How We Lived on It (43) – Here’s to Hakram Bobo


Friend X is is seeking to rent the attic apartment of her home. Youngest son is away at college, oldest son is off to explore a new career in a burgeoning South American economy, and the house is feeling just a lot of twigs and leaves right now. The money wouldn’t hurt, and with the right female tenant there would be footsteps on the stairs and a little displacement of the vacuum in the kitchen.

So X placed an ad on Craigslist.

“What do you make of this,” she asked me. X read me one of the replies she had received.

“Is the apartment still available? Can you tell me something about it?”

That was all.

Except for the correspondent’s name: Hakram Bobo

I laughed.

“It’s a lure,” I said. “I got a lot of those when I was selling the motor home. Your first thought is ‘Yes, it’s still available, moron – I just put the ad up yesterday. I already told you something about it. And I asked to know something about you, which you didn’t tell me.” But what they’re doing, first, is trying to get you to unmask your email address by responding to them. Then you’re open to anything, from email account hacking to attempts to hook an apparently gullible person into a scheme.”

X was enlightened and amused. We moved on in our conversation. What she didn’t do was tell me she had already replied. (She’s a trusting soul, my X)

X’s reply read, “Yes, the apartment is still available. Tell me something about yourself.”

That’s all. X had given away nothing, except to reveal her email address, so of course, there was a further response.

From Hakram Bobo.

Thanks for getting back to me,everything sounds good. Well,I’m an easy going person with special interest in swimming. I don’t drink nor smoke,no pets,I’m a very busy woman also. I need to secure this room for myself before i arrive to the state as I’ll be moving in with my luggage. You seem to be a very interesting person to be with and I must confess to you that you will enjoy staying with me in the house because i make people smile always.Well am a chemist by profession and i am currently working with St Thomas’ Hospital, Lambeth Palace Road, LONDON SE1 7EH Guy’s Hospital, StThomas Street, London SE1 9RT.I am married with a kid.Although they will not be coming with me to the state.I will travel to London to visit them once in a while. am ready to come back to state as soon as you release the room for me and during my stay i will be working with the United State Environmental Protection Agency on a private research work….It will be a great pleasure seeing you soon.I think you should let me know a lil about you too.

As it happens, what I love about the sad red earth – and how we lived on it, by the by – is the fascinating variety of people you get to meet, just by living a life. People with a special interest in swimming, let’s say, or who make people smile always. It’s the little things.

X, for instance, thought the “lil” in “lil about you too” absolutely darling.

Since that communique, X has heard nothing further from Hakram Bobo. The intersection of their lives has come and passed. Still, I like to think of her out there somewhere, doing that things she does, boarding a plane for Lagos, sitting down at a computer, dashing off a missive to a woman in Kansas City informing her that an unknown person of unaccountable wealth has recently, very sadly passed, but left Kansas City a rather substantial sum of money, acquirable by first contacting a solicitor at a very long address in in London.

And making people smile.

We all have our missions in life.

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