Good day, sir and madam,

I received your contact information through a reliable source in my search for a trustworthy person who will assist me in an urgent business proposition. Also, you are my parents, and your e-mail address is under the easily accessible nickname of “The Rents.” Allow me to reintroduce myself. I am TEDDY WAYNE of New York City, the son you raised in your household for 18 years (the second of three, so you might not remember me that well) and have seen off and on for the past eight, often at graduations and holiday dinners.

My situation is dire. Recently, my freelance writing work has dried up, and as my credit is no longer considered “good,” I cannot access my previously earned monies. However, as a freelance writer from 2001 to 2004, I earned upwards of $37.4 million copyediting, substitute-teaching, and temping. While you may be skeptical of this figure, as I got free dinners off you whenever possible, frequently did my laundry in your home, and rarely had health care during that time, it is verifiable through my extravagant spending at area bars. Before my credit went “bad” and my accounts were “frozen,” I secretly deposited this money in a special “passbook” savings account at Citibank at 1.2 percent interest. This means that the $37.4 million has accrued in value since then, although I’m not really good enough with money to know by how much.

As my next of kin, you will be allowed to take control of the account if you can prove that I have fled the country and have no intention of returning. My urgent proposal is this. You will purchase me a one-way plane ticket to your choice of the following destinations: Ibiza, Spain; Melbourne, Australia; or Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. You will also furnish me with $20,000 in cash, a large backpack, and a Nalgene water bottle. Once I am safely abroad, I will write an e-mail home to the effect that I am having a blast backpacking across Europe/Australia/South America, have married my new wife Maria/Julie/Railene, and have no intention of ever coming back to the boring, bourgeois “United Waste.” This pun will indicate my great distaste for America and should prove to American officials my seriousness in not returning. If this is insufficient, I will attach a digital photo of me kissing Maria/Julie/Railene, who will be hot. At this point you will be able to access the “passbook” savings account, and you shall transfer 50 percent of the money to your own account and send the rest to me. Hell, take 75 percent while you’re at it. What’s a little money between estranged relatives?

Of course, this would mean that once the transaction is complete we will never be able to correspond again. This means no phone calls, no letters, and certainly no forwarded e-mails of bad, obvious jokes about President Bush. To ensure your financial security for the rest of your lives, I am willing to make this profound sacrifice.

If you want to proceed with this transaction, please reply with the usernames and passwords of your online banking accounts, so that I can make the $20,000 transfer on my own. If you are circumspect about providing the usernames and passwords over e-mail, just hint if they’re some combination of the names of our dogs over the years. If you do not accept my offer, please treat it with utmost confidentiality (i.e., don’t tell Grandma, as I’ll probably ask her next). Even though we weren’t raised religious, I’m trusting you as a God-fearing person who will not sit on my life-saving fund and deprive me of the chance of creating beautiful babies in a sun-splashed paradise.

Yours faithfully,

Teddy Wayne
Former freelancer/your son
New York City