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Des was smug. "Turns out, I'm really rich," he said. "Three point seven trillion dollars."
Robbie inspected Des's suit, its silver magnificence weathered to a faded grey. "Means you can buy a new suit," he said.
Des continued on. "And there's thirteen thousand eight hundred and thirty two stunning women all lusting after my body."
"They're probably after your money."
Des shrugged. "That's always a risk if you're wealthy," he said. "Provided they come good, who cares."
"How come you've only just found out about all of this?" Robbie asked.
"There's this nifty little app," Des said. "Pulls together all the data on all your different devices, from emails to investments. I was surprised how much it added up to."
"Where's all the money?"
"There's a lot of big lottery wins, but most of it is legacies from deceased philanthropists, managed by reputable Nigerian law firms."
Robbie snorted. "They're all scams. Make-believe money, to get money out of you. You pay them to release the money, which never appears. Or you give them details of an account to send it to, but instead they hack into it and empty it."
Des nodded. "Yeah. But that assumes an unsuspecting victim. I'm not unsuspecting. What we need to do is to set up a fake account, give them the details, then when they raid it, track them back to where they stash their money. That way they're the victim, not me."
"But you need help?"
"I'll see what I can do."
* * *
Des was down in the dumps. There was no new suit. "How did it go?" he asked.
Robbie shrugged. "Fifty-fifty," he said. "We found a few cash stashes, but we haven't emptied them yet. What we've done is ring-fenced them, so we divert any incoming cash. We got one lump of fifty thousand. Some poor idiot's life savings, probably."
"So how much have you made? I haven't seen any of it."
Robbie clenched his teeth. "You won't have. It's that nifty little app of yours. It's a Trojan crocodile. Hides, then grabs any money that goes past and eats it. Everything we've tried to send you has vanished."
"Where to? Another scammer?"
Robbie nodded. "The biggest one of all," he said. "The Tax Office. It took us a while to suss it out. Turns out that it's their way of dealing with multinational companies and offshore tax havens. Grab everything they can, whenever and wherever they find it. It's up to you to convince them it's not theirs if you want any of it back."
"That explains this," Des said, pushing across a sheet of paper. It was a tax demand for three point seven trillion dollars, less a payment credit of a bit over fifty thousand dollars.
Robbie nodded. "They've obviously decided that, as you're getting real money from your legacies and lottery wins, they must all be real. And if it's real, it's taxable."
Copyright © D.W. Walker, 2017
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