Wednesday, March 14, 2012


My induction into the Yahoo-Yahoo world was hardly ceremonious. I had always envisaged this world as a cult of some sort where one was required to pass tests of all kinds and prove his loyalty to some higher power. Well, in actual fact, that happens especially when one moves up the ladder. I have heard of cases where people have resorted to voodoo and other extreme diabolic means to swindle people of their money. Those at this stage make thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars, pounds or euros as the case may be. However, I was still at the lowest rung of the ladder and so I was confined to the crumbs. I didn’t mind as long as I got something. In fact, immediately I understood the vast possibilities in this illegal venture and the things I might be required to do as I ascended the hierarchy, I decided I would never wait that long. I just had to get enough money to see me through BG’s pregnancy and take care of any other financial obligations and I would be cool.
“Geebee, do you realize we could be millionaires in another one year?” Sam informed excitedly, as we began our preliminary work.
“Just think of this,” he continued. “If we make like a couple of hundreds of dollars for now, by next month, we could be making like a thousand plus. In another few months, we would be sending cheques and doing transfers here and there and that’s where the big bucks come in.”

I stared at my friend blankly. If only the guy knew why I was doing this, I thought. Sam seemed determined to make this venture his full-time job whereas I hated the fact that I would have to trick people and rob them of their hard-earned money. I might have been involved in numerous vices but I was not a thief! A voice in my head told me I was fooling myself.
“Sam, I think we should just do this for a while, get the little we can get from it and get out. It’s really not the best way of life.”
My friend looked at me as though I had just told him I slept with a crocodile.
“Are you serious? What is wrong with you, man?” He touched my shoulder tenderly. “This is a whole new world out here for us, a vast land for us to take over and you’re talking of just getting the little we can from it?” He shook his head disapprovingly. “I wonder why I told you about this. Bro, you’re breaking my heart!”
“Let’s face it, Sam” I began. “We will be swindling people of their hard-earned money. That’s stealing.”
“Of course it is,” Sam said angrily, trying to keep his voice down. “Who are we stealing from here? Not our own people. We are going to swindle white men, the same bastards that kept us in slavery for centuries . . .”
“Oh please!” I cut in, irritated at his revolutionary approach. I had to laugh and he joined me almost immediately.
“Was it you that was sold into slavery? Let’s not try to use that idea to justify this. What is wrong is wrong!”
Sam smiled and stared at me for a while. “So, are you saying you’re no longer interested?”
“Of course not! I’m only saying I don’t plan to do this forever.”
“Whatever man,” my friend said with a wave of his hand. “I’ll remind you one day when we begin counting our millions on how you said you didn’t want to do it forever.”

By the end of the first day, I had successfully registered my new profile on a dating site. I selected a random name, AY as my handle. I claimed I was 28 years old, a Nigerian and a writer working with a publishing outfit. I got about fifty pictures of a particular model from a modeling site. The model I selected as my face was a gorgeous African-American beauty. She was so stunning that I found myself fantasizing about her. It sounded pretty ironical that I was attracted to a face that was supposed to be mine. For a while I wondered how many other guys were using her face for the same purpose I was. I integrated my new profile into the dating platform and began to send multiple dating requests making my preferences male Caucasians between the ages of 45 and 70. Presido had schooled Sam and I that the older the men, the more lonely and liberal they were.
“Most white men you find on dating sites between the ages of 45 and 70 are desperate men who have either had their hearts broken at one time or the other or who have been through one or multiple divorces” Presido had informed.
“These men are only looking for young women who they could settle down with and retire with. Of course they also look out for good sex and believe black young women can give them all the pleasure they want. They won’t mind spending all they can to get such women.”

With these at the back of my mind, I went to work. Two days later, I was back at the café and checked my inbox for possible responses to my requests. I had sent about thirty requests to various Caucasian men previously. My inbox revealed that I had sixteen responses. I was elated! However, my excitement gradually waned as I opened each mail.
“I am not going to fall for any of your Nigerian scam. Get lost!” the first mail read.
“I have a woman already. Thank you for your offer” the second read.
“Go find another man to scam,” another read.
There were other responses that were far from encouraging and I was almost tempted to quit the entire thing right then. Most of the Caucasian men were not ready to date a supposedly beautiful Nigerian girl they believed could be a scammer. I could hardly blame them. My country had a reputation for its people being involved in high profile scams and only a few years before, it had been listed as the world’s second most corrupt nation. I was not surprised no white man wanted to date me. The eleventh mail brought a flicker of hope. The sender’s name was Miles Peck.
“Hello AY, thanks for contacting me. You are so beautiful and I would like to have you to myself forever. Please reply.”

I felt like break-dancing. All the discouragement I had previously felt over the earlier mails I had read disappeared in an instant. I replied immediately.
“Hello Miles, I am glad you responded. I believe we can go far with each other, God willing. I would love to know more about you and I’ll gladly tell you about myself too. All you need do is ask. I’ll be waiting. AY.”
I proceeded to read the unread mails. I encountered a few more unpleasant responses but I was not bothered. I got two more nice responses, one from Luke Pine and another from Dean Flank. I was encouraged and responded immediately. Before I sent the third response, I got another mail in my inbox. Miles Peck had responded! I read the mail immediately. He asked me to send more photos of me and if I wouldn’t mind chatting. I responded again, sending him my messenger handle. Ten minutes later, we were chatting.

Miles Peck was fifty-seven years old and a retired construction engineer now running his private firm. He had been divorced twice and had two children who were both long gone from home.
“My daughter is thirty one and my son is twenty-nine. They are both older than you in fact,” he said in our chat.
“Really?” I asked. “So do you mind dating someone young enough to be your daughter?”
“Of course not. My daughter would be glad to meet you in fact.”
I was excited. “Yeah, I would love to meet her too.”
“So can you come and meet me in New Jersey soon?”
I almost jumped. What? He was asking me to come meet him. I was about to tell him I’d love to when his chat line came in.
“I can pay for your ticket if you don’t have money,” he added.
“Really? That would be wonderful. I would have to think about it though.” I wrote in pretense.
“Come on, AY. I just want you to come and visit me for two weeks.”

As we chatted on, I felt like my head was in the clouds. It was hard to believe someone I just began chatting with was already falling heads over heels in love. Was the guy drunk? I wondered. However, he sent me a line that sobered me up for a while.
“I have heard a lot about Nigerians. I hope you are not a fraud.”
I wished I could tell him right then that I was not really the beautiful woman he thought I was but I was already way in over my head. I summoned courage and assured him I was none of such. In fact I told him I was not interested in him sending me any money just to get him off the scent. However, to my greatest surprise and delight, he persisted.
“I’ll send you three hundred dollars as a show of faith just to prove that I am indeed serious about you.”
I realized this had to be a dream; some serious dream. I promised to send him my contact details the next day and we ended the chat with me sending him an almost nude picture of the model. He went wide with excitement.
“I can’t wait to see you, AY!”
That very day, I chatted with Luke Pine and Dean Flank as well and more good luck followed. I had to spend an average of ten hours every day in the café for the next five days consolidating my contacts and making new ones. By the end of the week, I was sure the sky was not even my limit in the business. Unfortunately, Sam was yet to catch even one ‘maga’. I realized I was the luckiest Yahoo-Yahoo boy around.