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“George”

“I just broke up with George. He said he understands.”

“Sorry to hear that,” my wife texted back.

It had been a brutal winter. In the front bumper of our car there was a large hole from a snowbank accident the previous winter. So my wife had resigned to keeping a shovel in the trunk this season. The two of us really needed a break. Somewhere tropical, perhaps? “How about the Cayman Islands?” I’d proposed.

“Wow. That sounds interesting,” my wife said. “Let’s look into it.”

The day before, our car had failed inspection due to the hole. “I HAVE A PIECE OF PLASTIC. YOU CAN SCREW IT OVER THE HOLE,” my father said after I’d told him of our dilemma. I held the phone away from my ear. Thirty years prior, my brother, my sister, my mother, and I had collectively accepted as a family his normal tone of yelling.

“Are you going to come here and do it? On second thought, why don’t you mail it to me,” I said.

“JUST USE ANY TYPE OF PLASTIC.”

“Will a McDonald’s cup work?” I asked....

When we arrived to the Cayman Islands, the first person we met was the owner of a yellow, flower and palm-dotted, intimate B&B, where we were to stay for the week, named George.

On the third day there, I asked him, “Would you ever sell the place?” craning my neck upwards from the lawn chair where I sat at the back of his property near the pool. George stood above me, slouched forward, a pleasant, self-assured elderly man of short stature. His face inched closer to mine after each new sentence, his fat Scottish nose doing the leading.

“And let me tell you something else,” he said.

Then he went on, with a long, colorful story of how he was allegedly defrauded of millions of pounds (money) by an unscrupulous businessman on Grand Cayman. (The islands are British overseas territory.) At the end of it, he asked if he could have my email address so he could send me some confidential stuff.

“Sure,” I said. ‘Great, now I’m part of the family,’ I thought.

Back home in Massachusetts, I heard from George a lot at first. All his emails had contained highly sensitive information—PDFs of signed legal documents, evidence of fraud—information uniquely suited to a former, fidgety PI. After receiving five emails in two days, I knew I needed to offer him some sort of advice, however fruitless. So I did. And in a reply email where George had copied himself, his sister and her husband, and his son in on the email response to my suggestion that he contact ActionFraud, the UK’s national reporting center for fraud, for some general advice, I saw the following, to all, from his son:

“Who is David [Me]?”

And that’s when the real story began.

P. S. Three weeks later, I experienced roughly twelve days of severe mental work stress that would later culminate in the onset of severe ME/CFS symptoms.

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Cloudyskies
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