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 br85
(@br85)
Trusted Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 37
Topic starter  

right i've typed the story out. ill have to comb over it to see what i can pull from it.

I've been living in Korea for nearly two years now and I had to leave it to find out how soft it had made my defences. Kind of like how you never know how drunk you are until you stand up. I was stopping off in Kuala lumpur Malaysia, purely to get a better price on my trip to Cambodia, plus I reckoned, 2 nights somewhere different beats 10 hours lay over in an airport. Id found a place called reggae hostel online and it sounded like a good place to go meet other travellers and party. I checked into the room, it was sparse but clean enough. Went down stairs, ate, drank, got bored as hell by the people I was meeting, gave up and fell into bed stinking drunk. The next day I was really ready to get out of town but I knew I had another 20 hours to kill so I had a look at what there was to do around the city. PETRONAS WORLD TOWER PLAZA seemed to be the big attraction so off I went on the monorail. Pretty impressive futuristic looking buildings I must say. Still the best building in the world can only keep my attention for a few minutes so I was quickly bored again and headed into a pub to watch some football and get a beer. That beer cost something ridiculous so I was limited to just the one. I Headed outside and sat down next to the lake, reading my book and having a smoke. I stayed for about a half hour and just as I stood up to leave, this little friendly looking phillipino man sits down near me.

At this point out of explanation for later actions I feel the need to explain that while living in Korea my friends and I have, both soberly and drunkenly, met tons of random characters and brought them around with us and followed them places in equal measure. It's a very safe place in relation to the rest of the world with drugs and street crime both being nearly unheard of and so tends to make some people more trusting than they are naturally. I was about to find out that this had happened to me.

So this fella (whose told me his name was Kai) is chatting away, asking how I like Malaysia etc (im happy enough to talk to him due to sheer blinding boredom with how my trips been so far and its fine) and he asks where im from. I say Ireland. He says “Dublin”?, I say Wicklow, just south of there. Hes amazed. His sister has just been accepted to UCD college he says and will be going to Dublin in 6 weeks to study hospitality management for a year. I say “oh that's funny, MY sister studied the exact same subject in Dublin and loved it”. The guys getting very excited and wants me to talk to his sister and hands me a phone, she seems very enthusiastic and nice and asks me if she can make me lunch and talk about Dublin and the course. I say fine. So me and Kai head on and get in a taxi. I do have the thought that this could be dodgy as we're walking towards the cab but I weigh up not having anything of real value on me against the boredom and I got in . Off we go.
We arrive at the house and I slowly approach the door, being careful to have a good look around. I walk through the front door into the living room and am greeted by a woman who I assume is the sister. There's a ageing man sitting down watching television who is introduced as Kai's dad. The woman comes out of the kitchen and is introduced to me as Kai's mother. I ask Kai where his sister is and he says he just found out she has been at the hospital visiting their grandmother and that she's on the way home now. I'm not hugely happy with this but the people are being very friendly and the mothers come out with some nice food and set a table so I let it go. After the meal I thank everyone and sit down on the sofa and have a chat with the dad over a cigarette and a cup of tea. He's asking me what I do etc and I tell him I'm teaching in Korea and then he explains that he works on cruise ships around SE Asia. He tells me he works in the casino onboard. The conversation goes on and I tell him I play a bit of poker with friends but am a bit clueless with the rest of casinos. He asks me if Id like to learn black jack. I say sure. he shows me into his card room and takes out some cards and some chips. He's showing me the betting system and how the cards add up etc and that's fine but as he's talking something in his manner changes and I start to get the sense that his speech and delivery here have been rehearsed. THEN. I get a single slide flash of memory from my drunken stupor pulling the door of the hostel open the night before. BLACKJACK SCAM BEWARE or something along those lines. Suddenly I'm very uncomfortable but I try to maintain composure. Sure enough he swiftly moves into a spiel about how last night he had been dealing blackjack at the downtown Hilton. He had a deal, he says, with a man named Mr. Ahmed who is a rich businessman from Brunei. They were working a system together with the agreement that he would receive 15% of Ahmed's winnings. Ahmed wins $3000 with his assistance but then only gives him $100 dollars. He's not pleased and wants me to help him take Ahmed to the cleaners in a game and cut me into the profit. I say no I don't have the money to gamble. “That's no problem my friend. I will give you the capital of $2000 dollars and we will take this dishonourable mans money”. I tell him no. I wouldn't be comfortable borrowing his money and brace myself for trouble. He tries to convince me in a friendly manner but I decline and tell him I need to be leaving. Kai says ok no problem and drops me off at the train station with an apology for wasting my time and for his sister being a no show. I'm a little shook but happy to have escaped the madness.
I get back to my hostel and re read the sign id seen the night before on the door. Blackjack scams are big in Malaysia apparently. Tourists have been taken for huge amounts recently. I investigate further on the net and in an astonishing moment I find a report from an American who has been robbed of $6000 months earlier. The insane part was that his report of how it went down was the EXACT day I had just lived. The meeting place, the story about the sisters studies, the cruise ship, Mr. Ahmed, everything was the same except that the American guy had entered the game where I had bailed. Ahmed turned up, the dealer lent the player the money, the cards were drawn and the money was lost. 3 fold. I'm relieved. Angry at myself for being trusting in a strange town when once I was so suspicious and wary but relieved. I can only assume using hindsight that someone from the syndicate was hanging around the hostel bar the night before listening to me talk and must have picked up something about my sister studying hospitality and followed me to the towers the next day. At the end of the day all that got taken was lunch. By me. But that could have turned out very differently and I thank my lucky stars I got out of it with a good story and not a nightmare. What was that my mother used to say about not talking to strangers? Lesson learnt.

"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side."


   
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(@nicktorres)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 5381
 

Cool and scary at the same time.

I think you could use the moment of wonder getting into the taxi, the walk to the front door, the sudden realization of the scam, the sudden urge to flee, there is a lot of stuff in there.

How about "talking to strangers?"


   
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(@jamestoffee)
Famed Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 2855
 

Nice work on the story :D

I always have to remind myself to keep up my guard when I head to "tourist spots" in town.... :wink:

I like Nick's suggestion on the title. Another idea could be to play up the card game angle.....Card Sharks, Strip Poker, p...p...p....poker face..... :note1: already done

Thanks for sharing.


   
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