He called me and said he wanted to use my computer because his laptop was out of order. I thought this was odd, since the Internet in commercially cheaply available in innumerable places on almost every street. Then I thought perhaps he was trying to save a few quid, but my disquiet heightened sharply when after I'd told him that I would be away at work at the time when he said he'd need to use the computer, he quickly retorted that he would only have to turn up at my doorstep early in the morning before I left home, and that I could then leave the keys of the flat with him..
I left home that morning leaving him in my flat, but with a puzzled frown on my face. Deep down I suspected that he was up to something dubious, but I had no way of knowing what it was. I was trying to be a good friend to a friend who was in need, or so I thought. So I quickly erased all negative thoughts from my mind and focused on my activities for the day ahead. I returned home unusually late that evening and found him still there. I discreetly inspected the flat, but there was nothing to arouse my suspicion or to give an indication as to what he had been up to during my absence. I then dropped him off at home and put the entire episode behind me, although I couldn't stop thinking that it was rather strange that he would insist on using my computer in my flat while I was away. This was almost two weeks ago.
Last evening I was stretched out on the sofa trying to relax after a particularly busy day when my phone rang. I was surprised, since most calls I receive are on the mobile phone. This one was on the land-line, a number that only few people have, none of whom I was expecting a call from. I answered the call to hear a strange voice at the other end of the line greeting me familiarly, asking me why he had not heard from me.. Pardon me?? Are you sure you have the correct number?? He then repeats my number to me and asks me if I'm not Tony (not his real name). Hearing this I was even more surprised. I explained that I know who Tony is but that he doesn't live at this address. To which this gentleman who called himself Mike said that he had been in the flat two weeks ago and that the said Tony had the keys to the flat. Tony had shown him around, telling him that the flat was his. Tony had used my address to obtain a loan from this person, who I later find out is a loan shark.
It took supreme effort on my part to remain calm as I explained to this gentleman what had really happened on the day Tony showed him into my flat. I tried to explain that I wasn't Tony and that I knew nothing of a loan or what he was talking about. At first Mike was having none of it. He didn't know what Tony and I were up to, he said, but whatever it was, I'd better pay back his money or...at this point what immediately flashed through my mind were those stories I'd heard about people who failed to pay such debts and how they got their kneecaps smashed. I was losing my cool..
This Tony person has been a friend of mine for many years and I have looked out for him every step of the way. I could hardly believe what I was hearing, but gradually the pieces came together. Now I understood why he had wanted to "use my computer" while I was away. I'd been conned, or to put it more accurately, my so-called friend had betrayed the trust that I had in him. I gave Tony's number to Mike and told him Tony's real address. I then called Tony and expressed my displeasure at what had happened. A few minutes later Mike called me back to say that Tony was not answering his phone. I tried to call Tony again, but as expected his phone was by now switched off.
I have tried to call him several times today and his phone is still switched off. Indeed the message I get when I call his number is "you have dialled an incorrect number...". Driving home this evening, I drove past his building, but his flat was in darkness. I don't know whether to be worried about him, i.e., whether Mike has come down hard on him; or whether the police have been invited and he's locked up somewhere...but then if that was the case, surely the police would have invited me to make some kind of statement. Then I wonder if perhaps he has gone into hiding..I feel so protective of him and feel sorry that I revealed his real address. But at the same time I'm angry at his callousness and his dishonesty. I really don't know what to think..