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Fraudpocalypse: Chapter Six



Grandpa Bonhoeffer was a gentle old man. He walked to the door with a cane to greet them and ushered them into a room with a pitcher of sweet tea.

“What brings you over here Tessa? Introducing your boyfriend to me?” Tess slightly blushed.

“No grandpa. This is Dr. Harrison James. He goes by Mont…”

“Dr. James!” Grandfather Bonhoeffer interrupted. “I remember hearing about you. Weren’t you the one who stopped the Moon Rental Scam a few years back? How’d you do it?”

“We tracked the scammers down through a few of the victims and educated the public that the moon isn’t actually something you can rent.”

“Excellent and pleased to meet you.” He turned back to Tess. “Okay, what can I do for you?”

“Grandpa, we went to the island. We saw the document.”

“You saw the prophecy? It’s been so long. Wait, why? Did you both go?”

“We did,” she said. “Grandpa, it is coming.” She pointed to her tattoo of an “F”. It solved the puzzle that James had in his mind since he met Tess. He remained peaceful but pointed to a matching patch of ink on his arm.

“Where is the Fraudometer Tess?”

“How do you know about that?” asked James.

“I created it, Dr. James,” the old man answered. “Has it reached 70% yet?”

“No, it was higher,” she turned it on. “93%.” The grandfather’s countenance changed; he looked exasperated. He took the device from Tess and gazed at the number.

“Dear Lord,” he said aloud. “What did you find on that island dear?”

“We did not get far. The story of Schneider and Uberfroder. Someone knew we were coming. Someone didn’t want us there. We escaped from that place just before it was blown up.”

“Blown up? It is gone?”

“I’m sorry,” she didn’t know what else to say.

“It’s been in our family for so long. We should have never let the government get their grubby hands on it. It was something that your father and I disagreed with.” His mood had clearly changed, but still being sharp of mind he took to thinking silently. “No matter, this is actually a good thing for us. It is a good thing for both of you.”

“Of course,” chimed in James. “We are alive.”

“You were little when I told you the story of the Fraud Breakers. Do you remember anything?”

“It is all vague,” Tess replied.

“One of the last pieces of the prophecy regarding Fraudpocalypse was taken from the monk Schneider on his death bed. Some regarded it as mad ravings. You see, Uberfroder was long gone, and you have this old monk railing on about him ending the world. It must have seemed crazy to many of those in the monastery. A doctor was called in to see if anything could be done for the poor soul. Schneider, in a lucid state, relayed the prophecy in full the medical professional, who was also a man of faith.

“He told the doctor that the prophecy would be written down and saved until the time of the end. And in the end, there would be an opportunity to stop it. Further, it would come down to two people. Two people called Fraud Breakers would have the ability to stop Fraudpocalypse. He didn’t know how. But those two people would be the last ones to see the prophecy before it was destroyed…I think you know where I am going with this.”

“I…am…a Fraud Breaker?” Tess asked stunned. Dr. Harrison “Montana” James remained silent. The past day had shown him a lot. The world was plunging into a swindler’s chaos. But to cause the end of all mankind; it was still a little much. Rather than to put forth any reservations, he decided to remain respectful to both of those in the room with him, who believed so fervently. Even if they are wrong, he though, the work still needs done.

“You are dear, and I’m so proud of you. There are a few more things to mention. The doctor who tended to Schneider on his death bed was a Bonhoeffer. He is the one who came up with the tattoo idea that has been in our family for generations. He is why we have a legacy tied to the coming of Fraudpocalypse. And now that legacy extends to you stopping the event. One other thing, because you don’t have much time. The Fraud Breakers will need to confront the Uberfroders. Remember what was said, they will lead government, influence society, and attack industry.”

“What do we do?” James knew it would be time to act soon, though he still didn’t know quite what.

“Do you have any leads?”

“Seeing as we have nearly been blown up by someone in the Department of Anti-Fraud Technologies, I’d say we should start there.”

“That is a good choice.” Old Bonhoeffer’s phone rang, and he went to answer it. “Hello? What, is that you Tess?” He gave Tess a wink which went unnoticed by Monty. “What’s that you say Tess? You are in a prison in Amsterdam?” The old man’s face was lit up.

“Sir,” started James, thinking the man senile. “That is a grandparent’s scam. Tess is right here. You should hang up the…”

“He knows Monty,” she called him Monty again. “I’m sitting right here. Grandpa likes to mess with the phone scammers when they call. He will have them on the phone for a few hours at least.”

“Tess, what do you mean they won’t let you?!” This time the elderly man winked at James to reassure him he was not falling for the scam. “That’s preposterous…yes, let me speak with the police officer. Hang in there sweetie, I’ll get you out. And to think, I didn’t even know you were in Amsterdam.”

“His record is five hours and twenty minutes. He had the scammer crying for their mother in the end. He is a great, loving old man, but relentless when it comes to these scammers.”

“Over five hours? That is a World Endurance Scam Call Championship level time. Has he ever thought about going professional? I hear the 48 Hours of Phone Scam Calls is coming up soon.”

“No, it is just a hobby he’s really good at. Ready to go?”

“Yes, I think so…Fraud Breaker.” She smiled at him and waived to Dr. Bonhoeffer to indicate their intention to leave. He waived back and whispered “good luck” and “I love you” under his breath, then went back to his phone call with the fictitious Amsterdam police officer. James waived as well and was about to leave, but a picture of a strange vehicle came on the screen and caught his eye. He listened to the commercial and his blood turned cold.

“Looking for a new car that gets over 70 miles per gallon? Want to drive the most exciting idea that ever happened to personal transportation? The Twenty-First Century Motor Car Corporation is proud to reintroduce the 2024 Dale. With a design so perfect, we’ve changed nothing for the 50th anniversary.”

“I believe,” muttered Monty to Tess. “I believe in Fraudpocalypse. This is too much. Now we are reliving the past. What are we at now on the Fraudometer? 94%?” She turned on the device.

“95%! We have to go now. At this rate, it will all end in a few hours.” And with that they went to their transport, their next stop the Department of Anti-Fraud Technologies.

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