There was always one she thought as she sat in the waiting area.
Gullible and every ready to be taken advantage of.
A smorgasbord of subjects in a busy airport but she knew she had to choose the right one.
The older, the more likely they would be to fall for her take.
Around her milled a cross section of society.
The young, the children tagging behind parents eager to find their way to their departure gate. The middle-aged and the elderly often sauntering along on their walking sticks or carrying their possessions on their back expectant of the adventure they must to about to embark on.
Then she saw her target. An older woman, grey hair tied back, a small backpack and an air of abandonment. She watched the woman finding her way to a seat near gate 46 and waited for her to be settled before moving in.
Her method was simple, engage the person in idle chit chat and gain their confidence. It had worked so well before. Always she had left richer than when she sat down.
There was a seat next to her target, and she made her way to it, placed herself down and adjusted her bags. It was important, she knew, to look like you were about to get on a plane like all the other travellers around her.
She exchanged pleasantries, the weather, the queues, the business of the airport. Then she inquired as to the woman’s destination, and always she had a comment about where her targets were going. If it was a destination she was unfamiliar with, then she’d ask pertinent questions to find out why they were going there.
Her target was on her way home to Newcastle after a visit with friends. When asked what the woman did at her home in Newcastle the woman looked at her and said she dabbled in a bit of this and that. Then the woman asked her what it was she did.
This was her way in. She went into her spin about going home to treat her sick mother, how the expenses were such that it was an uphill battle to make ends meet, to pay for the medication her ill mother needed. She made mention that she was in the process of applying for a grant of money to enable her to employ a full-time carer for her mother. Then the part about how wonderful a mother she had been and she was the person she was because of the tireless work her mother had done. Every time she had spun this tale she had gotten better at it. Usually, her target was in tears by the end of her story, feeling and hearing the desperation in the story-tellers voice and ever willing to help in any way he/she could.
Then it was the apology if she was implying she was after the person’s money, saying she wasn’t asking for help but just telling the story and after allowing the target to insist on helping she would feign acceptance of the person’s generosity promising to keep her in the loop after exchanging email addresses.
At the next call of a departure away from the gate she was near she would up and go, money safely in her pocket and now looking for another victim.
This time it was different. The woman she targeted had listened to her tale and had shown all the signs of acceptance, and she was sure would part with a sizeable piece of her money.
Instead, the woman reached into her bag and gave the woman an envelope and told her to open when she was gone. Not wishing to appear ungrateful the woman accepted the envelope and departed the scene.
Away from her target, she opened the envelope to find a small note inside.
“Upon reading this note your power of speech will be taken from you. It will reappear when you are home and away from vulnerable people. Your scam is a good one, but I’m sorry my dear today you picked the wrong target.
Signed, Miss Amelia Marble.”
The woman laughed at the contents and as she approached her next target and opened her mouth to speak the horror hit her. She was without speech.