Thick smoke bellowed from his pursed lips and dissipated into thin air as it made its ascent towards the POP ceiling, the air conditioned room was at least eighteen degrees, yet he sat naked from the waist up, his mind occupied with thoughts that far outweighed the cold.
Isaac had known for a long time that he was not destined to make it in life the right way, he was not the clichéd good boy turned bad or poor boy hustling any which way to make ends meet, in fact he came from a very wealthy family, so wealthy even that his father had disowned him because his wayward ways were threatening to tarnish the pristine image, he had spent years and fortune creating. His father was good with numbers, his older brother was good with people, their only sister was a medical doctor, his younger brother was on his way to becoming a practicing lawyer, yet Isaac had been stuck seven years in the university reading a four year course. Education was not his calling, he had told his father that much but the old man would not listen; he was not going to have a half baked literate in his home, he had told Isaac several times.
Isaac had his father’s penchant for numbers and his brother; Albert’s finesse with people and had wanted a little money to travel abroad and get into the import and export business but his father had insisted that he must first finish school before he started to nurse any such thought.
His first dance with crime was in his first year in the university, he had walked into his father’s room on an errand and happened upon his cheque book, he tore out three slips, from in between the sleeves, so that only a keen eye would notice the discrepancies with the serial numbers. Forging his father’s signature had been easy; needless to say his first year was glorious, since the guys and girls flocked around the one with the biggest wad in his pocket.
Since he could not depend on the chance that his father would leave his cheque book unguarded again, he sorts other means to fuel his lavish lifestyle. It was during this period that he had been introduced to the Supreme Vikings Confraternity, where he met a lot of people of like mind and drive; rules were wasted on them and they were all on a fast lane to life. At this point his education began to suffer, while others were in school, he and his friends would be at the bar drinking beer and making trouble, even when he did go to school, he always ended up at the back which was always reserved for the NAS (Non Academic Students); students who weren’t actually considered students by their peers, because they only appeared during tests and exams.
For a while he got by on his pocket money and what he “obtained” from other students but when the schools anti-cult began to clamp down on cult activities within the campus and its environs, “obtaining” became difficult and after four years, money stopped coming from home as his folks believed he had graduated, even though they did not see any evidence to that effect, still his father had cut him off.
Internet scam became his most viable source of income, it was rife amongst students at the time, the universities were filled with students with questionable source of income, who drove flashy cars and lived luxurious lives. At first it had only being targeting vulnerable older women while posing as foreigners working overseas, the profiles they created to gain access to these women; were usually invented and beautifully crafted or stolen from other social media sites, and were so water tight, that even if a skeptic were to dig, they would not find much, unless they were the FBI or Interpol. They would first begin with small talk and getting to know each other and what they did for a living, where they resided and the likes, then they would arrange a date for when he “got back in four months from his post as an engineer in Africa” helping to build one of the continent’s longest bridge to make up for keeping her waiting, a “small gift” usually jewelry bought with stolen credit cards and the location of the goods bought were rerouted electronically, so many times that authorities lost track of them.
Over time he would buy clothes, shoes and anything else that would tickle the fancy of the mark, all these was done to gain her confidence. Then on the day he would have had to arrive, he would call his mark that he had been robbed by the taxi he had taken to the airport and was now stranded and needed just a few dollars for his flight, hotel and a new phone with a promise of payment on arrival, since he has spent over a thousand dollars on her, his mark would have no qualms sending him two thousand dollars which amounted to about four hundred Nigerian naira; usually a Yahoo boy had more than one mark, some worked out, others didn’t but if three out of five paid that was about one point two million, a lot of money for a student.
Once payment was made, the point man was scrubbed out of existence and a fresh one created. But even “magas”; a term they used for their marks, would not be magas forever and soon the internet love scam began to wane in popularity and they delved into hacking and ATM card splicing which was even more popular and lucrative, even though it required more work.