Can they crack the impossible case on time?
by Solon Papageorgiou

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11
Part 12
Part 13
Part 14
Part 15
Part 16
Part 17
Part 18


Part 1

[An airplane takes off from Lhasa Gonggar, Tibet.]

Scene: the stewardess looks at Solon.

The stewardess thinks, "I hope I'll keep quiet. He looks so tired."

[The stewardess takes the food from Solon's tray.]

Scene: Meeting the con man.

[Place: Capital of Alaska, Juneau, around midnight. A kung fu monk is shivering outside the airport, wearing shorts and a T-shirt.]

Another traveler asks him, "Aren't you cold?"

Kungfu master: "Yes."

Traveler: "Why aren't you wearing winter clothes?"

Kung fu master: "I don't have any. I thought it was hot in Algeria this time of year. I only brought summer clothes."

Traveler: "Man, we're not in Algeria, we're in Alaska, and it's freezing here this time of year!"

Kung Fu Master: "Oh, no, I shouldn't have drunk that extra bottle of vodka. I bought a ticket at the Tibetan airport for Alaska instead of Algeria. I said, 'Give me a ticket for Al, Al,' and the clerk said, 'Alaska?' And I said yes. I got on the plane and passed out from the alcohol during the flight. I didn't know I was about to fly here. The loudspeakers were calling Alaska in the airport off and on, and often, I saw Alaska written on walls and advertisements, but I thought Alaska was Algeria in Algerian. Thanks for noticing!"

Traveler: "Oh, well, everyone makes mistakes. You're from Tibet?"

Kung fu master: "Yes. And you?"

Traveler: "Zimbabwe. Are you drunk now?"

Kung fu master: "No."

Traveler: "Well, drinking is bad for you, but maybe you should get drunk to get warmer."

Kung Fu Master: "Hmm, most people tell me not to drink, but I see your point! I should make an exception. How smart of you to think that! And how kind of you. It's freezing, and my clothes aren't helping. Yes, then I'll drink these cans of beer."

Traveler: "Down them. You don't want to freeze to death!"

Kung fu master: "Just a minute."

[The kung fu master emptied the cans of beer very quickly.]

Traveler: "How fast you drank it! Few people can drink so much so fast!"

Kung fu master: "Yes, I can do that too. I feel warmer now."

Traveler: "And dizzy?"

Kung fu master: "Yes. So, from Zimbabwe? Nice. And what're you doing here?"

Traveler: "Business."

Kung fu master: "What kind of business?"

Traveler: "I help people realize the value of the things they've. It's a kind of 'discover yourself' business."

Kung-fu master: "Oh, now you've piqued my interest. It sounds like a pleasant profession. You help them realize they've valuable things in their lives and shouldn't want more?"

Traveler: "Yes."

Kung fu master: "What kind of things?"

Traveler: "Just things. They don't know what things. I help them with that."

Kung-fu master: "And how do you help them realize these things are valuable?"

Traveler: "It's a trade secret."

Kung-fu master: "Oh, yes. Trade secret. I know. You can't tell me that. Trade secrets! You can't tell because, who knows, maybe the people who find out will start a business or something and give you competition. You should keep an eye on the competition! And you've got to do some business in the capital?"

Traveler: "In the capital? No! I am based in the capital. I didn't come from abroad and planned to go to the capital. I live in the capital and am coming to the airport for work. My business is here; I find customers here."

Kung fu master: "You find your customers at the airport?"

Traveler: "Yes. They have the money, man! And then they return to their countries!"

Kung fu master: "Yes, I understand. An untapped market that others haven't thought of. How intelligent! And why does it make sense for them to return to their countries later?"

Traveler: "They won't sue me or anything. Eh, they won't take advantage of me or anything. They'll get their help, return to their countries, and leave me alone. I do such a good job that they ask me for more help. But my goal is to help many people, not just one or two. So, I keep my sessions short, about half an hour or so, to reach many people. They learn on the spot and then continue on their way. Airports help find clients like that."

Kung fu master: "I see what you mean! Yes, try to help a lot of people! Good! But you've to limit yourself, or you won't be able to get your message out to enough people. Help many rather than a few! Yeah! And can you manage to teach many things in just half an hour?"


Part 2

Traveler: "Yes. The sessions are brief but full of value. And what're you doing here?"


Kung fu master: "Vacation. I needed a break from my life. If I still enjoy traveling, maybe I'll do it more often."

[Because he thinks he should start traveling to help people.]

Traveler: "Have you traveled more frequently in the past?"

Kung Fu Master: "Yes, I've; I traveled abroad and settled there for a while. But I got stuck at my last destination and settled there for good."

Traveler: "Where do you live?"

Kung-fu master: "Tibet."

Traveler: "You look Caucasian, not Asian. You can't be from Tibet. Did your parents move there, and did you grow up there? Where are you from?"

Kung Fu Master: "I don't have parents; I'm an orphan. I'm not a Tibetan. I'm from Greece, but I moved to Tibet."

Traveler: "Why did you move to Tibet?"

Kung Fu Master: "To become a hermit, live in a Tibetan Forest, and practice Kung Fu."

Traveler: "And how do you make money to live? Don't you need any?"

Kung fu master: "I need some. I make clay figures and sell them."

Traveler: "Oh, nice. You've never been married, right?"

Kung Fu master: "Married but divorced. I've become a monk now. I've been doing that for ten years when I left my original, safe life in Greece to find myself in Tibet and learn kung fu."

Traveler: "Do you've bad luck with women?"

Kung Fu Master: "Yes."

Traveler: "This life has similarities with the messages I spread with my job."

Kung fu master: "Yes, you're right! You never know where you'll meet people who are like you. A kung fu expert I know told me that."

Traveler: "Kung fu expert? Your friend?"

Kung fu master: "Yes, a friend."

Traveler: "He's here with you?"

Kung fu master: "No. In Tibet. He's the one who helped me find my ultimate goal."

Traveler: "What's that?"

Kung Fu Master: "Well, traveling worldwide as a kung fu master, maintaining the monkish lifestyle, learning new things, and teaching others."

Traveler: "Well, everyone needs goals. Do you've many friends?"

Kung fu master: "Only a few."

Traveler: "You're here all alone?"

Kung fu master: "Yes."

Traveler: "Do you plan to stay in Alaska for a long time?"

Kung Fu Master: "Well, I'd stay in Alaska for a week. Then, I must meet a kung fu expert in Tibet to train kung fu for a few days. It's for the upcoming kung fu tournament. After training, the tournament will begin in a few days. I'm registered for the tournament. I've got to be there, too. Things are a little mixed up because I ended up in Alaska. Now that I think about it, I plan to book a flight to Algeria and leave Alaska as soon as possible. I'm planning to treat myself to a sunny vacation in Algeria. I need a break from training, a sunny change for a while. It's so cold in Tibet. The vacation will help me recharge my batteries. Also, I've booked a hotel that can't be refunded, so I'd better use it. So, in Alaska, no. And in Alaska, it's as cold as in Tibet. No, not in Alaska."

Traveler: "OK. Are these kung fu things real? You know these things?"

Kung fu master: "Yes! They call me a master! The highest ranks are mine! I'm pretty skilled at it."

Traveler: "Scary!"

Kung fu master: "Scary? That's for defense. And for self-discipline and things like that. Look. I wouldn't beat you up or anything. If you tried to hurt me, I'd react. But you? You're kind; you care about others and try to help!"

Traveler: "Ah, yes, yes, of course. Are you still dizzy?"

Kung fu master: "No, not anymore."

Traveler: "All right. I'm done anyway. I must leave now, find customers, make calls, and get on with my business. Thank you for talking to me."

Kung fu master: "You're welcome. Take care!"

Kung Fu Master: "Bye!"

Solon thinks, "Self-discipline and drinking? Drinking gets in the way and makes my monk life harder. I try to stop, but it isn't easy. My previous life in Greece became increasingly difficult, and I gave in to the promise of drinking. That was one reason I chose my new life as a monk. To find better ways to cope with life. And I learned all that and much more in this new life. But that demon is still inside me. Since I started my monastic life, I've been trying to stop, but I haven't. Addictions are tough."


Part 3

[The con man gained Solon's trust, learned of his victim, manipulated him, and stole his passport to sell it and his money.]


[Solon is with the ticket seller.]

Solon: "I want a ticket to Algeria."

Ticket inspector: "Your passport, please."

[Solon tries to find his passport.]

Solon: "I don't have any documents; someone stole them from me."

[The ticket inspector points her finger in one direction.]

Ticket inspector: "Walk straight ahead, two rooms down, then turn left; that's the airport police office."

Afterward, Solon walks over and knocks on the door. A policeman opens the door, and Solon enters. Solon explains the situation.]

Police officer: "You've to go to an authority outside the airport to get a new passport, and in the meantime, you can live in a homeless shelter. If you were luckier, your drunkenness would be noticed, and you wouldn't be allowed to fly. Or if you didn't have U.S. citizenship, you'd need a visa and wouldn't be allowed to fly without it."

Solon: "My mother is from the US, so I have US and Greek citizenship."

Police officer: "It takes two weeks to get a new passport."

Solon: "I've to be back in Tibet in a week to train with the kung fu expert for the upcoming kung fu tournament and to participate in it. I can't spend two weeks in Alaska! I'm stuck in an unknown place; I'm homeless. I don't have the money to go to the agency and the homeless shelters in order to get another ticket. I also have a limited support network that can't send me money to Alaska. My only friends in Tibet are impoverished. And I don't have any documents to get money through a service like Money Gram."

[Solon sits on the bench at the airport police station, wondering what to do. Another police officer approaches him.]

Police officer: "My colleagues talked to me about you. Come to my office."

[Another police officer is there. They talk for a couple of hours. The police officer asks Solon questions to learn more about him.]

Police officer: "Solon, I think you're a good match for what I want you to do. Wait outside the office for a while. I'll call you later."

[The police officer asks the other police officer what he thinks.]

"I'm not sure Solon can do it. I think he is a nice guy who can be trusted and in a lot of trouble, but he can't do it."

Police officer: "Solon has these two bachelor's degrees, is intelligent, and was a monk for ten years. He can take the abuse on the sidewalk and the cold."

The other police officer: "Solon seems naive and disoriented; he spent ten years in a hut in a Tibetan Forest."

Police officer: "He wasn't completely cut off from society; he'd friends in a nearby monastery and visited the village. This naivety isn't ideal, but on the other hand, it's an advantage. The con man trusts Solon and will continue to trust him."

The other policeman: "I don't like Solon being an alcoholic."

Police officer: "Drinking is a liability, no question about it. I have an idea about drinking. Solon can do it. We've to take a chance. We may have no other way to catch the criminal."

[The policeman invites Solon in. The policeman looks incredibly stressed at this point.]

Solon: "Why are you like this?"

Policeman: "My job is very stressful."

Solon: "I can teach you a few things to deal with it."

[The policeman hesitates.]

Solon: "It won't take long."

[The other policeman coughs. He scratches his hair. The other policeman tries to tell the policeman to accept. To gain Solon's trust.]

[Solon teaches police officer relaxation techniques.]

[When they're done, the policeman tells Solon he can help him.]

Policeman: "I'm an FBI special agent. My specialty is identity theft."

Police Officer: "Solon, I've identified the suspect from your story and am about to arrest him. I hope that through him, I can also arrest his gang members."

(Note: In the end, it'll turn out to be a store of Nigerians running email scams.)

"But I need a decoy. Someone the suspect knows. So, if you agree to be the bait, we'll cancel the passport and issue a replacement one very quickly. If we blow the whistle on the gang, we might get the original passport back. You can return to Tibet, train with the kung fu expert, and participate in the tournament. Also, you'll get some money for all expenses incurred and a brand-new ticket."

Solon: "Why me as bait?"

Police Officer: "Because other victims don't want to be the bait, they're unsuitable or unavailable."


Part 4

(Solon can get the job done and is in a tough spot, too.)


Solon: "Is it dangerous?"

Policeman: "We will make it as safe as possible."

Solon: "I'll take you up on that offer. Why has the airport police not caught the criminal yet?"

Police officer: "That's complicated."

Solon: "But why the airport? It has police."

Police officer: "Maybe the criminal wanted to take a risk; maybe the possibility of being caught gives him pleasure. Who knows? Now get out of here. I'll let you know when you come back to the office."

[Solon leaves the office.]

[Police officer discusses details of his plan with the other police officer.]

Police officer: "It's done. No holes."

[Police officer opens the office door and invites Solon in. Solon enters the office.]

[In the police office, the secret agent and Solon have talked for some time.]

Police officer: "No food. No bath. You cannot brush your teeth. And no, you have to wear the same clothes."

Police officer: "It has to happen tonight." 

[Another police officer enters the room. He asks the police officer to join him in his office. In the other police officer's office.]

The other police officer: "He is already there. We have received another anonymous tip. I bet he's from a rival gang. Maybe they are in the same business and competing. He'll be there again tonight."

[Police officer whispers to the other police officer.]

Police officer: "Excellent. Maybe, this time, we will catch this phantom guy. I am tired of him showing up all over the U.S. stealing people's IDs."

Police officer: "Maybe we will catch him this time. But we must move fast. He's been working at the port and near the banks in Juneau. Places where people carry money and identification papers. I think he's going to leave town soon. He does not hit the same place twice and runs out of convenient places. He strikes once in one place, making it more difficult for us to catch him. Following that pattern, he could show up again in Juneau months or years from now. We do not have enough resources to monitor all the possible places he shows up in the States. He knows that."

Another police officer: "He's skilled at covering his tracks. Fortunately, he's not proficient at making up stories to fool people. He keeps telling stories with similar elements. If his stories were unique, we could not identify him as one person. The clues in his stories show that he is one person."

Police officer: "This guy is wise; he knows how to hide them. Amazingly, we did not spot his face on the surveillance cameras. He's calculating how to avoid it. But we got a photo of his face and body yesterday when he was there. Some young people took pictures with their cell phones. It's like the sketches we made of the victims. It's a pity that they are useless. Since there is no straightforward evidence, we must break him and force a confession or find straightforward evidence. I doubt he is carrying it around. Our best bet is to find out where he's hiding. And we cannot just get him. I want to bust the rest of the gang. And he prefers brains to guns. He likes to trick his victims, distract them, steal from them, and disappear safely without them noticing. By the time his victims see through the theft, he is far away. Firearms can cause victims to panic or be discovered by neighbors. The noise it creates can lead to his arrest.

Another police officer: "Let us see if we can find anything about him in the databases now that we have his photo."

The other police officer: "A photo is better. Even harmless victims can give unreliable descriptions, unreliable facial features."

Police officer: "Matching the suspect's sketch images with the databases turned up nothing."

The other police officer: "Because of the low accuracy of these tools."

Police officer: "At least they looked kind of similar."

The other police officer: "Maybe he's picking unreliable victims."

Police officer: "Possible. They look like victims, usually vulnerable or in dangerous situations."

The other police officer: "Of course, we know the build now. Very specific."

Police officer: "We got that from the surveillance cameras. But his face is always out of focus."

The other police officer: "Of course, you will also add the search term for the build."

Police officer: "Yes, of course. That, alone or with the sketches, has somewhat narrowed down the data set. You can do better with the facial features."

The other police officer: "He did not think to use a separate story for each victim."


Part 5

Police officer: "They all make mistakes. Obviously, he thought he was so smart that he didn't have to do it, or it was too difficult, and he could not do it. The similarities between these stories are subtle. Maybe, he thought, they wouldn't matter."


[The other police officer drinks a coffee.]

The other police officer: "What if he doesn't show up tomorrow?"

Police officer: "Let's hope he does. The previous tip said he would stay in town for a few days. I still can't figure out where he lives. We always lose him when he leaves the building. We got the tip yesterday, so if the tip is correct, he'll still be here tomorrow. He's shown up every day since we received the first tip. I wish I'd gotten tips like this earlier. But I'm under no illusion that I'll keep getting them."

Another cop: "I bet he does some business there. I didn't understand why we didn't investigate the place."

Policeman: "Maybe he does. But right now, it's too risky. They might find out we're after them, and they'll flee town. The Japanese tourists say he's just talking to the bartender."

Another police officer: "Are you sure we'll catch his partners?"

Police officer: "I hope so. Unless the tips are wrong and he's no partner. We could've interrogated him if we knew that he had no partners. That's not ideal, of course. But we want the big fish, and we want them all. If we get him, maybe he won't give them away. But I can't figure out if he's doing it alone or if he's any partners."

Another police officer: "And could they be part of a larger criminal organization?"

Police officer: "They must've connections to other gangs. If it's not a big gang, they must find customers for the documents somewhere."

Another police officer: "And corrupt public figures might also be involved in this process?"

Police officer: "Who knows? Maybe. There's an interest in finding out how far this thing has gone. And getting to the bottom of it."

Another police officer: "Do you think the fraudster will lead us to his gang?"

Police officer: "I hope so."

[The policeman returns to his office.]

Policeman: "Remember. Drink, but not too much."

[Policeman and Solon continue talking.]

Policeman: "You're going to sleep on the sidewalk."

Solon: "No wires?"

Police officer: "No."

[The police will be watching the bar. Also, they don't want to tell Solon too many details, fearing they might slip his mind while talking to the Nigerian con man. So they avoid telling him too much, fearing that he might blow the mission.]

Police officer: "Don't attract much attention. Don't look suspicious. Please don't say anything about your mission or our deal. Don't speak much. Only what's necessary. Provide as few details about yourself and the theft as possible. Avoid saying you lost your passport, but mention your documents. If he changes the subject, come back to it."

Solon: "What if it doesn't work?"

Police officer: "If he denies or doesn't like it, or if things seem to be getting sloppy or crooked, say you've changed your mind, end the conversation, wait a while, look depressed, tell him goodbye, and then just leave."

[Police officer and Solon continue talking.]

Police officer: "Okay, again. If you wake up early, pretend to go back to sleep. Late noon, you get up. Have a couple of beers. Go inside. Make your move. Wait. He'll come. Pretend to look around, pretending to find him. If he's not there, wait somewhere until he shows up. He'll go to the bartender, and they'll talk. Get straight to him."

[Police officer and Solon continue talking.]

Police officer: "Don't blow it. I expect you to do an excellent job, or the deal ends. We'll be watching you."

[Policeman continues talking.]


Part 6

Scene: Solon is in the bar. He sees the Nigerian con man.


[Japanese tourists are sitting there.]

[Nigerian con man arrives at the bar.]

Nigerian con man: "Jack, hi. Please get me a double vodka. Add some lemonade."

Bartender: "Vodka again, Jim? You always drink vodka."

Nigerian con man: "What can I say? I like it."

Bartender: "You've some lipstick on your lips. Did some chick kiss you?"

Nigerian con man: "Yeah, man. It happens all the time. I have a lot of success with the girls; I find them everywhere I go."

[Solon walks up to the Nigerian con man.]

Solon: "Hello. Remember me?"

Nigerian con man: "Shit! What're you doing here? How did you find me?"

Solon: "I was nearby and saw you leave the bar. I don't have anyone here who can help me. I lost my papers and my money. I'm stuck here. I can't go back home. Without ID, I'm stuck here; no one can send me money."

Nigerian con man: "Where did you lose them?"

Solon: "I don't know. My wallet must've fallen off, out of my pants pocket in my shorts. I'd my money in there. My passport was in the wallet too. I looked everywhere, but I didn't find it."

Nigerian con man: "Did you talk to anyone?"

Solon: "Well, no. I was very excited at that point. I thought I'd drink some beer to clear my head and figure out what to do, and then I was drunk. I started wandering and running until I reached the city."

Nigerian con man: "You walked all the way here? Drunk? How far was it? 15 km?"

Solon: "I walk a lot. I managed to run even though I was drunk. I saw some street signs in downtown Juneau. Then I kept running, running, and drinking more. I found the bars. I could trade some beers for wine."

Bartender: "Yeah, that would work!"

Solon: "Then I saw you leave the bar. Then I drank some more. I was very confused by that. I went to say hello, but you were already gone. I entered the bar, but the bartender approached me and asked me to leave. Then I got tired, went to a nearby alley, rested, and fell asleep. When I woke up at noon, I'd another drink. Then I entered the bar. I thought you'd visit again. I waited and saw you come in and go straight to the bar. You're a good person, can you help me? I don't know anyone else here."

The Nigerian con man thinks, "The breath still smells. Dirty clothes, smelly."

Nigerian con man: "Have you been here long?"

Solon: "I've been here for half an hour."

Nigerian con man: "Have you talked to anyone?"

Solon: "No."

Nigerian con man: "Where have you been sitting?"

Solon: "There, on the sofa."

[Nigerian con man looks at the barman.]

Nigerian con man: "Jack, did you see him?"

[Barman cleans glasses and listens to them. The barman looks at Solon and the Nigerian con man.]

Barman: "Yeah, he was sitting on the sofa. That drunken son of a bitch came into the bar last night after you left, and I kicked him out. I told him to come back sober! I asked him why he was wearing summer clothes. He mumbled some nonsense. He was sleeping on a nearby sidewalk. Today, he came back sober. He smelled bad, but if they're sober, I don't care. I decided to let him stay. Then he asked me to do something, and I'd pay him, but I said I don't hire drunks! He watched TV. Then he sat down on the sofa. Do you know that drunk? He's telling the truth about where he is. Is he out of town? Isn't he? Like you, Jim? I bet he's lying about losing his stuff. He wants money to drink. These drunks can make up any story to find money to drink. Friendly advice. I'll tell you, buddy."

Nigerian con man: "Forget it."

[Japanese tourists look at Nigerian con man.]

Japanese tourists: "Excuse me, sir, can you take our picture?"

Nigerian con man: "Ah, hello, you again. Have you come from China for a vacation?"

Japanese tourist: "Ah, ha, ha. We're not China. We're Japan!"

Nigerian con man: "Sayonara!"

Japanese tourists: "Ah, ha, ha! No sayonara! Sayonara goodbye. Konnichiwa hello!"

Nigerian con man: "'Kon' what? Do you like your vacation?"

Japanese tourist: "Vacation, yes! Good! Good! Are you taking pictures of us? Here, smartphone!"

Nigerian con man: "Of course. I'm going to take a picture of you guys. Here you go. Now then, Sayonara. Enjoy your milk."

Japanese tourists: "Sayonara, sir! Thanks for taking pictures!"

Solon: "Your name is Jim?

Nigerian con man: "Yes, Jim. Jimmy to you. And you're?"

Solon: "Solon."

Nigerian con man: "Nice to meet you, Solon. So, 'Solon' on your T-shirt is your name."

[Nigerian con man shakes Solon's hand and hugs him.]

Nigerian con man: "You poor thing, Solon. Oh, you sure have a lot of muscles."


Part 7

[Nigerian con man touches Solon here and there.]


Nigerian con man thinks, "I cannot feel anything. He's not wired."

Nigerian con man thinks, "Damn, this town is tiny. Who would have thought I would meet this jerk again? Wait, how can I check his backpack?"

"Nigerian con man: "And what should I do?"

Solon: "Give me some money. I am out of beer. I need to drink to feel better and figure out what to do now. Also, I need a hotel to sleep in tonight. I also need to eat something. I have not eaten since yesterday on the plane."

Bartender: "Yeah, I knew he needed money to drink."

Nigerian con man: "Come here."

[Nigerian con man points to a place where no other people exist. They go there.]

Nigerian con man: "How much do you want?"

Solon: "One hundred dollars."

Nigerian con man: "Listen, man. That's a lot of money. I am not rich. You have to give me something back."

Solon: "I have my backpack."

Nigerian con man: "It looks empty. Is there anything in it?"

Solon: "Some summer clothes. They are a little dirty. I put them on at night to protect myself from the cold. They got dirty. And there's also an empty can of beer out of the 20 I bought at the airport. Do you want to buy them all?"

Nigerian con man: "Let me see."

[Nigerian con man checks the backpack]

Nigerian con man thinks, "He's clean."

Nigerian con man: "Man, I am not giving you $100 for some dirty clothes and a ratty, torn, old backpack. And what am I supposed to do with that can? Recycle it? And wash the dirty clothes? Sorry. I am good, but I cannot give you the money. I have a lot of responsibilities and a lot of expenses. I'll miss that $100. I am sorry. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go."

Solon: "Wait! I have something valuable to give you."

Nigerian con man: "And what is that?"

Solon: "I have written a text. My monk friends say it is worth thousands of dollars. I will give it to you in exchange for the $100."

[The Nigerian con man speaks softer, coming closer to Solon.]

Nigerian con man: "Where do you keep this text?"

Solon: "I have it stored somewhere online. I'll give you the details."

Nigerian con man: "Alright, let us proceed. We will do this at my house, and I'll give you the $100."

Solon: "I can tell you here."

Nigerian con man thinks, "The walls have ears. I cannot lose this. The most appropriate place to do this is in the trailer. Besides, what if he gives me incorrect information or if I misremember what he said? What if I need his help to download the document? The smart thing to do is to take him with me."

Nigerian con man: "Oh, come on, Solon. Let's go to my house. You can rest and eat something there. It's warm there. You have been through so much. We will do it there."

Solon: "OK, Jim. That's fine."

Nigerian con man: "Are you strong enough to walk? My car is far away. I parked it far away to do business with a customer. When I finished, and he left, I felt like walking and coming here to drink with Jack, the bartender. The walk lasts two hours through the woods. A support session in nature. The guy I met at the airport wanted the extra. I charge double for that."

Solon: "I think I can make that work."

Nigerian con man: "OK, great. If you need help on the way to walking, I will help you. Let us get out of here."

[Nigerian con man walks to the bar, pays the bartender, and says goodbye.]

Nigerian con man: "Oh, yes. Here are your ten dollars."

[Nigerian con man takes the empty glass with the drinking straw and puts it in the inside pocket of his jacket.]

Jack: "What's so fascinating about collecting empty glasses? Are they not all the same?"

Nigerian con man: "They have sentimental value. They remind me of my travels."

Jack: "I do not even take pictures of my vacations! It's your money!"

[They leave the bar.]

[A policeman and another policeman stand outside.]

The other cop: "OK. They are gone. We should follow them. He's not alone this time! Maybe we will not lose him."

Policeman: " No, no. I wouldn't say I like this. He will trick us again. Besides, it's riskier. We will do what we said we would do."


Part 8


(In the end, the police discover that the email scam store is a trailer where three scammers move around the country doing business from laptops with paid cell phone internet. This made it difficult to track them down and catch them. The trailer was found somewhere in the country with Solon, the Nigerian con man, and his two partners. At some point, Solon and the Nigerian con man left the bar and walked for a few hours. They went into the woods. They continued walking until they found the car. They got into the Nigerian con man's car and drove to the trailer. In the trailer, Solon gave the Nigerian con man the information, and the Nigerian con man downloaded the document. Then, the Nigerian con man drove Solon back to the city. The Nigerian con man went away. Solon met the policeman somewhere. The police officers got into their cars with Solon. Solon led them to the trailer. Police entered the trailer and caught the two partners sending scam emails.)

Scene: A policeman and another policeman are in a police office.

The other policeman: "Has he broken?"

Policeman: "No. He's good. He didn't say anything of interest. And nothing that made sense. He kept repeating, 'What man, do I look like that man?', 'I'm not a prince, I wish!' We found no evidence in the trailer, car, or on them. Nothing useful. He said his name was Jim. That might be useful. But I doubt that's his real name. He also told the bartender his name was Jim. I doubt he tells people his real name. By the way, we checked him out. The bartender is innocent. He also said he was from Zimbabwe. That's what he told Solon, too. We don't know if that's true. I bet it's another lie to mislead us. In his other stories, he's from Kenya or Cameroon. At least, that's what we're going to find out. It's only time before we find out where his accent comes from. A colleague will inform me about that."

Another police officer: "So, we only have that, the photo, the sketches, and the less useful info. How does he manage to lie under such conditions? Surely his partners didn't talk either?"

Police officer: "No. They're just friends traveling around."

The other police officer: "Damn."

Police officer: "They have a lot of fun traveling around with fake IDs they make from those of honest owners!"

The other police officer: "Have you found anything in the databases yet?"

Police officer: "No, not yet. We're hoping he's been caught committing a crime in the past. We want to find out his dirty connections. But with only one photo, one height, one stature, and insignificant information, it's prolonged going. The sketches didn't help. They can't help. Once we find the country of origin, the results will be less. It'll be faster. As we find more clues, the result set will narrow. If we find THE CLUE, we'll hit the jackpot."

The other police officer: "Them?"

Police officer: "Nothing about them yet. They're full of lies, too."

Police officer: "But there's better news. Solon remembered the password to the scammer's laptop in the trailer. So, we'd better luck with his computer. We got into his computer. We're already examining his hard drive. There's got to be something there."

[Another police officer rings the doorbell.]

Cop: "Yeah?"

Another cop: "E-mail scum. We've..." "

Policeman: "That's why he kept repeating he wasn't the man, the prince! Sorry to interrupt, tell me."

Another policeman: "Yes, that's what I was told. That and the clues in his PC make us believe they're doing email scum. No useful files. We're still searching in the hard drive but have had no luck. They seem to operate exclusively online. Disabled history in its browsers. He doesn't have set autocomplete for the fields. So, no usernames. No saved passwords. But he's bookmarked websites. Those give away quite a few things. Various websites they might use for their business. A few suspicious bookmarks provide context. He didn't think to delete them. The guy is a fan of the movie about the man who lost his patent to scammers. There are a few other stories he tells, too. So, we assume it. But no IP; he's been taking steps to mask it. I think he also had been regularly changing his masked and real IPs. He masked his location and changed it as well. All his online activities are masked. I've seen his tools."

Police officer: "I understand. What you found is too little."


Part 9

Another cop: "Yeah, well, no luck here. He's not a regular guy."


Policeman: "Indeed, he's not! Then get the data from his accounts!"

Another police officer: "This is a bit complicated. I'll explain it to you. We need usernames or IPs that aren't masked. If he used a static IP and wasn't masked, we can ask the websites and get his usernames. If his dynamic IP wasn't masked and hasn't changed since the last time he used his computer, we could get his usernames again, possibly not all of them. We could probably find his previous IPs and get his usernames, even if it's changed. Dynamic IPs can be reassigned to others, but we'll recognize the common usernames. But his IPs are masked. His masked IP isn't good. Tens of thousands of people use it. We'll get a lot of usernames. We'll be unable to find out which of them belongs to him. I see other fake IPs that he could've used. If we use all the fake IPs, we'll get more usernames, but we can find the common usernames in all those IPs and narrow down the list. Or the list might be more extensive. But this is a gamble. It's not sure. And it takes time. Websites can give us data on individual IPs, but we'll have a sea of data. If only they weren't masked. If the IPs weren't masked, we'd get data from others, too, but we'd be more likely to find his.

And his search engine history could be fascinating. If we had his usernames, the websites would give us all his data, and we'd know it was his. We wouldn't get all the data with the IPs; not all of it would be his, as with the usernames. But the IPs give us the search engine history. The ISP can't give us his browsing history. He connects through the mobile network and pays as you go. And we don't know his number.

Without usernames and IPs, we can't get data from the sites. But the paperwork and subpoenas can take time. To speed things up, we could try hacking his accounts simultaneously. And then there's the problem of virtually nonexistent evidence. To get around warrants, we need proof that this man is connected to terrorist acts. We don't even know that. Maybe he's selling IDs to fugitives who don't want to go to jail because of their debts. I don't know.

To get warrants, we still need evidence. Without evidence, the judge won't help us. Still, it's to be something big. We'd have to worry about the hacks not getting out to the public. Big websites wouldn't be happy if they discovered we hacked their servers. Hacking could also take time. You said we don't have time to waste. Attacking the websites could take less time than waiting for them to release data to us, but it's also possible to take longer. So we want to do both to get data faster. But they've to be big, and we need evidence. So we need usernames for the hacking and usernames or real IPs for the subpoenas. The masked IPs aren't very helpful.

How are you going to get their usernames? Pretty crazy, even you can't do that. The fastest way is to get their usernames and passwords, which is even crazier. After all, you've them in custody. I don't see how they could change their usernames."

Another cop: "You're shaking. Take a break. You need to relax."

Police officer: "We need to find out who this guy is. We need to look at his background and the people he knows. But we're running out of time. Yeah, we're running out of time. We can't hold him forever without reason. Thanks for the call. Not exactly useful, but thanks. Too much info on IPs and stuff I don't need. We're in a hurry. Sometimes you can tell me more about these interesting things."

Police officer: "Wait, anything about identifications?"

Another police officer: "No, buddy. I'm sorry. Maybe we'll get lucky, but I don't think that will happen. We've already checked the suspicious folders. Other than that, I installed the Trojan and the virus on his PC. His antivirus program didn't complain."


Part 10

Police Officer: "Yes. OK, thank you. Bye."


Another police officer: "How long did you say you have?"

Police officer: "Less than 24 hours."

Another police officer: "Yes, that's too little. OK, Bye."

Policeman: "Bye."

[Cop hangs up the phone and returns to the other cop.]

The other cop: "You emptied another pack of cigarettes? What about what you said? You forgot you said he might be training terrorists...?"

Police officer: "Or other high-ranking criminals? I remember, but I can't convince anyone just because I've thought of something." 

Another police officer: "It would be easier if we just caught them in action."

Scene: The Nigerian con man sits on the bench looking sad and tired.]

(Note: Solon confronts the traveling Nigerian con man.)

Solon: "You look tired."

Nigerian con man: "Man, they kept me awake for two days."

Solon: "You gave your testimony? I was exhausted the other days too. Luckily, I managed to get some sleep. Do you know what it's like to sleep on the sidewalk? My bones still hurt. That wasn't sleep. It was torture. And the cold, so cold. I need to drink a little."

[Solon retrieves a bottle of vodka from his backpack.]

Nigerian con man: "Give me that!"

Solon: "I don't think it'll do you any good. You're already in bad shape."

"Why don't you get some sleep, Jimmy?"

Nigerian con man: "Give me that! It'll calm me down!"

[Nigerian con man grabs Solon's vodka bottle and empties it.]

Nigerian con man: "Man, my name isn't Jim. I lied. My name is Abadom. I can't sleep. They told me to wait here. They'll come soon. I tried to get some sleep, but I couldn't."

Solon: "OK."

Solon: "I like the way it sounds. What does it mean?"

Nigerian con man: "It means 'ask not to be chastised' in Nigerian."

Solon: "That sounds like a reference to your life."

Nigerian con man: "It is. It's not my original name. I changed it."

Solon: "Why did you change it?"

Nigerian con man: "It symbolizes my change in life."

Solon: "You became a criminal?"

Nigerian con man: "Also. I started to find myself. Before, I'd only scratched the surface. I discovered I was quite intelligent. I'd talents. I embraced them. I cultivated them. I took care of myself. Both my body and my mind. Finally, I began to like myself."

Solon: "That means a plea not to be judged?"

Nigerian con man: "Well, yes. To not be punished."

Solon: "And what's your original name?"

Nigerian con man: "Olusola. It means 'God has blessed me."

Solon: "I think it's wonderful."

Nigerian con man: "God has blessed me. I love God. God is better than people. You love God. We have that in common."

Solon: "Not quite."

Nigerian con man: "What do you mean? Don't tell me you're an atheist."

Solon: "I think I'm. Look, in Buddhism, there's no God. But yes, I don't believe in the eternal soul. There's the soul in Buddhism, just like in the Abrahamic religions, but the belief is different. Are you a Christian or a Muslim? I don't believe in the soul or other supernatural things."

Nigerian con man: "A Christian. What kind of monk are you? You aren't religious?"

Solon: "I'm like a monk but without supernatural belief."

Nigerian con man: "An alcoholic monk, without religion. Are there more of them?"

Solon: "Kind of. So, you're not from Zimbabwe?"

Nigerian con man: "No."

Solon: "So, lots of lies."

Nigerian con man: "Look who's talking. You're full of contradictions. And I trusted you, man."

Solon: "Contradictions aren't lies. Look, I didn't want to trick anybody. But that's the way it turned out. I was a prisoner, more like a hostage. And you, you weren't exactly a saint. Do you know how scared I was during all this?" 

Nigerian con man: "It's just business, man."


Part 11

Solon: "Why did you choose the way of the outlaw?"


Nigerian con man: "I didn't choose it, man! It chose me. Do you know what it's like to be broke and have no money to pay the bills and eat?"

Solon: "You were desperate to make money and chose crime?"

Nigerian con man: "I was in Nigeria, in a village, working on a farm, picking fruit off the trees, and so on. Do you know how much I was paid? Little, little. They pay very poorly. The little money I earned, I donated to the family house. Nine people in a tiny space in a tiny house. I'd no prospect of a better future."

Solon: "Couldn't you find a better job?"

Nigerian con man: "There are few job opportunities in Nigeria, and I'd no education. Who'd hire me for a better job? Good luck with that! I couldn't find a better job. Poverty sucks! You can't get away! You get a lot of money from crime. One person I knew had as much money as he wanted. It was no secret that he was a criminal. One day, he saw me depressed. He bought me pizzas and beer and told me he could help me. He gave me money. He said they needed an extra grifter. The money was good. I was fed up with this life. All these rich kids driving expensive cars, living in luxurious houses, and me nothing? Am I supposed to starve? After a while, I accepted."

Solon: "Crime doesn't pay. They caught you and put you in jail."

Nigerian con man: "Not if you're smart!"

Solon: "But they caught you!"

Nigerian con man: "Yeah, but it won't happen again. Sometimes crap happens, but it won't always be like this. Besides, let's see if they'll press charges. If they do, I'll be in jail for a while, but I've been in jail before, I don't like it, but I've gotten used to it. You survive and learn new things if you're tough and smart. Or I'll get bail. And then maybe at the trial, I'll get off and be free as a bird."

Solon: "You look so stressed. I can see you don't like jail. You'll change your mind. When this is over, they'll catch you again."

Nigerian con man: "No."

Solon: "How did you end up in Alaska?"

Nigerian con man: "Alaska is just another stop in our lives. We moved to another state in the United States. It's a beautiful country."

Solon: "And now that you're here, why don't you leave this life and start right? The opportunities are better here, aren't they? You're so smart. You can make it. You'll like the simple life. It's less complicated, and you'll have fewer worries. The criminal life is hard."

Nigerian con man: "I'm in deep shit, man. The people I know don't want me to leave and go straight. They think I might turn them on. The cops might harass me, too. And I have a criminal record and no legal jobs in the past. Who'd hire me? But I have a normal life."

Nigerian con man: "It's nearly impossible to get away. You know what? I know we're opposites, but I've also noticed similarities. We could be a successful team. I think you could be a reliable ally."

Solon: "Stealing passports?"

Nigerian con man: "To commit email fraud. That's the main line of business. Who knows? You might like it. It's a lot of fun. Very safe."

Solon: "I get a lot of those scam emails."

Nigerian con man: "Maybe you got one of mine, too. That's the fun part. I'm the blackmailed, dethroned prince, the diplomat's widow, the corrupt judge, and the beauty who fell in love with the sucker. I like that."

Solon: "And don't you care that you're stealing from all these people?"

Nigerian con man: "They deserve it! They're greedy! They want it!"

Solon: "But you want it easy too!"

Nigerian con man: "I've no choice!"

Solon: "Don't say that!"

Nigerian con man: "They're mean. I don't want them."

Solon: "You do both email scams and steal passports?"

Nigerian con man: "The email scams are safe. They won't catch you. Sometimes I need the thrill of outsmarting the cops. That's why I do jobs like this."

Solon: "You didn't."

Nigerian con man: "That was bad luck. This time it happened. It's like a bottle of wine. Every time you do a job, you drink a little of it. When it's almost empty, you're out of luck and should be careful not to get caught. If you outsmart luck at that point, the bottle fills up again."


Part 12

Solon: "That's not how probability works. Every time you do something, the chance starts all over again. And the police are also very favored and clever. A lot of technology, a lot of cleverness. And they've probably been on your tail for a long time."


Nigerian con man: "So that's how probability works?"

Solon: "Yes."

Nigerian con man: "Man, I don't get you. You seem knowledgeable. I'd say almost wise but also naive! Have you always been like this, or has Tibet's hermit life twisted you? What nonsense! It just occurred to me that they didn't just instruct you well to get me. You did it well. You're smart. Oh, crap. I told you too much. You're going to be a witness at the trial! Luckily, there's no one around. Don't think I didn't plan this! I wouldn't have told you this if we weren't alone!"

[In the police office.]

Another police officer: "That's it!"

Police officer: "Well done, Solon! We got a confession!"

The other police officer: "Do we've it on tape? He also said his name! Name."

Police officer: "A new name. What a brilliant idea. Hide your past so people won't recognize you so easily. He also changed countries. Obviously, he was wanted there, and he wanted to go into hiding. Somewhere where no one knew him or his whereabouts. Solon also confessed. A non-religious monk. I don't think I've ever heard that before."

Police officer, "Solon is our hero! Who cares what his faith is or isn't? It doesn't make any difference now, anyway. We have the confession. I knew he wouldn't look for wires this time!"

The other cop: "Yes. But his confession isn't good enough. If we don't find evidence, he'll get out of here. There will never be a trial. The prosecutor won't press charges. He'll walk away. He will say he just said what he said because he wanted to impress his new friend or because lack of sleep and alcohol made him say things. His confession isn't sufficient for the federal courts. I was taught that in my first year of law school."

Police officer: "I don't know about the friend. But you're right. After all, you're not a rookie anymore."

Police officer: "We've 24 hours, that's it. We've already used up the two days. The extra day is just a bonus."

Another police officer: "Because it's a serious crime."

Police officer: "Because of that, yes."

The other cop: "Couldn't you just interrogate him for a day?"

Police officer: "I'd to see if he'd give in. Besides, I wanted to tire him out. A day was nothing for him. He was still awake as if he'd just awakened fifteen minutes ago. He was just a little tired, physically."

[Police officer makes a phone call.]

Police officer: "Well, hurry up!"

[Some time passes.]

[Police officer answers the phone.]

Police officer: "OK, thank you. The accent, does it fit? Good news."

Another police officer: " Yes, he's Nigerian."

Police officer: "Excellent. Thank you. Bye."

The other police officer: "That's good news. But we only have 24 hours to get a hit and find evidence. Can we do that?"

Police office: "24 hours, yes. It's possible. We're going to move fast. Maybe some departments will have something useful for us, too."

Another police officer: "If he's on record."

Police officer: "He must be."

The other police officer: "We'll just have to find out."

[Police officer calls somebody else.]

Police officer: "You're the other guy. Is he busy? OK Good. Yeah, I will give you all the search terms, the new ones and the old ones. Take notes. You know where you're going to get the information. Nigerian. Try two names, Abadom and Olusola. He changed his name. No fingerprints. The bastard used acids to remove them. Please give them the handwriting. No iris. He's a lens implant. What? We can still see his eye color. The gap in the implant near the pupil gives it away a little. It's brown. No dental records. Porcelain veneers. Of course, a DNA test takes too long. Please give them the voice file and the palm prints. No unusual or unique behaviors have been noted yet. He's Joe incarnate. OK. Please give them the facial features and the other previous information. Please make contact with them. All. The CIA, the Nigerians, the Interpol. Give the added information to Alison. Remind her to enter the obvious details. Last time, I asked her to repeat the search with those details. Check to see if Europol has anything. Update them. Find the guy."


Part 13


[The police officer hangs up the phone.]

The other police officer: "If it becomes a big case, we might get the warrant and the subpoenas to hack and get the data from the websites."

Police officer: "No evidence, no usernames, no hacking. We need to find out where he's been, where he's going, and who he knows. To get evidence. They will give us additional evidence if hacking and subpoenas happen."

Police officer: "It might be better if Juneau had more equipment and people for more biometrics."

Police officer: "For a small city, they have a lot of biometrics."

Another police officer: "You cannot complain. The guy traveled 20 hours from Anchorage to get us the iris scanner. Only to find out there is no iris."

Cop: "Yeah. I cannot complain. Well, what can you do? Alaska is small."

[Policeman hangs up the phone.]

[Another cop knocks and enters.]

Another policeman: "His lawyer is here."

Policeman: "Tell him I'll see him in a minute."

Another policeman: "OK, sir."

[Another policeman leaves.]

[Time passes.]

The other policeman: "That was a tough one."

Cop: "But we got him now. Too bad we have not managed to touch his partners yet. That's what we have failed at so far. The next step will be to get them. We will figure out how to do that. We will focus on them later. Probably, some corrupt government employees managed to erase them. From now on, it might be easier."

Another police officer: "Yes. But I am curious. How did he do it? Why did we always lose his tracks after he left the bar?"

[A little later, the policeman approaches Solon and the Nigerian con man.]

Policeman: "Come on, scumbag! We are done here. The prosecutor has filed charges against you. You will serve some time."

Nigerian con man: "What are you doing here?"

Solon: "I came to say goodbye to the police officer. I have not had a chance to thank him for getting my papers. They also gave me some money. I am going to Algeria soon. To get my holiday."

Nigerian con man: "I am going on holiday too, thanks to you."

[The police officer pushes the Nigerian con man into a room. The Nigerian con man will go to jail.]

[Solon asks to see the police officer at the reception.]

[Police officer comes out of a room.]

Solon: "Hello, Mr. Police Officer."

Police officer: "Oh, hello, Solon. Excellent job you did there. And we learned something new. What an unusual monk you are. A monk with no religious beliefs. You will be leaving soon. Expect the preparations in time. Please return to the hotel, and we will call you."

Solon: "Thank you."

Police officer: "Thank you too."

Police officer: "You deserve it. You played your part well. You did it! We will contact you before the trial. I will see you there. If we need anything else from you, I will call you."

Solon: "OK, thank you. Bye!"

Policeman: "You know, the techniques you taught me to relax work. Thank you, Solon. Bye, Solon!" 

Solon: "I will teach you more relaxation techniques before I go. Do you have some time? Maybe we can have a coffee, even tea for me."

Policeman: "What the heck! Let us do some more relaxation exercises. And we will celebrate our victory a bit. I'll have a large cappuccino. And there's something to eat, too."

[Solon teaches the policeman for a while.]

Policeman: "Solon! You look different! Why do you look like the con man?"

Solon: "How do I look? It's me, Solon."

Policeman: "No, you are not! Why do you look like his lawyer now?"

Solon: "I am not someone else. It's just me, Solon."

[Solon speaks more slowly, with an echo.]

Solon: "It's me, it's me. Soooolllloooon, Sooollllllloon."

[In police office.]

The other policeman: "Wake up! Come on, come on! Wake up!"

Policeman: "Solon! Solon!"

Policeman: "What happened? Did we get him?"

Another policeman: "We did not get anyone. Were you dreaming?"

The other policeman: "The report has come."

Policeman: "Matches?"

The other policeman: "Nigeria and Olusola. And the minute details. There is no such person as Abadom."

Police officer: "What did he do?"

The other police officer: "A marijuana possession charge eight years ago and a bread theft charge seven years ago in Nigeria."

Police officer: "That's it? We cannot use those against him in court. They'll make him look good. I want something recent from the United States. And something more serious. What should I do with his stoned friends? Should I buy them a joint? I won't be able to find anything useful from them. But anyway. We must hurry. Contact the Nigerians, Interpol. See what we can find on the ground. Review his background. Check the people who know him. Check everything. Ask some other cops who have time to help you. Instruct the others to find some tangible evidence for a change. We do not have unlimited time."

Another cop: "You do not understand. It's not him. Here, look at this photo."


Part 14

[Police officer looks at the photo.]


[It's a fat, petite woman with dark skin. Serious acne. Afro hair. Big nose, thin face. Small eyes. Thin lips. Double chin. Bigger chin. A mole on the front. No dimples. Lower hairline, large breasts. Some acne scars on the forehead. Untrained, wide legs. Smaller hands. Few muscles. DIY tattoo on the arm.]

Police officer: "What is this? Some sick joke? Give me the real photo."

The other police officer: "This is the real photo."

[The other police officer holds the report in his hand. He turns the pages. On the information is written, 'The conclusion is that these two people are not the same and that any similarities are purely coincidental.']

Police officer: "Some girl from Nigeria." 

The other police officer: "Her story is sad. She walked to the river to wash her clothes. No one has ever seen her again. Her family is still looking for her. The local police suspected she was murdered, and they got rid of the body."

[Another police officer continues to turn the pages. On the report is written: 'Note: Olusola is both a masculine and feminine name in Nigerian."]

The other police officer: "A happier ending would make my CV look better."

The other police officer: "Maybe the guy is just a nut."

Police officer: "Then how do you explain the four stories he told in Juneau at the airport, the port, and the banks? Coincidence? And they were all stolen at a similar time when he met them?"

The other police officer: "I do not know. Sometimes crazy coincidences happen. Maybe they were robbed, maybe they lost them. Maybe they met him half an hour before or after. Just forget about it. The real guy probably is not even in Alaska. The sketches were too dissimilar to his photo anyway. They are more different than statistics can explain. Even when compared to each other, the sketches were too different. Again, more dissimilar than statistics can explain. Probably one guy never existed. It's just a lot of different people."

Police officer: "Let me take a look. There's got to be something there."

[Police officer flips through the report.]

Police officer: "Result only for the search terms 'name,' 'country,' 'race,' hair color." Nothing was found for combinations of the above terms with 'voice recognition, 'handwriting,' 'handprints,' 'facial features,' 'gender,' 'height,' 'build,' 'skin color,' 'age.'"

Police Officer: "Name='Olusola', Country='Nigeria,' Race= 'Black,' Hair Color= 'Black'"

Police Officer: "Searches conducted. Databases with results: Nigeria. Only one service with results. Only one foreign service. Databases without results. Nothing in Interpol. Nothing in our database. They checked it in the Europol database as I asked them to do. Nothing. They are also running it in the NSA database. I did not think they would be interested in that."

Another police officer: "We are entitled to search. That's what a court recently ruled."

Police officer: "Again, nothing. Nothing in the CIA database. Nothing in the army database. Civilian databases: Nigeria. Data included in criminal database results. No results for other countries."

[The police officer continues to scroll. On the report is written: 'Name: Matched. Race: Matched. Age: No match. The missing person should already be several years older than the suspect. Gender: 'No match. Country of origin: Matched. Facial features: No match. Height: No match. Physique: No match. Speech recognition: Recording not available. Palm prints: Prints not available. Skin tone: No match. Hair color: Matched. Eye color: Matched. Handwriting: No match.']

The other police officer: 'Forget it. You have overthought. You'll do better in another case. Get some rest. You need it."

Police officer: "Thanks for the advice."

The other police officer: "Everyone here needs some rest. Even the bad guy."

The other cop: "Even him."

[Police officer gets the phone. He makes a call. A voice is heard on the other line. 'It's over. OK...Fine. But finish it! The name? What about him? Do you know the names of all the homeless people? They told you it was just a homeless guy. They took pity on him and let him in. Just let him go. The shame must stop.' The person in the other line hung up.]

Police officer: "Call the lawyer."


Part 15

Scene: A lawyer is talking to his client.


Lawyer: Go. You're free. All this trouble is just due to bad luck. The policeman must've taken something illegal, and then he made up this story. I wonder how they could believe him. Were they all high? Unbelievable. And he's supposed to be top-notch at that."

Nigerian con man: "Is my arrest a crime?"

Attorney: "No, it's not."

Nigerian con man: "A civil wrong? Can I sue for damages?"

Layer: "No, you can't. They reasonably believed it."

Nigerian con man: "But you accused them!"

Layer: "That's just acting; back up the customer. You were in the wrong place at the wrong time. You screwed up. You paid the price. These things happen. Get over it. Let's go."

Nigerian con man: "It all happens for a reason!"

Lawyer: "No, it doesn't."

Nigerian con man: "Solon, look at me! Policeman, you've been a bad boy! I want to sing a song! I want to dance!"

Lawyer: "Not here. Come on! This doesn't make any sense. Let's get out of this shitty place before someone beats you."

Nigerian con man: "Did I ever tell you how I tricked Bill Gates into giving me a thousand dollars for selling him a copy of Windows?"

Lawyer: "You need to sleep before you start seeing things. And get sober. Come on now! Let's go! They're going to kick you out! Let's get your stuff and get out of here."

Nigerian con man: "I don't want to leave. I want to stay. I like it here."

Lawyer: "Don't you understand English? Let's go before they change their mind, take you into custody again, and torture you more. Then I'll have to get a court order to release you."

Nigerian con man: "What about my friends?"

Lawyer: "They're already in the trailer. I drove them there a while ago."

Nigerian con man: "Bye, Solon."

[Lawyer and Nigerian con man leave.]

Solon: "He's really on the loose!"

[Policeman looks sad.]

Policeman: "I'll take care of your papers. I'll also take care of your return ticket. And I'll get you some money. Go back to your hotel. We'll call you. You did an excellent job. Thank you for the relaxation techniques. They help."

Solon: "Thank you. I'm sorry."

[The policeman leaves.]

Scene: Nigerian con man and lawyer outside the police station.

Lawyer: "You should have told them you were a pathological liar."

Nigerian con man: "They could lock me up somewhere."

Lawyer: "Let them help you. They'll give you a pill or something to cure you. You don't want to get in trouble again."

Lawyer: "Are you sure you don't want me to drive you to the trailer?"

Nigerian con man: "Yes. I'm going to walk a little bit. Maybe I'll have a coffee and eat something. Then I'll take a cab.

Lawyer: "Good, don't delay it too much. Your car is where your trailer is. The police will leave. No more crime scenes. Take care of yourself. I don't know what to wish you. That you don't have that bad luck again? And get this fixed."

Nigerian con man: "Bye."

Scene: When the Nigerian con man was still a free bird. We see the Nigerian Scam Artist in a park.

Nigerian con man thinks, "It's more fun if I do this in the morning before I leave the trailer."

[This time, the Nigerian con man took the school bag from the bushes. Then he went to the public restrooms. He went into the women's bathroom and closed the door. He took a mirror, a wig, make-up utensils, and lipstick from his bag. He removed all of that from his face. He pulled out feminine clothes and shoes from the bathroom. He applied makeup. He put on clothes and shoes. He polished his nails. He wore a wig. He put on lipstick. Then he put his men's clothes and shoes in the bag. Then the accessories. He carried the pouch around his shoulders. He left the restroom as a stunning woman.]

The Nigerian con man thinks, "But when I become a man outside, it's so much fun. Changing my features with makeup, that's cool."

[Nigerian con man walks into the park's cafeteria. In a female voice, he orders a coffee to go.]

[Nigerian con man walks towards the car.]

Nigerian con man thinks, "What should I cook in the trailer tonight?"


Part 16


Scene: Solon is on the plane to Algeria.

Solon is thinking, "What was that? But it felt good that I helped the policeman and then I helped the con man. Well, I still tried to help the con man. I think he doubted whether he could continue his life of crime. Let's hope that I will find peace and tranquility in Algeria. And then, I'll go back to Tibet to train in kung fu and get to the tournament in time. But Alaska will stay in my memory forever. Wow, what an adventure. And this con man is one of a kind. I say that even though I don't find bad guys interesting. They're creepy. But I'd find him more fascinating if I were a criminal psychologist, not a plain psychologist. I almost would have liked him. But now that I think about it, it seems weird that he looked a little more feminine."

[You can see a plane flying from the outside.]

Scene: In the woods, near the trailer.

[The Nigerian con man stands in front of the trailer, looking at the trees. He sits down on a chair. There's a CD player on the ground].

Nigerian con man thinks, "It finally happened. All the effort has paid off. All the plastic surgery, the dermal fillers. The diet. The six months in Russia to lengthen my legs. The bleaching creams. Acne medicine. The workouts. Tattoo removal. Cosmetic dental surgeries. They believed I'd died. They found no handprints in Nigeria. No voice recordings either, not that that matters. Do you think they liked my fictional handwriting? Neat and clear. If the plastic surgeons are good, you do it in moderation and with a plan, then the results are nice. The best place to hide something is under their noise."

[Someone from inside the trailer gets out.]

A guy: "Come on in, beauty. Get some sleep. Tomorrow, we leave, remember? You haven't slept in three days. Are you still thinking about that monk?"

Scene: policeman's house.

[The policeman is trying to sleep in his bed. Next to him, his wife is sleeping.]

The policeman thinks, "I haven't had a good case in a long time.
Why don't they commit their crimes at the same time? Wait, the Trojan! The virus! The virus will send us data from his PC. We'll find something about him! And then, we can use the Trojan to get inside his PC. I've to let it go. Let it go. I just saw what I wanted to see."

[Time passes. Someone returns.]

A talkative, grumbling guy: "Come on in, Abadom. It's getting late, and dinner's ready. Pizza, steak, French fries, salad, fruit salad, chocolate ice cream cake, and wine. It would be best if you took off your makeup. There's already a little more run off your face. It stained. OK. We're watching the movie again tonight with the guy who lost his patent to the con man. Oh, yeah. He's got a surprise. He wants to tell you about some new characters he's created. They're fascinating. Not as much as you are, but they're nonetheless. It would be best to use your magic to make them more compelling. He also thinks that you need to be more careful with your stories. Otherwise, you won't be able to sell them again. Uh, yeah. A guy called. He said he read your best story and loved it. He's going to read the rest soon, too. He thinks he can find buyers for you. He'll think about it more but believes he'll represent you. It sounds like he's going to be your new manager. He made a joke about male secretaries. I wouldn't say I liked that. He left his number. What's his name again? He read the email you sent him at lunch today. Is your PC faster now that you reinstalled Windows? I called the guy from the trailer. He came while we were at the police station. He'll fix it tomorrow. He's sorry for what happened to us with that crazy cop. We told those guys what you asked us to say to them. When they released us, I tried to call you. Did you change your cell phone number again? You owe us all a hundred thousand dollars each. Oh, yeah. The monthly payment is due soon. How do you manage to make so much money from the stories?


Part 17

Your social benefits bring in so little money. Ah, and I paid our lawyer. When will you stop this obsession with getting the money in cash and depositing it into this account in Switzerland? For heaven's sake, get a bank account here in the US like everyone else! They will pay us by bank transfer. We have decided that I will clean for three weeks, do laundry and dishes for one week, and do the shopping for the next month. He will do the opposite for the next month. And the other man will do the rest. Then, in two months, I will take his place, a welcome change for a while, and he will take mine. You are lucky you only have to cook when you feel like it. I have done your laundry and will do the rest after dinner. When are you going to buy the extra sets of laundry? We are tired of washing them at night and then drying them with a hair dryer. And what about throwing them in the trash and buying new ones when we move to another state with a different climate or when the seasons change? You have lots of sets of pajamas. And buy an extra pair of shoes. They stink. At least put them outside the trailer. Your men's shoes, too, so we do not dig them up when you return. And we are tired of digging up your treasure chest of secret documents and things, only to dig them up again later, just like your men's shoes. It's so hard. It's the safe casket inside. Who do you think would be interested in your stuff? Some uninspired writers? Do you think I am stupid and do not know you put your cell phone and USB sticks in there when you tell us to close our eyes? When are you going to see progress with your psychologist? What does she mean you must confront these people with the traumas they inflicted on you? They are all dead. Does she mean in your imagination? Do you still see their faces in your nightmares? Those bastards! Will we ever go to Zimbabwe to meet your extended family? I think we will be able to. Maybe if you talked to them a little more, you would not be so alienated. We are all tired of traveling and living in the woods all the time. Let us settle down for a while. We have been doing this for two years since we met you. You said it was just a phase, but we still tire of it. What do you like so much about this lifestyle? Because you made it up and want to live it like an actual novel, am I supposed to be a real-life character in your real-life book forever? At least change the plot! What will your name be in the next episode of the series? While I think your characters are more convincing when you live them, that's a bit of an exaggeration. A character in your real-life novel. I am already a character in your stories. At least give me the pleasure of telling the world about it. You really should stop signing your stories anonymously. Bring some glory to our household. Tell the world that we inspired you to write those stories! The roleplaying you do with people from the internet is creepy and so real. It sounds so natural, especially when you talk to them on the phone. They must be very talented, like you. You are not a spy, are you? Am I talking non-stop again?"


Nigerian con man: "Do not take God's name in vain! I am not. It's just a phase. It will pass. But do not worry about it. I will change the plot. I can see you are bored with it. It can not be the same forever. But the essential elements have to stay the same. It's a proven formula that's always fun. I must stick to that. You talk too much."

[Police officer continues trying to sleep.]

The police officer thinks, "These guys are innocent. We did not find anything on them. No fingerprints in the trailer. And the rest of the biometrics. Nothing. The searches did not turn up anything. The people who knew them, nada. They were ex-sellers."

[In the trailer, they watch the movie with the man who lost his patent to the scammers.]

A guy: "Do you want to have more muscles? You'll look like a female Rambo."

Nigerian con man: "Not if you do not take steroids."

Another guy: "He'll look just like Rambo, with those fake male genitals she wears when she's a man."

Talkative, complaining guy: "I think it's disgusting."

[A while later.]

Another guy: "In the movies, the bad guys always lose."

Nigerian con man thinks, "Is not life better than the movies?"

[The police officer is about to fall asleep. The police officer has a thought.]

The policeman thinks, "What about the physique? Why is it always the same if they are different guys?"

[Then the policeman falls asleep. The thought is short-lived. It does not surface in his long-term memory. He will return to his busy life's other current and new cases. Even if the thought returns, it is unlikely that the case will be reopened.]


Part 18

[In the trailer.]


Talkative, complaining guy: you're not a U.S. agent working domestically?

Nigerian con man: "No. I already told you that. That was just another role-play. Shh, this is the final scene that I like a lot. 'Can you help me? You're the boy scout. Can I be your good deed for the day? Can you help me, Joe? Joe: I'm afraid you're going to have to spend some time in your room.'"

A guy: "I like it when they catch the bad guys, too."

The Nigerian con man thinks, "I don't like her going to jail. It helped to change the subject. Anyway, it's all good. I like her facial expression at the end. The sarcastic smile. I like that the real her comes out at the end."

[The boys and Abadom are about to go to sleep.]

[Abadom is lying in her bed. On the floor next to her bed is her CD player.]

[A song is playing, and Abadom whispers the lyrics.]

Abadom: "He thought that I should be in your way. He closed his eyes and smiled a little. And then I looked, I saw your star. A bright star in the sky, far, far. I know you can do so much. I'll, I'll do my part. I'll look for your star. You make, you make me do so, so, so much. I'll, I'll look out for your star.

Talkative, complaining guy: "So you're not a U.S. Army spy dealing with terrorists from secretive countries or locals who don't consider themselves terrorists?"

Nigerian con man: "No. At least give me a break, will you?"

Talkative complaining guy: "OK. Sorry."

Nigerian con man: "OK, lights off. It's getting late."

[Music plays, it is War Games, End titles soundtrack. "Edge Of The World" from 'WarGames' (1983) -- Sung by Yvonne Elliman.]

The end.

WebVoyage Record View 1 (loc.gov)

111hrs | Free Novel | Gexl (archive.org)