Dead man

I had to go inside the room. The light inside was very dull. It was dark outside.

Not because of street lights but because it was a moonless night. Street lights anyway did not work for last couple of weeks.

The municipal corporation was not doing its job properly. It did not listen to people’s grievances and gave excuses to address the issue.

The situation did not improve due to the corrupt officials in the corporation.

I was responsible for this planning.

I met Jacob about a month back in the summer of June.

I was having coffee in café coffee day in the relaxed atmosphere after visiting bank.  I was sitting alone chatting with my friend on phone when I felt someone’s hand on my shoulder. I held the call and saw who he was?

He was a middle aged man about 55 years old, wrinkles running down his both cheeks. He was wearing stark white collared shirt with blue denim jeans. The gentleman was wearing black shining shoes. He was looking dude with goggles tucked in the shirt pocket and a black cap on his round face. Face was clean shaven.

He said hi. I replied the same. He said “how are you gentleman”. I replied I am fine and fit. He said great. I offered him a seat and ordered 2 cups of coffee

Jacob started conversation. He asked if I was interested in making money with a short span of time.

I was jobless. I was working in a call center for UK client but the process was ramped down and I was given a pink slip. It was not only me but there were many people who were asked to leave.

I was looking for a job and needed money. I shown him interest and he started telling me details of the plan. The plan was to go to Donley George capital bank and encash a cheque lying with Jacob. I saw the cheque. I was taken aback.

The cheque was bearing my name. Michael Harold. I saw the amount. It was 2 million dollars. I saw Jacob in his eyes and he was smiling.

I felt suspicious and told him that I would need time to think about it. I was about to leave but he stopped me and said this opportunity will not come again.

He had been following me for some days from home to office and office to home and had gathered information about me.  The cheque was given to him by one of his friend named Michael Harold and personality was almost same as mine. Jacob had shifted in my locality few months back though I had not noticed him before.  How will I notice him? I left in the morning and came back at night not interacting much even with immediate neighbor.

He had arranged for all legal documents including identity proof required to withdraw such a large amount.

Jacob and his friend Michael were partners in a finance company and Michael had run away with hard earned money earned in last 10 years of his life.

I had to go to bank next day. It should not be a problem as name was same and as per photo needed in bank the face was same as mine. Slim and long face aged about 29 years.

I wore my navy blue suit on white shirt. The button of my suit was unbuttoned and did not feel like buttoning it.

I was feeling high as I was about to get this money if not initially but in installments after one month of getting money from the bank. I had to go to a specified location every week and take out money from a box kept below the bed in the room.

The bank was full of people doing banking for different purposes. I went to the counter to get the cheque encashed. The person on the counter saw me and then the cheque and then again saw me with some strange looks. I felt uneasy. I thought if the person had recognized that it was not the same Michael. The counterman checked the system. He was satisfied now. He asked me to go to the senior manager and get his authorization in the system to proceed further. I stepped into his cabin. He cabin was big and well furnished. There was wooden work all around and very good cabins.

He looked into my eyes and then the cheque. He asked me to sit and checked his system. He asked me if I was doing well and if there was improvement in my breathing system. I felt nervous as Jacob did not tell me that his friend Michael was an asthmatic patient. Thoughts flashed into my mind and I said with calm tone that it was much better now and I could breath well now especially in air conditioner. The senior manager was comfortable now.

The senior management generally asks these questions to ensure that the bank is dealing with correct person where huge amount is involved.

There was no flaw in signature as Jacob had shown me his friend’s signature and I did the practice well.

I went again to the counter and finally got two million dollars. I kept on seeing money and could not believe my eyes.

I came out of the bank and saw Jacob in his Ford Mustang   waiting for me. I stacked bag on the rear seat with calmness so that nobody notices us. Jacob started engine and asked if everything was smooth. I assured him that nothing went wrong. He was happy to hear this.

He drove the car and stopped in front of a house on the deserted road. It was only one storey building. I felt uncomfortable as this was the place where I had to come after a month to collect half of my share in ten equal installments.  He would earn interest till then by lending it to other people at 24% interest p.a.

I again did not enquired much as I was getting 1 million dollars without slogging for it. It was 24th Jun. I had to come on 24th Jul.

24th Jul. I went to the house. I was not supposed to go during day time as someone could notice me. It was dark and humid. I went inside the room and opened the door. Jacob had given me a set of key.

It was a big room. There was old furniture all around with dust gathered on it. I found the bed and the box under it. I opened the box and found the exact amount. One hundred thousand dollars. I had a small bag that I opened and put all money inside the bag. I kept the box at its original place and came out and locked the door.

Second time I came after a week. This time I noticed some humming as if something was being aired on TV. I thought it must be coming from some neighbor. I ignored it.

This was my eighth visit. I had already gathered seven hundred thousand dollars. Now it was going to be eight hundred thousand dollars. I had dreamt of going abroad and visit casinos and doing bungee jumping.

I opened the door and saw the box lying under the same bed. It looked as if Jacob had been refilling it every week.  This time the humming sound was louder. I became curious. I thought of going out and check with neighbor about it. But I realized it would be a blunder and I might land up in jail and all my dreams would be shattered. I went further and found another small room. I never noticed this as I had to simply pocket the installment and leave the place quietly. It was anyway now only 2 more visits and I will have my share.

I noticed someone sitting on a rocking chair and was swinging. A very small radio was airing some news. The sound of the radio was very disturbing. My heart sank. I had never thought of this. I went ahead to face the man.

I was shocked and was about to faint. I controlled myself. It seemed as if I had seen my face in the mirror. I realized that it was not me but the face was very much same.

He was Jacob’s friend Michael Harold. He could not be anyone else. He was looking at me smiling. I went closer to him but found him dead. He was not breathing.

Now I started thinking Why Jacob had come to me on that day. It was his planning to get million dollars without any efforts risking my life. He chose this deserted place so that no one notices us and I could not find anything in this dark and desolated place.

I never returned to that place and did not find Jacob either later on. He was a con man.

It was a win win deal for both. He got millions in his share and also another three hundred thousand dollars with a planning well executed.

I had got seven hundred thousand dollars without working though I risked my life in the bank..

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