Malcolm took a couple of headache pills,
logged into the List and pondered on his occupation for the
forthcoming month. Last months foray into classical piano
recitals had been quite fun, despite him being tone deaf and not
able to play a note. It had only taken the three concerts with
ten people at each, paying two hundred pounds a ticket, to net
six thousand pounds - quite enough for his modest lifestyle.
The List was a database that drew on
hundreds of thousands of other lists. All the information amassed
from mailing lists, consumer data, medical records, insurance
databases, bank records and the other pockets of personal
information held on us all. The List collated these, and by
entering a string of characteristics into the computer, the
database would generate names and addresses of people who fitted
the given criteria.
The list of those living within thirty
miles of Malcolm who were wealthy, blind, tone deaf patrons of
the arts, and suffered severe short term memory loss, comprised
some forty-two people. A quite large enough number from which to
select audiences to launch his career as a virtuoso, concert
pianist. He was sorry that it had lasted for just three concerts,
though grateful that he had been tipped off about the plan by the
local newspaper to send a reporter to cover the fourth. Whilst
they would have probably just sent a cub reporter, suspicions may
have been aroused by a number of factors including the absence of
His headache began to wear off at last.
Last night had been wild. He had initially been kidding when he
had interrogated the List for a wealthy, generous, unattached,
stunningly attractive nymphomaniac in her late twenties who
enjoyed (almost) nothing more than a few pints of bitter and a
game of darts and was uncontrollably aroused by talk of computer
systems, football and cars. It had, however, generated three
options within a reasonable drive. When narrowing the field by
specifying a person who eschewed relationships or commitment and,
indeed, had a strong preference for anonymous one-night-stands,
the name of Janice Goodley of 27, The Drive, Ramsbottom Hill had
shone out like a beacon.
But enough of reminiscence, he had a living
to make. Perhaps a great surgeon this time? He typed: wealthy,
healthy, hypochondriacal, suggestible, and printed the names and
The door bell rang. He invited the police
officers in to explain their purpose.
......therefore I will have to arrest
you for fraud and deception, one concluded.
How did you find out?
We typed Conmen using the List
into the List. Its how we solve most crimes these days. On
Monday mornings we just ask the List for all those whove
committed crimes in the last week, and that keeps us busy
arresting them until the following Monday.
Malcolm could have kicked himself. The
distraction of Janice had quite made him forget to check the list
this week for all those policemen who were about to arrest him.