Have you ever considered what key ingredients you would include if you had to write out a recipe for a successful relationship? If I were to do so, the main ingredient would be ‘trust’. I’d also throw in common interests, loyalty and mutual respect, but without ‘trust’, the whole thing’s going to fall apart at some point. In the relationships I have with my siblings, ‘trust’ is clearly lacking. I have several siblings that I avoid at all costs because I’ve been ‘burnt’ too many times to count. With my sisters, I don’t ‘trust’ that they won’t twist and warp what I say and turn it into something ugly. It has happened far too many times. With most of my brothers, the primary issue between us has to do with a lack of mutual respect. And then there’s ‘Wily Fox’. There are no common interests, there is no mutual respect, there is no loyalty and there is, without a doubt, absolutely no ‘trust’. Zero. Zip. Nada.
It doesn’t help that he’s known as being the family ‘shyster’. He has a way about him, a charisma, a charm, that most people fall for. He has a smile that can light up a room, but I am familiar enough with his ‘wily ways’ that I know there’s an ‘agenda’ behind that smile. He can talk himself into or out of just about anything. His prowess is quite amazing. However, he’s never found a way into my life even though he’s tried a handful of times. Whenever he reaches out, I immediately become guarded because I know there’s something that he wants and oftentimes it’s for shady reasons. He’s been conning people for as long as I can remember. And the few times he has reached out, things just didn’t add up. It doesn’t help that I know about his past. It’s hard to ‘let him in’ when I know how skilled he is at manipulating people. He could probably teach a class on it. He is THAT good!
What has he done? I cannot tell you what he did to land himself in ‘juvie’ but I do know that after he was released (I am uncertain of the timeline), when he was pulled over by a cop for God-knows-what, my brother handed the cop a license that didn’t belong to him. Who did it belong to? Another one of my brothers, ‘Turtle’ to be exact. Of course, ‘Turtle’ had no idea that ‘Wily Fox’ had taken his license and used it fraudulently until he was served with an arrest warrant. As you can imagine, he was none too pleased. ‘Wily Fox’ also has a track record with shady car deals. Let this be a lesson to you all. If you sell your vehicle to anyone, I don’t care how nice their smile is or how charming they are, pull the license plates! I don’t care how much they reassure you that they are going to go directly to the DMV to register the car, pull the plates!
Why am I being so insistent about this? Despite his assurances, my brother is notorious for not following through. One way he ‘makes his living’ is by finding old junkers, using them for a while, and then turning around and selling them for a profit. The problem is, the minute the money exchanges hands and he drives off with his newly purchased vehicle, the ‘DMV’ is the last place on his mind. He might hang onto the vehicle for days, weeks or months, but one thing he doesn’t have a tendency to do is register it in his own name. And while he drives it around and parks it in no parking zones, crosses toll bridges and commits any number of parking violations, he apparently doesn’t think about all of the grief that sweet little 89-year-old Ms. Huckabee, the gullible person that sold him the vehicle, is going through.
Ms. Huckabee keeps getting notices in the mail for parking tickets and toll fees and other traffic violations. She is incredibly confused by the recent uptick in mail delivery to her home. “There must be a misunderstanding,” she thinks to herself as she shakes her head in disbelief, “I sold that old Chrysler months ago.” Yes, my brother likes to pick on the old and vulnerable. So many seniors are trusting and easy to persuade. For him, it takes so little. A charming smile is usually all it takes to do the trick. He doesn’t just limit his ‘shady dealings’ to cars, he also likes to pull the ‘if you could just front me the money’ trick. Haven’t heard of that trick before? Ok, let me fill you in. The first critical part of that trick is finding a vulnerable senior that could use some ‘help around the house’. It could involve painting their home, installing sheetrock, trimming their hedges or mowing their lawn.
Seems harmless, right? Who wouldn’t want to help a vulnerable senior citizen? Not so fast! The second part of the trick involves sharing a ‘hard luck’ story about how your funds are low and you’ll need 100% of the money ‘up front’ in order to buy the necessary supplies to do the job. Uh-oh! Another warning, my friends. NEVER pay the entire amount ‘up front’ for anything. The third part of the trick is handing over a business card with your mother’s address and phone number as the contact info. It looks perfectly legit. And hey, if he’s got an official looking business card, he’s got to be legit, right? Wrong! Anyone can print out a business card. They’re worth about as much as the paper they’re printed on. My mom used to ‘love’ all of the angry phone calls and letters she’d receive from people that my brother had conned. The fourth part of the trick is called, “Now you see me, now you don’t.” This is the part where the senior citizen hands over a check or a wad of cash to my brother and he climbs into his vehicle, never to return.
He’s also really great at conning old ladies into free room and board. I am telling you, he could teach a class! But he doesn’t just limit his ‘shady dealings’ to ladies, he’s also conned an elderly man or two (or more). The one I’m most aware of is this older gentleman that he started bringing to the family holiday dinners out of the blue. I don’t remember the man’s name, I only met him once. However, I do know that my brother was eventually declared or assigned as the executor on his will. Upon the gentleman’s passing, my brother got everything, including his house. Does he still have the house? Oh, no!! He sold the house, and with the money from the sale, he went on a humdinger of a ‘vacation’. He flew all over the country, stayed at the finest hotels, ate out every meal, and went to a bunch of live concerts, paying top dollar for VIP tickets so he could actually meet the entertainers. He didn’t bother to buy a decent vehicle that would last or put any of the money into savings. He blew through it like there was no tomorrow.
The few interactions we’ve had, he’s made some ‘odd’ requests. The first one that comes to mind is when he asked whether we had any old license plates and if he could have them. My husband’s antennas went up immediately. If it were anyone else, maybe. But for someone that’s known for their ‘shady dealings’ with vehicles? Not a chance! The second one that comes to mind is when he contacted me (out of the blue) and asked if I could post a ‘van for sale’ on Craigslist on his behalf. I hadn’t heard from him in probably over a year and then he suddenly wanted me to post something on Craigslist for him? The thing that really seemed peculiar is that he was in another state altogether. He made up a lame excuse as to why he couldn’t do it himself and I sensed he was ‘working me’. I did eventually agree to do it but I think I actually outmaneuvered him and he was completely taken aback when he realized what I had done.
Once he gave me all of the details and sent the photos, I asked him for his email address. When I finished the ad, I reached out to him via text. “You should be receiving an email in the next couple of minutes. You will need to click on the link and agree to the terms in order for it to be published,” I said. The next thing you know, he wrote back, “You put it under my name and email?” “Yes!” I replied, “I don’t want to be the middleman.” I don’t know what he was thinking but I think I outfoxed the fox. He never asked me to do that again. The last time I heard from him, he once again ‘appeared’ from out of the blue. He started talking about how the rest of the family had cut him off and he was grateful that I replied back when he texted. It then turned into, “Do you mind meeting up with my landlord on Sunday at 7:00pm and paying her my rent? I’m out of town and in the middle of a job, and in order to pay her, I’d have to drive 6 hours total (3 each way) and I really need to get this job done. It would really help me out.”
Wait a minute! I hadn’t seen my brother in at least 4 years and I’d only heard from him a handful of times via text since then, and suddenly he wants me to get involved in his personal business dealings? Of course, he’d pay me back through PayPal, he assured me. Sorry. No can do! Something about that whole thing didn’t ‘smell’ right and I had no interest in getting involved. As much as I love him, I simply don’t trust him. He has ‘burned’ almost every member of my family and that’s a state I’d rather not find myself in. My sisters have ‘burnt’ me enough as it is. Anyway, you’ve probably heard enough about ‘Wily Fox’. There are far more ‘tales’ that I could share but I think you’ve got a pretty good idea of what kind of character he is. If you can take anything from this, please heed my warning about pulling your plates when you sell your vehicle and never pay 100% ‘up front’ for services. I promise, it’ll save you a lot of unnecessary grief.