Seller Beware

It was my first time. I was a Craig’s List virgin. But I’ve given it up for life.  From now on, I will be a Craig’s List celibate – a “volcel,” you could call me.

John and I are cleaning out, packing up, and putting our house on the market. Naturally, then, it was time to sell the weight machine we bought for Jacob in 2008, when he was playing rugby.  A neighbor who bought nothing but the best stuff, sold it to us for a song.  Of course, nobody has used it since, oh, 2009, unless one needed an expensive piece of fitness equipment to “hold my beer” in Jacob’s man cave.

I listed it for $400. And I got a bite! Or maybe, I got bitten.

You see, a very busy man named (and I am not making this up) Scalzo McRoy from nearby Maryland wanted to buy it! In spite of his weird name, I was willing to sell it to him (or really, to anybody who would take the damn thing). Scalzo contacted me by email, offered the full price, and said he would arrange for someone to move it.

“I’m familiar with the make and model, and from the pictures, it looks to be in great shape,” he wrote. “My secretary will send you a certified check.  Is it OK if I write the check to you, and include the fee for the movers in it? Then you can pay them in cash when they come to get it.”

“You don’t need to give me a certified check,” I responded. He ignored me.

Friday afternoon, a certified check did arrive – for $1,550.00. One thousand, one hundred and fifty dollars over the asking price.  Now, the machine is big and heavy, and it will not be cheap to move.  But $1,150? Were they going to buy a new truck for the move?

“Scalzo,” I wrote him after picking my jaw up off the floor, “this seems excessive.” But it was a certified check in my name, so I needed to go to the bank with it.

“Fifty dollars is for you, for your help,” he informed me.

He was giving me a tip.  And who do you think was going to move it, Don Jr. and Eric?

Eric and Don Jr - SNL

SNL as you all know.

Scalzo then asked me to get the movers a money order that afternoon, send him a photocopy of it, and send the money order for $1100 to the movers in Texas.

No wonder moving it was so expensive! Scalzo was going to import movers from Texas to Virginia!

Now I’ve never heard of a bogus certified check. Nevertheless, I went into the bank and told them the story as I tried to deposit the money.

“There seems to be a problem here,” Amy, my bank teller said.  “Do you mind waiting for a minute or two?”

So I sat and waited while each and every bank rep looked first at me, then at the check, then at me again.

Aiden, the bank manager, called me over to his desk.

“The check is fraudulent,” Aiden informed me. He asked for the story of how I’d gotten it. I told him about Craig’s List, Scalzo, the extra money (including my tip), and the request to send a $1100 money order to guys who were going to come from Texas to move a weight machine from Virginia to Maryland.

We contacted the police, and filed a report. Apparently, this sort of scam is not at all uncommon. And because the seller receives a “Certified” check, lots of people fall for it.

I did not send a money order to Scalzo’s Texas connection.

The moral of this story is:

“SELLER BEWARE”

Anybody need a weight machine? Cheap? You haul …

Hoist 1

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A Ruse?

Our kids need to get out more.

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New Release! THE BONE CURSE, A Genre-Bending, Supernatural Medical Thriller

Carrie Rubin has a new book!

Carrie Rubin

Do you believe in the paranormal?

I wish I did. Life would be more fun. But in reality, a ghost could hit me upside the head with a copy of War and Peace and I’d still find a way to explain it. Thanks to my left-brain skepticism and years of science education, a believer in the unseen I am not.

BUT…

That doesn’t mean I don’t find it fascinating, and it doesn’t mean I don’t want to write about it.

The Bone Curse, available today, takes a rational-minded man of science and tosses him into an otherworldly situation, one with curses, dark priests, and Haitian Vodou.

The Bone Curse by Carrie Rubin After getting cut by an old bone in the Paris catacombs, a skeptical med student must use the occult to stop a deadly curse and a vengeful priest.

The Hero:

Ben, the main character, is not a perfect guy. He’s a med student…

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Pissing Off Mike Pence

Generally speaking, I’m not a vindictive person.

For example, I would never, and I do mean never ever, fire someone 26 hours before his/her pension vested.

Unless I could do it in a funny way, that is.  Then I’d probably be good with that.

John Oliver is a master at pissing people off hilariously.  So if you haven’t seen it, watch this:

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It Needs to be Done

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Apathetic is pathetic…

Don understands guns and the issues leading to their use and the consequences of using them. He is a cop, and an amazing writer. Stay safe, Don.

don of all trades

Apathy…

It doesn’t seem so long ago that death was something shocking and emotional.

What happened to us?

Several months ago I responded to a house for a baby in distress, but by the time I had arrived, there was no more distress.

The baby was dead.

A formerly healthy two month old baby was dressed in her onesie, laying on her back with her arms to her side, eyes closed as if she was asleep. One could imagine she was asleep, without having to use much imagination.

As teams of first responders made their way through the house, the mother, a teenager herself, pecked away on her phone with enough seeming disinterest that part of me wanted to slap her upside her head. The baby’s grandfather couldn’t wait for all of us to leave, because he had to water his flowers. He left at one point to go and…

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One in Thirteen?

Appearances are deceiving, but I have to admit that circumstantial evidence points directly to me as one of the 13 Russians indicted by  Robert Mueller.

After all, long time followers will recall that I used to post all the time.  I used to comment on politics, and on Donald Trump.  I sought to sow confusion, discord, and rancor here at FiftyFourAndAHalf.  I sought to get folks to the polls.  Get them to vote my way.

And then I stopped.  Practically disappeared.

Long time followers will also note that since Trump entered sullied the White House, that I haven’t been writing a whole lot.

But really, it is entirely coincidence.  Completely.    I’m not a Russian agent.  It’s all coincidence.  I have had a bit of a make-over, though.

Natasha

But appearances can be deceiving.  Trust me.

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