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Another View

The art of the scam

By: Robin & The Time Traveler
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Time Traveler:
Since the mysterious disappearance of Bloody Parrot the Portuguese Pirate, having no real friends has started hanging out with our former attorneys Norris P. Thermadore III and Harley Ridgecracker. Both of these upstanding citizens have recently been disbarred. Something to do with altering wills, at least that’s what I heard. Inasmuch as they are both unapologetic capitalists they decided to go into some other line of work. They opened their own detective agency, calling themselves Thermadore, Ridgecracker, Shysterstein and Associate. Actually there is no Shysterstein, they just threw that in to make their agency sound a little classier. The associate is none other than Newcastle’s own former beloved Madam Kahli, palm reader, psychic, life coach and financial advisor. They figure with all that collective talent they should be able to snooker … er help a lot of people and make some easy money in the bargain. I don’t know Ridgecracker very well but Thermadore and I go back a long way. 
We started out selling the famous Wonder Sucker vacuum cleaner door to door many years ago. We worked our way across California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Utah and a couple of other countries along the way. Thermadore’s heart never was really into selling dirt suckers door to door. I was a salesman, Thermadore was a grafter or grifter as they are sometimes called. A salesman believes in his heart of hearts that he is delivering goods at a fair market price. A grafter just loves the art of the scam. A salesman sells on the theory of fear and benefits. If you don’t buy our vacuum your carpet will be dirty and your kids will get head lice but if you do, your carpet will last longer and your mother-in-law won’t have as much to complain about: fear and benefits. Grifters on the other hand appeal to the greed in some people. For very little investment he promised great returns; something for nothing and that’s usually what they got. Nothing! Our motives were different but the techniques we employed were pretty much the same. Thermadore was never satisfied with just selling door to door. Quite often as he was driving around a neighborhood and saw a dog dozing on the lawn or front porch he would rescue the dog, wait several days, then drive through the neighborhood again looking for missing dog posters. If he didn’t find one he would drop off the dog where he found it. He did have a few scrupples. If he found a poster for poor little missing Poopsie with a reward offered he’d call the number and say “Hey, I think I found your dog. What did you say the reward was? Thermadore has never been rabid in regards to moral hygiene. Eventually we went our separate ways and for a while he sold an ointment for relief of hyperesthesia of the lower lumbar to little old ladies working in their gardens, but even then he wasn’t satisfied. He took a shot at being a traveling evangelist but retired after spending a month in the slammer in Wynnewood, Oklahoma for dipping into the collection jar for widows and orphans at a local church. This is when he got the idea to go into the legal profession. How the hell he passed the bar exam I have no idea.
Portuguese Pirate:
Probably the same way Ridgecracker passed his. For 200 bucks my uncle Heraldo in the Azores will make you any kind of document you need. For another twenty bucks he will emboss it in gold — very impressive. Now that you’re done impugning the character of my friends let’s cover a little Newcastle news. At the last fire board meeting the board voted to award Gabe Mendez the contract for filling the hole at the site of the new firehouse located right off the freeway next to Monroe Transmission. Over the years several different sites have been considered, but despite the fact that we have a heck of a hole to be filled, the location for our firehouse is about perfect. Gerald Saladana donated the ground with no strings attached. The project should be on its way soon. I have consulted with my psychic Madam Kahli and asked her to peer into the future to see when the firehouse would be finished. She got a glazed faraway look on her face and said “I see. … I see. … some members of the fire board at True Value trying to order a gold plated shovel for the ribbon cutting.” I asked her again when the firehouse would be done. She pulled the cigar out of her mouth and said; “Do I look like a psychic to you? How the hell would I know?” I understand Gabe Mendez has been down in the hole to start planning the operation and found an encampment with a stack of Birdwatchers Monthly and a case of sunflower seeds. Kind of odd.
One more thing. Jerry Kopp of Uptown Signs has quit smoking but he has taken to following Sally Dalley, AKA The Butt Lady around with a handful of rolling papers begging Sally to give a few butts with tobacco left in them. The whole experience has so unnerved poor Sally that she is treating to have a tee shirt printed that says ‘Newcastle’s Butt Patrol’ and moving her operation from Auburn to Newcastle.
See you Saturday on the radio at 10 a.m. on The Voice of the Foothills, AM 950 KAHI.