13:07 Monday 3rd October, 2005, Maya
Given the chauvinistic nature of our client, Riley and I had decided to work the inside together for this one. The inside man is the member of our crew who’s in charge of the magic. The secret to a good magic show is getting into character, and I was sure Walter and Riley would pull off their roles of Derek and John seamlessly. The morning had gone to plan – like clockwork our client had showed up at the gentleman’s club, where Walter had casually introduced Riley as his wayward nephew, who had apparently made a good living for himself from ‘investments’. When our client heard that investments came from horses, namely gambling, and that Riley apparently had inside tips he was predictably keen for some of the action. Walter had feigned that he couldn’t remember the tip that he had been given, after Riley had needed to leave for work. It was now time to find the name of a wining horse. After a ten minute period on hold to bookies, somebody with a hasty tone finally answered,
‘Thanks for calling, what can I help you with today,’ replied the Northern female voice.
‘I was wondering if you could tell me what won the last race?’ I asked.
‘Which course is that for?’
‘Anywhere,’ I replied.
‘Ummm, Maggie’s Golden Nugget at 1pm, on….’
‘Thanks,’ I replied, putting the phone down.
I sent Walter a text with the horses name – after which he would claim to have remembered the name of the horse. Our client, Albert, would naturally want to check if the horse won. There was our in.
‘What’s a nice place like this doing with a girl like you?’ Riley asked joining my table in our local pub.
‘Take it went well?’
‘You know me, I’m a real team player,’ Riley coyly replied.
‘Your round,’ I said, finishing off the last few drops of martini in my glass.
A few hours and rounds later we made our way back to the flat to find Matt working on the finer details of the con.
’So you found a place,’ I said looking over the building plans and estate agent brochures that Matt was studiously examining.
‘A shell of a place, the inside will need to be prepped,’ Matt answered, ‘Estate agents can’t shift it, as it’s a bit rough around the edges. I offered to do a free plastering service as part of a council rejuvenation scheme. We have it for the next week.’
‘Ok, but let’s make it good. How long?’
‘Couple of days, if I can get enough bodies,’ Matt said, clearly getting slightly irritated by the all the demands and little praise. Typical man.
Walter, a welcome disruption, had just arrived back from the gentleman’s club where he had been roping in our client.
‘Well, I think we have him hooked enough to give him the convincer,’ Walter informed us.
‘Perfect, can you set a meet up with Riley the day after tomorrow?’
‘Questions?, I asked to which nobody replied. ‘Right let’s do it.’
The first part of any good trick, is proving the magic is real. To prove this to our clients, we treat them to the convincer. To prove the con is real, the client is given money. It’s the only part of the con where the client is in pocket if he/she walks away. Fortunately, our clients are greedy, so they all come back for the final show.
‘Matt can we work out costs, if you have some time?’ I asked. We didn’t have a lot of cash available for expenses, which meant we may have to run a few short cons to generate cash.
‘Sure, we can go through it now,’ Matt replied, ‘building wise we are covered……..’
No, no, not now. Matt and my surroundings faded as my life again became shrouded by confusion. I was sat at a dining table, looking at a black tile to my right when a red head came in. As beautiful as she was, she had con artist written all over her. I hadn’t been paying particular attention to what she had been saying, but she finished with ‘So what was it you wanted to ask me, babe?’ The mind I was occupying felt full of questions, but unsure how to ask any of them. Why not just ask, I felt myself advising. I didn’t have time for this. I needed to get back to my World, not this fairytale land. In a blink I was back and thankfully Matt had not noticed my absence.
‘So what do you think?’ he asked within seconds of my return.
‘Could we just run through that last bit again?’