Pugalicious Superstar McMillan Identifies A 'Graham Cracker' Business Scam
A few years ago I came up with a bedtime story series for my boys about a pug that got into all kinds of trouble (and was constantly eating excessive amounts of food). For this blog I am repurposing Pugalicious Superstar McMillan to highlight scams. I'm not expecting this to be turned into a children's book series (though it would be really cool to see this illustrated).
Pugalicious Superstar McMillan Identifies A 'Graham Cracker' Business Scam
Pugalicious Superstar McMillan was a plump pug who loved graham crackers. He adored the crispiness and milk dunkability of them. Honey? Chocolate? Cinnamon? They were all his favorite.
One day while devouring a pizza, chicken wings, scrambled egg toaster strudels, and guzzling a few three-liter sodas with his friend, ZL1 Camaro, the graham cracker craving hit Pugalicious hard.
"I could eat a truckload of grahams," the dog said triumphantly.
"Vroom vroom," agreed ZL1 (because he was a car, and this is how he talked). His 'vroom' met that he too could go for some of the crackers.
Pugalicious was kind of a lazy dog. Unless something was very interesting or exciting, he liked to chill, eating and sleeping. Sometimes he would eat in his sleep and wake up the next morning to empty snack boxes.
His laziness combined with his want of graham crackers led him to the internet. He had heard of a homemade graham cracker baker in the area. They even delivered. Searching 'graham crackers' on his social media account, he was happy to see the results. Lots and lots of graham crackers! But one post in particular caught his eye.
"Do you love graham crackers? Ever thought of starting your own business? I am looking for a partner for my graham cracker company. It isn't a lot of work. I really just need help running the books. I'll go ‘50/50’ and thrown in all the graham crackers you want!"
All the graham crackers I want? He questioned what that could mean. He could eat a few boxes in a sitting. He read on.
"For more information on partnering, contact me, Sneasel Sleasel the Weasel." It gave a number to call.
This is nearly too good to be true, thought the pug. Money, food, and the prestige of owning a business. The idea made Pugalicious sit up straight. No more slouching for him; he would become a business owner.
"Change of plans ZL1!" He told the car. "I am going to own a stake in the graham cracker industry." He picked up his phone, which was shaped like a duck, and dialed the number on the post.
"Sleasel Enterprises, this is Sneasel," a high pitched and raspy sounding voice said.
"I saw your post about the graham cracker company. I love graham crackers!"
"Sure you do. That is just what I'm looking for in a business partner. You’re in!"
"It was that easy? I can't believe it." Pugalicious was beaming, tongue sticking out with his tail wagging. Why wasn't everything this easy?
"Okay, so I need you to work the books. It isn't too hard. I'm going to send you a check. You know what that is, right? Sure you do. I need you to deposit it at your bank and get the money out as soon as possible."
"When can I get the Graham's?"
"Yeah yeah, all that will come but this check thing has to happen if I send it to you. Got it? If we don't get this money in and out fast, I can't make any graham crackers."
"Got it!" Pugalicious relayed his name and contact information to Sneasel. The weasel quickly got off the phone. Business owners were just busy like that, he told himself. Having successfully completed his first task as an up-and-coming business owner, he ate three double cheeseburgers and a chili cheese burrito. Doing business stuff was hard work and gave him quite an appetite.
It only took a few days for Sneasel's check to come in the mail. The weasel provided a letter telling Pugalicious how to register the company and open a business account at his bank. Having read the letter, the dog took a look at the check.
A check for $1,548,245.32! That would buy a lot of ingredients to make a ton of graham crackers. Pugalicious smelled the check. It didn't smell like it came from a graham cracker factory. Something wasn't right about this. It smelled funny.
"To the order of Gerald's Frozen Brussel Sprouts Inc." Brussel sprouts, what was this? Sneasel had answered the phone with ‘Sleasel Enterprises’. Something wasn't right. Smelling the check again, the dog realized that it even smelled like the sprouts. He picked up the duck phone.
"Pugalicious! My favorite pup, the best business partner a weasel could hope for. Did you deposit the check? Did you send the funds? GRAHAM CRACKERS, buddy, am I right?" Sleasel was talking quickly. At the mention of graham crackers, Pugalicious Superstar McMillan was temporarily distracted. They would taste so good. Then he remembered why he had called the weasel.
"Sneasel, what is going on with this check? It is made payable to Gerald's Frozen Brussel Sprouts Inc. I don't want to own a Brussel sprout company. What is going on?"
"Ehh...diversification my dear dog. We need to balance the crackers with the sprouts. Y'know, like chicken and waffles or peanut butter and jelly...graham crackers and Brussel sprouts! Go ahead and deposit the check now. I am counting on you!"
Pugalicious really wanted to be a graham cracker titan. In his dream the previous night he stacked grahams to the ceiling before gobbling them up. Strangely, when he woke up, he could not find his pillow. He wanted to believe Sneazel, but something kept pulling at him. Something was not right.
"I'm going to call Gerald's Frozen Brussel Sprouts Inc. before I do anything else..."
"NO!" The weasel shouted. He paused and lowered his voice. "No, we have a massive remodeling going on over there. The building will be closed for the next few days."
"I'll call anyway," Pugalicious said defiantly. "Goodbye." Sneasel Sleasel the Weasel started to protest, but the duck phone was put back in place. The dog picked it up again after looking up the Brussel Sprouts factory and called.
"Gerald's Frozen Brussel Sprouts Inc., Jerry here."
Pugalicious introduced himself and explained how he had come by the check. It turned out that Gerald's company was waiting on the money but that it hadn't come. Instead, some weasel had stolen the check and had tried to get Pugalicious to do the dirty work of depositing it and sending the money to the crooked vermin.
Gerald (Jerry) was thankful. The police were contacted and the information about Sneasel was given to them. Brussel Sprout production would continue now that the check had been sent to its rightful owner. Jerry even sent Pugalicious a large supply of frozen Brussel Sprouts.
When Pugalicious and ZL1 got bored they would defrost the frozen vegetables, go into the backyard, and have "Brussel Sprout Wars" where they would relentlessly pelt one another with thrown sprouts. It was a lot of fun.
Weeks later, Pugalicious Superstar McMillan and ZL1 Camaro were eating ice cream and watching the news on TV.
"And in crime news, Sneasel Sleasel the Weasel has been arrested for identity theft after posing as Fredrick Ferret. The weasel was also operating multiple business scams where he would send unsuspecting victims stolen checks, convincing them that they were business partners with him."
"Wow!" exclaimed Pugalicious. "I'm sure glad I said no to that guy. It does remind me though, I could go for some graham crackers."
"Vroom vroom," vroomed ZL1 in agreement. And they had graham crackers and milk.