Tag Archives: Fiction

Aesthesia: Chapter 8 (2)

11:33 Thursday 6th October 2005, Maya

Matt was looking pretty smug as he showed me round our big store. The place actually looked like a bookies, with TV screens, booking slips, a counter, the works. It was undeniably an impressive piece of work. Much more my style than Art Deco.

‘We get the TV feed in here showing the live race. Obviously we can’t fix the races, they’re legit. Riley’s set up here, holds up the pictures until the end of the race,’ Matt said pointing to a small black box, ‘when we’ve got a winner, we’ll give it to you. You’ve got three minutes to put a bet on before we start feeding it through the front. As far as anyone is concerned, they’re watching the race live.’

‘Three minutes isn’t very long,’ I thought out loud.

‘You slow up the pictures any more, our man might smell a rat. Sorry Maya, it’ll have to do,’ Matt said, continuing to admire his own work. ‘The main area is fully functioning. Riley’s tapped into a street light for electricity, re-routed mains and water for the toilets.’

‘Perfect,’ I said. ‘I have twenty grifters coming in as punters. So, I guess we’re ready to go, the client will be here in a few hours.’

This con was going to be mathematically challenging with our current funds. We had just over £90,000 capital which meant our client wouldn’t be able to take a high stakes bet, as it would wipe us out. We were ready to feed him the convincer – the trick that actually works, before we pull the con. It was simple enough, Riley had already told him he had a non-fail tip system predicting the winners. However, most bookies don’t let you place high bets in the region of tens of thousands minutes before the race without raising suspicion. That was where our big store came in. Riley had told Albert he knew of a private bookies that the syndicates used and that he was a member of. He had given him the usual sell to convince him to place a bet with our big store, saying it was for strictly high rollers, cash only and they would take bets up to half a million without batting an eyelid. The problem was, we only had a three minute window to place the bet. I would call Riley with the winners name as soon as the race finished. Riley would tell the client that I was escorting his boss, and had somehow managed to get the next winners name from him. Riley was going to put down £15,500, which the client would likely follow.  At a 2-to-1 winner on a £31,000 bet we would pay out a total of £93,000 (including the original stake) to prove the system works and convince the client to bet more money next time. I know what you’re thinking, if the client walks off with his half of the ‘winnings’ we’ve made a loss. But here’s the thing, clients never walk off. They’re greedy and always want more. That’s why the long con works.

As soon as the client had collected the winnings I joined Riley (or John) and Albert at the big store.

‘There she is,’ Riley said as I walked in, ‘£93,000 doll. Isn’t that right Albert!’

‘You wouldn’t believe what I had to do, to get that horse’s name,’ I said.

‘Well, maybe you could show me some time,’ Albert winked. ‘Why don’t we place one or two more bets.’

‘No, we agreed one race a day. We don’t want to raise suspicion,’ Riley said looking at me. We were flush and could not afford for Albert to win any more.

‘That was ridiculously easy,’ Albert said, loping like a greedy child who had just consumed the cookie jar.

‘Listen, the thing is if we want to make real money we need to put on one big bet while Kate’s still on the inside,’ Riley said, laying the groundwork for a big bet, where we would take the client for a few hundred thousand.

‘There’s no rush, surely?’ Albert rhetorically asked.

‘What if he calls the agency and asks for another girl?’ I said, trying to guide the client.

‘He’d be completely off his rocker to let you go,’ Albert answered, putting his chubby arm around my waist, with his hand creeping up a little too high.

‘Kate’s right,’ Riley added. ‘It’s not worth the risk. Besides, when we’ve made a pound or two, you lovebirds can take an extended break together? Just as promised, Albert.’

’So we can,’ Albert answered, tightening his grip. This was one of the downsides to playing the con, on occasion you would have to allow unattractive, balding fifty-something year old men to drool all over you.

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Aesthesia: Chapter 8 (1)

19:03 Wednesday 5th October 2005, Maya

glq kuy kro nw iksi kolo fro nw

Translation: do right and fear no-one

Old Punjabi saying

I could’t fault Matt’s commitment to the job, he had left before six this morning to rally the team and get the big store up and running. I parked up outside. The building was already looking much improved compared to the estate agent brochures. As I closed the door on the car I had ‘borrowed’ for the day, I noticed several workers who were carrying planks of wood into the store.

‘Oi! Watch it! That’s a loan and needs to stay in good nick,’ Matt was shouting, as one of his workforce almost knocked over a TV screen.

‘How’s it going?’ I asked.

‘The decoration is pretty much done. Hardware might take a little longer,’ Matt answered, ‘so we’re going for a few furlong races?’

‘It’s a nice setup. Race should be over in a minute to a minute and a half.’

‘I know I’ve been out of the game for a while, but I remember how long a furlong race lasts,’ Matt sarcastically said.

‘I know, just teasing’, I smiled. ‘So you got enough supplies to finish this place?’

‘You’ll know when I haven’t. Shouldn’t you be getting ready for the curtain roll?’ Matt asked barely waiting for an answer. ‘Would you guys watch it!’ he yelled, walking toward the same young man, who had just knocked another screen. I took the cue to leave.

I picked up Riley and Walter and we made our way to the first performance for our client. This was the clincher, we had him hooked but needed to reel him in for the magic to work.

‘You sure this is the place Walter?’ I asked as we drove up to a five star hotel.

‘Quite sure, sugar. The valet may not want to park this fine specimen you’re driving without a key.’

‘Who said I don’t have a key?’ I asked.

‘Really, since when do you use keys? Where exactly did you ‘borrow’ this car from?’ Riley asked.

‘Right here,’ I answered pulling into the hotel as the valet looked on. ‘Some rich kid this morning mistook me for a parking attendant and threw her keys at me. It seemed rude not to accept,’ I quipped exiting the car. ‘Thanks doll and remember to take it easy on the clutch,’ I told the parking attendant as I handed him the keys.

The social mixer Walter had been invited to was in a stunning suite supporting a clear vaulted roof and a decadent Art Deco.

‘Derek, so glad you could make it,’ said a white haired aristocrat type, who I assumed Walter had met at his Gentleman’s club.

‘Lovely to see you again Peter. This is my nephew John and his young friend, Kate,’ Walter gushed. Walter was like very few con artists, in that he was actually an artist. Watching him run an con was like watching Da Vinci painting the Mona Lisa.

‘Come in, I’ll fix you some drinks. Albert’s in the lounge,’ directed Peter, handing us each a glass of champagne. Not to look to keen to meet our client, we waited for him to approach us.

‘Ahh, I thought that was you old boy. Welcome Derek,’ Albert said coming over and patting Walter on the back.

‘John, nice to see you again,’ Albert said, moving his eyes from Riley toward me, ‘and who is this vision?’

‘Good to see you too sir. This is Kate,’ Riley answered putting his arm around my waist.

‘I’m delighted to make your acquaintance,’ Albert drooled, leaning forward to kiss my hand. ‘Would you mind if I stole this bright young man, my dear?’

‘Be my guest,’ I answered.

Albert led Riley through the crowded room onto the mezzanine. They were chatting for a good twenty minutes and by the looks of things Albert was trying to get information from Riley.

‘That’s what I like to see. A client who does all the hard work himself,’  I said to Walter, pouring another glass of champagne.

Walter smiled.

For magic to work, the spell you cast has to be perfect. Our spell had worked and the veil of illusion cast. Riley had fed Albert a story claiming he worked for a syndicate company that had teamed up with five other syndicates during the last year. As a result, the company now owned all the runners in a single race, which meant they were able to determine which horses would win certain races, before the race started. With a good spell you have to appeal to your audience, tap into their desires. Riley had claimed he was too junior to get the information, although he was seeing a high class escort, Kate (me), who was escorting his boss and overheard key information regarding the winner for the next race. From there is was simple math, if you put £1000 on a 12-to-1 you get back £12,000 (which Riley claimed he had from the race that Golden Nugget had won). But if you put down £10,000, you get £120,000. Our client was under our spell and ready to front up some cash.

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