Prince of Nigeria Brower.pdf

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Prince of Nigeria
Jacob Brower
But no, she’s sure. This one is not a scam.
Greetings, it says, from sunny Abidjan,
Cote D’Ivoire! Ek’asan! I write on behalf of
my client—Mr. Adebowale Okoye, deposed
prince of Nigeria—who, following the violent
death of his exiled father, has come into an
inheritance totaling (US$15M) FIFTEEN
It is a large sum, which Mr. Okoye would
like to put toward causes both charitable and
religious. My client is a lonely man, without
any family, and has prayed many nights for
guidance. For your trouble, Mrs. Merlo, he
offers to allocate 15% of all current and future
funds to you and/or your family. Eku ori
ire! Please respond ASAP, including within:
1) your routing number, so Mr. Okoye may
transfer his funds into your personal account,
and 2) any suggestions on how best to invest
the money in your home country. Od’igba!
At eighty-three, Arlene’s dexterity is not
what it once was. Nor is her vision. She spends
two hours each morning clicking slowly
through her emails, deleting most. There are
book club notices, eBay auction reminders,
petitions for her digital signature. Notes from
her son, his daughters. Advertisements for


pornography. Always the sad-storied people
asking for money.
Lonely herself, Arlene can understand
the impulse—with nothing but a computer
connecting you and the world—to reach out.
After all, her own son no longer visits; they
remain in touch through holiday newsletters
and the occasional phone call, and it has been
this way for months. There was a time, not
so long ago, when Dominic stopped by every
weekend to watch the Yankees on her little TV,
a family tradition.
“Ma,” he’d said, during one of his final
visits, “you really should start cleaning the
place up.”
She told him she would, or perhaps that
she had already. Made one of her usual excuses.
She told him please sit. Couldn’t they just
enjoy the game together?
“Just promise me.” He cleared a space on
the sofa. “Promise you’ll start on one room,
one corner of one room.”
So of course she promised, and the Yankees
lost 3-1 to Detroit, and it was a while before he
bothered her about the mess again, that final
time, the time he’d stopped visiting for good.
Arlene squints and rereads the email, no