Fiction

And You Could Be Next: Part I

This week’s posts will be a serial short story on the topic of identity theft. Tune in Wednesday for the next exciting installment!

Melvin Cromwell first noticed something was wrong while buying an anniversary gift for his in-laws.

“I’m sorry, that card didn’t go through,” the cashier said.

“Didn’t go through?’ Melvin swiped it again. Again the card was rejected. “Damn, they really would’ve really loved this home-brew, probiotic tea kit.”

The cashier made an automatic, apologetic facial expression and began to ask if Melvin wanted to pay with cash or what.

“I don’t understand. This is a really good credit card. I mean look at it,” Melvin said, turning it so the cashier could see the front.  The cashier nodded; everyone spoke very highly of this credit card.

More puzzled than actually disappointed—just like the European Union, Melvin’s in-laws thought the jury was still out on probiotics—Melvin went home. While he prepared dinner, his wife came home from work, greeted him and checked her email in the other room. Melvin was mincing a particularly potent onion when his wife came in to thank him for getting such a thoughtful gift for her parents.

“Actually, the strangest thing happened to me today,” Melvin sniffled. “I wasn’t able to pick-up the probiotic tea set.”

“You made the right choice then,” his wife said. “Gift certificates to MacaRodeo are a much better 35th anniversary present than some gross probiotic tea set. The jury’s still out on probiotics, you know.”

“MacaRodeo?” Melvin asked as he blew his nose.

“Anyway, Mom and Dad sent a ‘Thank You’; it’s on my computer.” She kissed him on the cheek and went to their bedroom to change for dinner.

Melvin walked over to the computer. Sure enough, a message from his mother-in-law, thanking Melvin and his wife for the lovely gift certificate to the trendy new pasta restaurant/steakhouse. The email ended with an open-invitation to join them for dinner at MacaRodeo and list of suggested dates.

Is it possible to buy and mail a gift certificate without remembering? Melvin asked himself.

Melvin took out his credit card and looked for the number to call if you need to report a theft. He realized this was the first time in his life that he was on the giving end of a decent gift. Maybe it was a mistake. His wife had a brother who could’ve sent the gift certificate. Anyway, how could someone steal his credit card when it’s right here? How could they get his in-law’s address? “Well shit,” he said and put the card away.

“Melvin, please don’t swear,” his wife said as she walked past on her way to the kitchen for dinner.

“Just a mistake,” Melvin concluded and joined his wife for dinner.

He didn’t think about the incident again until two days later, when he returned home to find that his lawn had been mowed and the hedges neatly trimmed.

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One thought on “And You Could Be Next: Part I

  1. Pingback: And You Could Be Next: Part II | Topics of Capricorn

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