I always knew that I was destined for great things, but I didn’t know that “great things” would mean “inheriting millions of dollars from a long-lost relative who died in a car accident four years ago.” Life can be funny like that. But the message I received on Facebook this morning is deadly serious. Check it out:
That’s right. Apparently my Uncle/Cousin/Step-grandpa/Nephew Thrice Removed Marko, who was living here in the United States this whole time, had a cool twelve and a half million dollars stashed away and he never even bothered sending me Christmas presents or a card, but now that he’s dead the whole fortune’s mine. I really regret having never gotten to know old Marko. He sounds like a hell of a guy. Obviously he put in a lot of work as… I think an engineer of… petroleum? Wait, this guy invented oil? No wonder he was loaded.
I have to admit I was a little thrown by this message at first. I can only assume that Ms. EHOUZOUGANGNITO wrote this on her smart phone and the auto-correct did what it’s infamous for doing. Or maybe it’s some kind of test. She may be speaking in some type of code; there’s probably another message hidden within this email that I’m supposed to tease out and respond to. Everyone’s heard of the old movies where someone inherits a fortune but has to stay a night in a spooky mansion in order to claim it, right? (Or at least we’ve all seen the Futurama episode.) Let’s see here.
I’m Denise EHOUZOUGANGNITO,Private Anthony to Late.
Notice the period here? I’m wondering if part of the code has to do with stopping at every period. Certainly the periods in this message aren’t used in a way that would make sense to someone fluent in English, and as Denise is apparently an attorney operating within the United States who was employed by a multi-millionaire, I’m going to assume she speaks the language and knows where punctuation goes. So by that logic, I should probably take each section ending in a period as its own separate part of the code to be demystified. The first bit seems simple enough, but who is this Private Anthony person? Is he late for something? Late can be another way of saying someone’s died–is Private Anthony dead? But I thought this was about my dear departed best friend Marko. Maybe I should come back to this part later.
Marko *********,a natinal of your country, who used to work as the Engr.
Oh, here’s Marko. He’s a “natinal” of my country, huh? My first instinct is to read that as “national,” but then I have to wonder–why in the world is Denise telling me he’s a national of the US? Isn’t that assumed? And then there’s this bit about him having once worked as “the Engr.” At first I thought this was “engineer,” but then I plopped down on Google and came up with an article about Engr. Mosharraf Hossain, whom Wikipedia tells me is “a Muslim Bangladeshi Politician and Freedom Fighter.” Was Marko involved in some sort of political upheaval in Bangladesh?
of petroliers total Benin On July 31th, 2007 my client and his
family were involved in a car accident unfortunately lost their lives,
my client had an account valued at about $12
Here’s where it starts to get difficult. It looks like I was on the right track with the oil–apparently a petrolier is someone who… transports oil on a ship? I’m having a hard time telling because the Wikipedia page I found is in French. At least the part about Benin is pretty clear–Benin is a country in Africa. And the official language of Benin is French. It’s all starting to come together! Now as an American, geography hasn’t always been my strong point, but that’s a long way from Bangladesh, right? Marko really got around. That he was “of petroliers total” [in] “Benin” suggests to me he must have been part of a group that had a monopoly on the oil business in the region. But maybe his luck didn’t run so hot after all–going by the code, it looks like he only had $12 in his bank account when he died. Suddenly I’m not so sure this was good news after all.
5 Million USD deposited in Bank here, Please send your
email address and telephone number and your age and occupation
and position to my email:firstname.lastname@example.org
so that I will send more details to you.
So wait, now we’re talking about $5,ooo,ooo instead? This code is really jerking me around. The first clue I’m noticing is that “Bank” is capitalized, as if it was in reference to a proper name… like a river bank? It looks like Benin’s northeastern border is defined by the Niger River. That might sound like a stretch, but look at the next capitalized word: Please. And why is that significant? Anyone who’s up on their semi-racist internet memes should already know, but for those who aren’t:
Isn’t it obvious what’s up? Allow me to Holmes it out for you: Marko used to be part of a monopoly shipping oil out of Benin, but he became embroiled in the political conflict within Bangladesh, after which he fell on hard times and died in a car accident that wasn’t any accident at all–I think it’s safe to assume that it was this “Private Anthony” fellow, probably a local mercenary, who caused Marko to become “late.” Luckily, it turns out Marko had some money set aside, and he apparently hid it somewhere along the bank of the Niger River. Denise knows where the money is, but she needs me to come to Please in order to collect on my inheritance. That has to be it.
I’m glad we had this little talk. As you can see, the future’s looking up for me. I’m going to drop Denise a line on Facebook. She asked for my email address, age, phone number and work information, which I’ll gladly send, and I think I’ll also include my Social Security number, bank routing information and a scanned picture of my signature just to speed things up as well. It’s been nice knowing all you poor slubs, but I’m rich now, and as soon as I collect on the money my dear old Uncle Marko left me, I won’t have time for your kind anymore. Try not to let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.