My Encounter with a Con-Artist in Cairo

I was on my way home, driving behind El-Sedeek Mosque in Sheraton a few minutes ago. I slowed down for a speed bump, and that’s when I saw him at the corner of my eye. A young man in his twenties, typical Egyptian features, dressed in a brownish t-shirt and jeans standing by the side of the road. He was panting, with sweat drizzling down his face. He called out for me.

“Excuse me,” he said “Sir!”

I stopped the car, not because of the goodness of my heart, but because I was already slowed down by the bump. I looked behind me, and saw him walking quickly towards my car.

“Excuse me,” he said out of breath “Can you please help me?”

“What do you want?” I asked

“I’m a lawyer, and my brother just had an accident on the road to Sharm El-Shaikh…”

He paused to dab his forehead with a worn ball of tissue paper.

“I need money for a Super-Jet [Bus] ticket to go and help him, he’s badly injured.”

I didn’t say anything. I just stared at him with a smirk on my face.

“Please?” he pleaded.

I turned my head towards the road with a chuckle, told him to go fuck himself, and pressed on the accelerator, lurching the car forward.

Now, I know how this sounds, how unkind of me? How heartless of me? The man obviously needed help and I just rolled away while laughing at him.

Well, the reason I acted this way is this: He’s a con-artist.

And how do I know that, you ask?

Because about a month ago, while I was on my way home (again), driving on the service road parallel to Salah Salem right before the turn to El-Mosheir Ahmed Ismaeil, I was stopped by that same guy, who told me that same story. Yes, Egypt, yes, that’s right. I was stopped by the same con-artist twice in the same neighborhood. Of course, I did not give him any money the first time because:

1) He didn’t look like a lawyer.

2) If he was a lawyer, he’d be able to afford the bus ticket.

3) His story didn’t add up, and I KNOW STORIES.

Now, you might look at this as an interesting incident, but I look at it as a sorrowful portrayal of what we’ve become. Is this our country? Is this the result of the revolution? Is this the all new, and all improved Egypt? Yes, children, yes it is.

Let’s put the whole incident aside. Why would he do that in the first place? Why would he try to con people like that? Hardship? He’s down on his luck? Maybe, but what I saw was a young man able to work and earn honest money. I just don’t understand, and to tell you the truth, I’m very much afraid to understand. Yeah, yeah, I know, unemployment is high, and blah, but conning people? Is that the answer?

The thing is, if today was a normal day, I wouldn’t have even bothered to write about this, but after everything that happened this morning with the bus/train collision, and that other accident on El-Wahaat Road, I had to say something. All these people who had their lives taken away from them in a blink of an eyes(May their souls rest in peace), why? Why? Why? And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, children, and you know that damn well. We’re spiraling down the sink hole so fast, it’s like an endless nightmare.

Egypt, I want you too look at yourself closely, look at what you’ve become.

My name is Ahmed Nader Gretly, and I’m getting tired of your shit, Egypt.

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About Ahmed Gretly

Ahmed Nader Gretly. Construction/Site Engineer, fiction writer, poet, psychopath, researcher, a book addict, and a daydreamer from Cairo, Egypt. Currently doing Construction Project Management, MSc, at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.
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