I made calls, sent text messages, contacted old school mates via Facebook, sent emails, created a Facebook page, a Yahoo!groups mailing list and even a website...phew!
The pace was slow at first but gradually, I started getting some people's attention.

We started constituting the various committees and there were quite a number of volunteers. However, there was one volunteer that stood out. Her name is Juliet O. Her enthusiasm was particularly infectious and because of her, we got increased participation. She shared her experience when she catered for the alumni association of another unity school like ours and how it was so much fun. She offered to cater for us at a very reduced cost and even offered to help get us a venue free of charge.
When the issue of fund raising came up, we asked for suggestions. Most of us agreed that everyone who planned to attend should pay a fee but we would also need to source for funds from several corporate entities as well. Juliet O. rose to the occasion. She informed everyone that she had connections with Indomie, Bournvita, Cowbell etc and that they had sponsored some of her events before. According to her, it would be easy to enlist their support for our worthy cause.

Ah, with all these assurances from Juliet O, our event was well underway. After several weeks of discussing online, we finally made real time contact via conference call. I was going to be hearing the voices of my committee members, some for the first time after over 15years.

And so it was that the call was set-up. It was delightful to have about 60% of the team join in. Juliet O. had to leave her choir practice to join us. The session was quite interactive and Juliet O., her voice turned out to be a bit sing-songy and soft,  even offered her humble home to accommodate invitees coming in from other cities and who could not afford to pay hotel bills for the reunion weekend. We had decided on the date for the reunion and we had only 7months to plan.

After that conference call. Everyone was gingered up. We got even more volunteers and we were able to set up a meeting with one of our seniors, Amina Bello* who had held a reunion in London successfully. Not only would she give us guidance, she was a very important link to other old girls who graduated from the school even before we ourselves enrolled in Primary school. It was important that the reunion covered as many sets as possible so that it would have the kind of credibility we sought.

I was riding on the wave of this excitement when I got a call from Juliet O. a few days after that tele-conference. She called to say she had finally convinced a friend of hers who owns a hotel to give us huge discounts on room rates if we decided to use one of their event halls. We spoke about this for a few minutes when her voice dropped to a mere whisper. I strained to hear her. She was a bit hesitant but she managed to inform me that she was actually calling for personal reasons. She needed me to loan her some money for one catering job she had to carry out that weekend and I could have my money back in like a week. I stopped short. I told her I didn't have that kind of money but I would think about it. I was going to call her back.

I spent the next few hours considering my options. Since Juliet O. was such an important part of our reunion plans it might not be a bad idea to assist her in her time of need. And since she was such a connected caterer/events manager, we really could use her help. Besides, once her event was over, I would get my money back.

That was how I made up my mind to give her an amount close to half of what she asked for and even this was quite a substantial amount of money. I had some disposable cash and some other monies. Suddenly, I was in a hurry to pay the money into her account. It was as though I was in a daze. The deal was transacted and I held the teller slip in my hand. That was when it suddenly hit me. How much do you know this Juliet O? Did you even try to verify  any of her claims? Do you know where she lives? What if she doesn't pay you back like she said?

Suddenly, like a crazed woman, I rushed back into the banking hall.

"Madam, madam, please...!" I was panting, waving the teller slip at the Teller at counter 1.
"I paid the money into the wrong account! Wrong Account!!"
Everyone on the queue just stood there staring at me.

The Teller peered at me from the top of her glasses. I remember thinking to myself, don't they employ young, smart tellers anymore? The woman seemed to be in her mid-forties and this was a new generation bank.

"Ah, madam, I have posted it o! We cannot call it back". She spoke slowly in that irritating, I-don't-care manner.

"Please where is your manager? I want to speak with your was the wrong account!" I was frantic. My money was about to get lost! Or even stolen!
The teller reluctantly pointed towards a row of offices on her left and I dashed into the first one on the row..."Your Manager, Please where is your Manager's office?" I blurted. The young man looked up with a concerned look on his face. He half stood up while he directed me to the office three doors from his. I was backing out when I ran into another gentle man. I didn't even look up as I quickly apologised and started walking away.
"Madam wait!" It was the man who had just given me directions. I stopped and there he was at the door of his office holding the upper arm of the man I had just bumped into. "This is the man you want to see". He was smiling. "This is our Branch Manager".

What a relief. The Branch Manager had a kind face and not once did he interrupt me as I tried to explain how I managed to pay such a large sum of money into the wrong account. And not once did he look at me disapprovingly. At the end of my narrative he simply led me to his office, gave me a pen and paper with instructions on what details to provide.

"Don't worry madam, we'll get your money back"

Ah, what a relief!

But that relief was only short lived. Juliet O. was bent on collecting my money and collect it she did!

* Not her real name


Toinlicious said...

Oh lord! Why the heck are people like this? I should have know when she was doing "kuru kere". I'm always wary of people like that esp when it comes to money. So what did you do?

Please hurry back with the rest of the story.

Myne Whitman said...

Wow, I want to see how this ends. It pays to be careful I guess, but truly how could you have known? Such people are wolves in sheep clothing.

Bespoke Biddie said...

oh my gosh what a harrowing anecdote! go on I'm literally grossing my fingers here!



HoneyDame said...

Oh shooot!!!! Pls pls pls....where is the continuation?!

cee said...

Wow! that's soo sad. Why is the world filled with people like *Juilet O*'s??!

Love your blog. Now following!

Olufunke said...


The world is full of people who only know how to take advantage of others.

Let me go grab my bag of popcorn and see how the story ends...

Loving your new blog look

Fluffycutething said...

***eyes almost popping out****

biko come and finish this story oh!!!

Afronuts said...

Oh no! She still got the money?


The thing is 'paining me' oh!
Definitely this can't be the end of this post is it?

Abeg fill us in on what happened quick oh!

livelife said...

OMG I need to know how this ends. As for me am always weary once people try to act extra nice or friendly.

Beulah! said...

Enkay, tell me this is fiction, not true story is it???!!!

jhazmyn said...

HAHAHA!!! As serious as this is, I cant help but laugh, as in, was she sitting infront of an ATm just waiting to get an alert. That was fast mehn...oh my.

Geebee said...

Hmmmmmmm! The things that happen in our society! Funny enough, I can easily relate to this situation although in a different context. I was almost embarrassed last year while we were planning my set reunion. I did all the running around and all the money was being paid into my account because they all 'trusted' me. Well, somehow the event did not hold and I had to start refunding everybody's money one after the other. Now this na money wey I don shook hand put already. lol. It wasn't funny o!

Been ages, Enkay! Glad to see you blogging again (Like I've done better myself. lol)

juicygal said...

Welcome back to blogging. Finally a story from you, and an interesting one too. its nice to hear about this reunion plans from your blog, been that I attended the same high school as you did. The end took me by storm, I was expecting some fun reunion ending, but to my surprise it was an end that left many questions on my mind.I cant wait to see how this all ends.

Enkay said...

@Toinlicious - The "Kuru Kere" no be small thing o!

@Myne - Honestly, how could I have known?

@Bespoke - I'll finish the story in a bit! lol!

@HoneyDAme - In a minute dear. :)

Enkay said...

@ Cee - Thanks for the follow. Following you right back!

@ Olufunke - Thanks for the compliment.

@ Fluffycutething - I will, I will

@ Afronuts - Oh you better believe that she did!

Northern Girl said...

Oh my!! I hope this is just a story... although I know it can certainly happen in real life...!