Watch out for Corona Con-Men

*Mwas Douglas*

Scopolamine Tyrosine—legally used by surgeons when administering anesthesia to prevent motion sickness, nausea and vomiting after surgery or, in small quantities, to manage seizures as prescribed by a qualified doctor. Its side effects include dizzy spells, wobbly legs, general weakness, drowsiness, blurry vision and ultimately, the loss of consciousness. They are not always in that order. The effects are felt almost immediately but they fully set in after about 20 minutes and last for up to 8 hours.

In essence, one sufficient dose of the Devil’s Breath, as it is notoriously known, and the victim would be a total zombie with no control whatsoever over his actions or rather, his in-actions. The vile streets of downtown Nairobi will bear me witness as it has long since found its way into the wrong hands and has consequently, been used to satisfy far much more sinister objectives to the detriment of the innocent citizenry. The Devil’s Breath has been deviously soaked into business cards or blown into the faces of would-be victims in efforts to easily gain access to their pockets and even coax unsuspecting prey to willingly divulge their bank and ATM pins; no forced coercion, just a sound understanding of chemistry.

If the video doing rounds on WhatsApp is anything to go by; apparently, an evidently well off couple in an upmarket Nairobi neighborhood unfortunately got conned out of their precious belongings under the guise of covid-19, literally speaking. They were robbed right under their noses with their masks on. Apparently, they had made a short detour and had stopped beside a couple of youngsters who were busy handing out free masks, or so it seemed. The masks, much to their chagrin, were heavily laced with the Devil’s Breath. They passed out in no time and were robbed dry in plain sight. I wouldn’t say it was in their nature to be that gullible but they probably placed too much on faith on the youngster’s seemingly well-intentioned gesture to tackle this frightening pandemic.

Dirty John

Dirty John always had his way with the ladies. He was attentive and charming. He had all the qualities on a woman’s checklist. He was perhaps just as conniving and calculating. He was smart, funny and fun to be with. His eyes, it seems, melted women from the inside out and his smile made them all fuzzy and mushy inside; so I was told, being a man I wouldn’t know. He was a smooth talker and he made sure that any woman he crossed paths with felt his presence. He painted a rosy picture of himself as a top-notch doctor whose services were highly sought after. To prove it, he wore scrubs and protective gear everywhere as if he’d just left a crucial operation. His car was always parked at the hospital and apparently, he had just landed from a doctor without borders assignment in Iraq. He had air tickets to facilitate the story.  He also had a reputable jewellery shop in town and owned a Maybelline franchise. A flashy job title and huge business interests; what more would a successful woman want?

He was also an ex-convict and he could spin a really good story.

A lot of women had been swept of their feet; they had let him into their precious cookie jars and worse still, gave him access to their mammoth finances. After all, weren’t they all at par financially? That was until one of his victim’s daughters took matters into their own hands. They had smelt a rat and placed a private investigator on him and were in return rewarded with a whole can of worms. A long chequered record of his brushes with the law came up. But Poor Alice, their mother, was floating in a blissful cloud of love and believed his lame excuses. He had been framed or it was mistaken identity, Dirty John would assure her. He had successfully driven a wedge between Alice and her daughters. They killed him.

Unfortunately, it is possible for some shrewd con artist to take a cue from Dirty John’s playbook to craft and remodel his story based on Dirty John’s dirty tricks. He would definitely be after the successful, well-connected sort of woman and once he had her in his sights, he would spare no efforts to con his way into her life, and would certainly use her social, political or business connections to get ahead in life. What better time to play out this hook than in the face of pandemic? And if Dirty John could spin and use this well crafted story under normal circumstances, what’s to stop a wannabe from doing it now? 

It wouldn’t take much for a seemingly good-looking energetic doctor with a wide array of medical awards and recognitions, and who seems to have made it his life mission to help the covid-19 patients, to totally fool any emotionally vulnerable woman on his path. His evident deep resolve to help humanity coupled with his love for her young kids would deliver the blow every single time.

A good con, it is said, draws you to him and not the other way around. He would make her crave him and so, with an essential services license as proof of his sought after services, he would keep her at arms length to allegedly protect her and her kids. She would of course be addicted to his smooth vibes and would undoubtedly feel like the luckiest woman on earth. At last, she had found a man, not the usual dogs and pigs.

Corona Robin hoods

Whether this global pandemic comes to its grinding halt soon or it will take a while, is unknown. What is certain however, is that there are and will be lots of robin hoods, only this time they won’t be taking advantage of the pandemic to rob the rich to give to the poor but on the contrary, they would rob the poor to warm and fatten their own wallets.

I am particularly wary of people in positions of power who have taken it a notch higher, and have rebranded sanitizers and protective gears, with their faces and personal brand insignias to gain political mileage. They were donated to them in utmost good faith and surely, in times like this, is it moral?

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