35 – Bad News Week

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Oh dear. My week has just gone from bad to worse – or rather, much worse. And I can’t quite believe what has happened. You’ll remember, of course, that a few weeks ago I had purchased – for a not inconsiderable amount – the exclusive rights to all restaurants and eating establishments on the moon. Because of the promised cities which I had been told by the sales agent, Mica O’Manna, would certainly be built in the coming years. And as such I paid him – in good faith – a down payment of $100,000 to his Cayman Islands’ PayPal account. And I have been waiting since then for my Certificate of Ownership.

Well yesterday, it all unravelled. There is no Certificate of Ownership, there is no Mica O’Manna, and there is no exclusive contract to restaurants on the moon. It turns out O’Manna was just a con man. And he certainly conned me.

How did I find out? Well… and oh dear God this is painful admitting it, but I found out from Carotene Half, owner of my local rival, The Bologna Pony.

It was towards the end of a busy lunchtime shift and as the last of my customers was leaving, my front door opened and in walked Half himself. I was surprised but not overly so as I thought he had simply come to gloat about The Chronicle’s recent exposé of Jack Spratt and my pigeon problems. But I was wrong. (I wish it had just been that).

I, of course, was courteous to Half and offered him an espresso and as he settled back to drink it he started to tell me a story about how he had been approached by a latino Irishman (guess who?) last month (last month!) with a cock-and-bull story about how he could sell him exclusive rights to all restaurants on the moon. At which point, Half started laughing uncontrollably and explained that he had physically kicked O’Manna out of his restaurant and half way down the road. Such a poor con artist, he said, that it had only taken Half five minutes of Googling to discover that Mica O’Manna had a history of such attempted cons and was wanted in Brazil, Nicaragua and Costa Rica for similar nefarious acts.

By the time he had finished the story he had such a look of glee on his face that I knew he knew that I had fallen for the con. (I guess he does read my blog after all). He spent another ten minutes mischievously telling me to watch out in case O’Manna approached me, then thanked me for the coffee and pretty much danced out of the Sausage looking as if he didn’t have a care in the world.

I went into my kitchen and slumped down in the corner. I was still there when my sous-chef came in for the evening service.

But do you know what? What is even worse than falling for Mica O’Manna’s con, what is worse than hearing about it from Carotene Half, and actually what is worse than potentially losing a lot of money, is the fact that that damn conman went to Half first before approaching me! I wasn’t even the first chef he had tried this on. What did that say about his view of The Smoked Sausage?

I’m guessing I haven’t got a hope of getting the money back.