I opened the letter and it said I had won £1,000,000. Apparently my details had come up in some obscure European lottery and I was the sole winner. I was flabbergasted.
I made myself a strong coffee and sat down to read the letter properly. I had entered all sorts of competitions without keeping a record, so not recognising this one didn’t faze me. All I needed to do was to provide proof of identity and details of the bank account where I would like my winnings transferred to. There was just the simple matter of paying the lottery company a £2,000 validation fee so they could process the payment to my account. When you stand to gain a million, you don’t make a fuss over the odd thousand, I reckoned.
Next morning I started going through the spending plans I’d hatched. Having paid the lottery company their fee, I found it much easier to cough up the deposit on a round the world cruise, the kind of holiday of a lifetime I’d always promised myself but never been able to afford.
I made big donations to a number of charities; after all, I am a generous person. I had already used up most of my limited savings to give my two children enough to allow them to afford deposits on their first homes.
I’d dreamed of fast cars and loose women. I went out and put a hefty down payment on a new Jaguar. The dealers wouldn’t give me anything, really, for my battered old VW, and the stuck-up hoity-toity salesman gave me such a condescending look. Little did he know I would soon have enough money to buy two of them and still have change.
A couple of days later, as I hadn’t heard anything more from the lottery company, I decided to give them a call. The £2,000 had left my account, but nothing had been paid in. I called the number they had given me. They said they would have to call me back. When they hadn’t phoned by the following day, I tried again. I didn’t like the reply. They were apologetic, but there had been a problem and I would need to pay another £1,000 for them to circumvent some kind of administrative hurdle which was delaying the processing of my payout. I began to smell a rat. By the end of the day it dawned on me that there was no million pound lottery prize. I had been conned. Worse than that, I had spent money I didn’t have.
The following morning, there was a knock on the door. A smartly dressed young woman was standing there. She introduced herself as representing National Savings and Investments and showed me her identity card. After establishing to her satisfaction who I was, she gave me a letter. I opened the letter and it said I had won £1,000,000. On the Premium Bonds. This time, I knew it was genuine. Wasn’t it?
Ian Coldicott lives in Lichfield, England, and enjoys writing short stories and reading crime fiction. He is keen on photography, studying philosophy, researching family history and transcribing old wills. Before retiring he worked for a local authority as a Demographic Analyst.
“150” by außerirdische sind gesund is licensed under CC BY 2.0