Hailey was feeling antsy and impatient.  She was in the cybercafé, trying to open her email when she noticed that someone was looking at her. Hailey turned around and looked into the hazel eyes of a young woman staring at her curiously. She raised her eyebrows quizzically.

“Hey, I am Shade. Pardon my bad manners; I was staring at you because you have the look of a writer, very intelligent.” Hailey smiled wryly.

“Yeah, I am Hailey, a writer and I must say you’re psychic! How else would you have guessed that I’m a writer?” She returned with amusement in her voice.  Shade nodded knowingly.

“I have a business proposition for you. I train people in freelance writing and I think you will be very interested in what I have to tell you.” Hailey leaned closer to the young lady, giving her permission to continue.

“As I can see that you are a prolific writer, I want to teach you how to register on Elance so that you can start getting freelance writing gigs.” Shade went on, as she scratched the side of her neck. “It’s a once-in-a lifetime-offer, so I’d strongly urge you to sign up for my training today. I plan to travel to Benin in a fortnight’s time and I will be there indefinitely.”

Hailey closed her eyes and rocked from side to side. She had a habit of doing that whenever she was deep in thought. Then she opened her eyes partially, only to see Shade trying hard to prevent herself from laughing. With a sharp edge to her voice, Hailey asked her what was so funny. Nothing, Shade replied.

“I’ll get back to you when I can, Shade. I would like to verify from other sources before I commit myself financially to this training.”

Shade could hardly suppress the hiss that escaped from her lips, so angry was she. Her eyes looked dilated and Hailey could hardly understand what caused such a reaction. Hailey became uneasy.

“Didn’t you get me when I told you about the need to sign up for this training urgently? You’re a writer. I credited you with more intelligence than this.”

“I…” Hailey was at a loss for words. As she struggled to express her reason, her bosom friend, Toni came over.

“Hey, Ladies!” Toni greeted them as she playfully nudged her friend. “I hate to interrupt, but a call just came in. We really need to be on our way.” She told Shade, who had a dark look on her face.

“Oh, come on, whatever you were talking about can’t be that serious.” Toni smiled at Shade. “My friend already has your phone number. She’ll get back to you tomorrow. Bye!”

Both ladies stepped into the sunset. “What was that for?” Hailey asked her friend. “I could have sworn that you were in a hurry to whisk me away.” She observed as she turned towards Toni.

“Yeah, I was. I saw the trend of the conversation, and I knew that woman was up to no good.” Toni replied good-naturedly.

“Now, are you also psychic like Shade?” Hailey asked with wonder in her voice.

“Psychic? I don’t believe in all that woo-woo. Shade is not psychic, she’s just a grifter.”

“Then how did she know I was a writer before I told her?”
“Simple. You were so engrossed with your laptop, you didn’t notice when she looked over your shoulder. She probably saw an email on your system that let her know.” Toni answered, as she smiled at her friend.

Hailey learned that gullibility makes many people lose the possessions they accumulated.

“Even at that, doesn’t mean she’s a grifter.” Hailey retorted.

“No, it doesn’t but when someone pressures you to commit to a project as hurriedly as she did, and acts upset when you say you wish to verify from other sources, it shows the person is about to pull a fast one on you.”

“Oh, really?” Hailey wondered.

“Yes, really. And when the person scratches the back of her neck, that’s proof she is hiding something. Nonverbal communication”

“You take too much stock in all the stuff you read, Toni” Hailey scolded. “I’m still not convinced, by any means.”

OK, maybe you should try to be a little bit skeptical as I am. I fell for grifters in the past, until I read up on how to be less gullible. This has made me less likely to be taken advantage of.” Toni returned placidly.

“That’s fine. But what do I do now? I don’t want to miss out on such a fantastic offer.”

“Verify from other sources like you told her if you still doubt me. In fact, we could do that now. I have internet access on my iPhone.”

A few minutes later, Hailey looked at her friend gratefully. Thank you for whisking me away, she mouthed. I just saw that Shade was a scammer. I read negative reviews about her online. I’m so naïve!

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