Phyllis: Part Ten

This is the tenth part of a fiction serial, in 778 words.

Terence strolled into the lobby of the nice hotel and sat down on a plush armchair with an oblique view of the long reception desk. When a waitress appeared moments later, he ordered a coffee, pleased that you did not need to be resident in the hotel to use the facilities at a price. The coffee was still warm when he saw a red-faced man walk in alone and enquire at the desk. He certainly wasn’t seventy-seven, more like fifty. His suit was crumpled, and he was mopping his face with a handkerchief, even though it wasn’t hot inside.

The receptionist checked her computer, and shook her head. The man said something, and she checked again. Looking confused, he nodded, and turned to leave.

Leaving enough money to cover the bill for the coffee, Terence stood up and followed the man out onto the street. When he was a few feet behind him, he spoke in a loud voice. “Lawrence, I presume? You look nothing like your photo, I have to say”. The man turned and smiled, but Terence wasn’t smiling when he spoke again. “Let’s walk and talk”. As Lawrence hadn’t replied, he led the conversation.

“So what’s the deal? You are obviously the man claiming to be Colman-Tolliver. Don’t deny it, I can sense it. What’s with the profile photo and the other nonsense. How did you expect to explain yourself to me?” The man stopped in the gateway of a big house, seemed to think about what to say, and then came right out with it.

“You’re a man, that’s obvious to me. This is what I do for a living, searching the dating sites for likely people. I spotted you right away, and knew what your game was. What if I was to mention a man named Geoffrey? That rings a bell, yes? I was trying my best with him, using a profile photo of a mature actress, hoping to drag him into something favourable to my situation. I saw that he liked your photo, then all of a sudden he disappeared. deleted his presence on the website. It didn’t take me long to work out what had happened, so I thought I would reverse the process”.

It hadn’t occurred to Terence that others were doing the same thing as he was. He started walking again.

“What do you expect from me, whatever your name is?” He was stopped by a firm hand on his shoulder. “Well I reckon it must be worth five grand to you for me not to expose you on the site. You must have other contacts saved, and you will get more than that from them, I bet. Then again, maybe not, considering you were stupid enough to fall for my alter-ego of Lawrence. The profile photo was of some old Scottish bloke, long dead. He was fond of shooting and fishing, judging by the photos I found online. I used to live in Norfolk years ago, and knew about the Colman family having big money. I dangled the bait, and you snapped it up”.

If they had not have been on a public street, Terence might well have broken the man’s nose. But he did have a point. He had been careless, and fallen for it exactly as had been described. But he was not about to fall at the first hurdle. Changing his voice from the gentle tones of Phyllis, he laughed as he replied.

“Do it then. Tell who you want that I am a man. Believe me, I get enough offers from those who don’t care either way. Besides, there are other sites, and marks have short memories. You’ll get no money from me, so you might as well crawl back into whatever shithole you came from. As for Geoffrey, you will never get an admission from him. He will back me up one hundred percent. He would sooner die than anyone find out the truth”.

His face getting redder, the man seemed to be deflated. He had obviously expected an easy victory, a speedy payment, and would have come back for more. He wasn’t as good as he thought he was at this game, Terence was sure of that. The best he could manage was bluster. “You’ll be sorry, mark my words. I will make sure anyone you go after knows what you are”. With that he turned to leave, mopping his face. As he walked off, Terence called after him.

“Get your blood pressure checked. Looking at your face, I doubt you are long for this world”.

But as he walked back to his genuine hotel, he realised he had learned a valuable lesson.

41 thoughts on “Phyllis: Part Ten

  1. I’m sure in this game you always learn a lesson but there will always be someone smarter than you…Terence just hasn’t met them yet…Time will tell…Well-written episode Pete…Tweeted for you 🙂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, I got this one right. (About time) It just happened sooner than expected. My next prediction is that at some point in Terrence’s scheming, something will go awry, which will go much further than bilking someone out of their money.

    This is some background on the TV show I mentioned before called Catfish. Many of the episodes turn out to be someone impersonating someone else. Usually, they develop an online relationship but can never Skype or meet up.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I have been happily married for 36 years with no experience or interest in online dating, though I have watched a few episodes of that show. It’s more of a curiosity of human nature and understanding why people pretend to be someone their not. Your story is of a similar premise.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. (1) Orange you glad I noticed the red face, as well as the warm coffee in a hot lobby?
    (2) Overheard:
    Terence: “Lawrence, I presume?”
    Lawrence: “Well, I’m not Dr. Livingstone!”
    (3) Using his walkie-talkie, a walker-talker talked to another walker-talker who also had a walkie-talkie, and said, “Let’s walk and talk.”
    (4) A doting father took out his handkerchief, and whispered to his darling red-faced child, “Here, moppet.”
    (5) Meanwhile, the foxes and the fishes in Scotland are celebrating the death of an old bloke.
    (6) Q&A:
    Q: What did the fisherman say to the red snapper?
    A: “I dangled the bait, and you snapped it up.”

    Liked by 1 person

        1. I intentionally did not complete (7) so that I could continue playing with the word “snap,” but did so by imagining a conversation where you “snapped” at me for an incomplete comment. That’s why I used a colon instead of a comma after the names. It was supposed to be amusing, not accusatory.

          Liked by 1 person

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