Email from a U.S. soldier in Iraq

My name is Staff Sgt. James Coker; I am an American soldier, serving in
the military with the army’s 3rd infantry division.

What a pleasant surprise to get an email from you, Sgt. Coker. You’re the first soldier who has taken the time to write to me and I’m really honored.

With a very desperate
need for assistance, I have summed up courage to contact you.  I found your contact particulars in an address journal.

Address journal? Was it lying around on the streets of Baghdad? I keep telling my friends to be more careful with their "address journals."

I am seeking
your kind assistance to move the sum of US$8m (eight million United States
dollars) to you in United States; as far as I can be assured that my share will be safe
in your care until I complete my service here.

Eight million dollars? Wow, that’s a lot of money. Of course, you can be assured that I’ll spend it well take good care of it. Thank you for selecting me for this shopping spree opportunity. Wait till I tell my wife about this! She likes to go shopping help others too.

Source of money: Some money in US dollars were discovered in dog kennels at a farm house
and guest houses in an estate near one of Saddam`s old palaces in Baghdad,
during an operation, and it was agreed by Staff Sgt. Kenneth Buff, Sgt.
1st Class Daniel Van Ess and I that some part of this money be shared
amongst us before informing anybody about it.

You found the money in dog kennels? What a great hiding place. I would have never looked inside dog kennels. You guys are great. It’s amazing that you didn’t find those WMDs.

Since both of them saw the money
first, they did the informing, while I played the outsider to protect our interest.
This was quite an illegal thing to do, but I tell you what? No compensation can
make up for the risk we have taken with our lives in this hell hole, in which
my brother in-law was killed by a road side bomb last time.

You’re absolutely right. And you know what? I take a lot of risks on
my job too — every time I open my computer, I’m afraid it might crash
and injure me — so I’m quite deserving of whatever money you share
with me.

The above figure was given to me as my share, and to conceal this
kind of money became a problem for me, even after the initial probe of
all soldiers of our command which I was cleared from; so with the help
of a British contact working here and his office enjoy some immunity, I
was able to get the package out to a safe location entirely out of
trouble spot. He does not know the real contents of the package, and
believes that it belongs to a British/American medical doctor who died
in a raid here in Iraq, and before giving up, trusted
me to hand over the package to his family in United States.

You’re brilliant, coming up with a scheme like that. I’m glad you’re not trying to deceive me in any way.

I have now found a
much secured way of getting the package out of Iraq to your country for you to pick
up, and I will discuss this with you when I am sure that you are willing to
assist me, and I believe that my money will be well secured in your hand because you
have the fear of God.

Yes, I do have the fear of God. And I also have the fear of dog. I would never be able to look inside dog kennels, like you did.

I want you to tell me how much you will take from this money for the
assistance you will give to me. One passionate appeal I will make to you is not to
discuss this matter with anybody, should you have reasons to reject this offer,
please and please destroy this message as any leakage of this information will
be too bad for us soldier’s here in Iraq and tarnish the reputation of other
services men.

You can trust me, Sgt. Coker. I would never share your message with
anyone. I wouldn’t want to tarnish the reputation of U.S. servicemen,
especially when you’re doing such a good job of that yourselves.

I do not know how long we will remain here, and I have been shot,
wounded and survived two suicide bomb attacks by the special grace of God, this
and other reasons I will mention later has prompted me to reach out for
help, I honestly want this matter to be resolved immediately, please contact me
as soon as possible with my private e-mail address which is
for now my only way of communication until I specify otherwise. God bless you and your family.

Thank you for writing, Sgt. Coker. I will be in contact with you
shortly. Until then, may God be with you. May He keep you alive, at
least until you send me the money.

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through and You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.

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