"Can I speak to Emdad Rahman please," asked the voice. "Speaking I replied."
This was not a business related call. The gentleman spoke good English and proceeded to tell me that he had spent years trying to track me down and had eventually struck the jackpot by randomly ringing my place of work. He explained that he owed me and Dad a sum of money from years ago when we ran a grocery store in Bethnal Green. He gave me his landline and asked me to visit. I said I'd try the next day.
To be honest we are owed a lot of money by customers who duped us by taking groceries on credit and never paying back. We're not stupid, we just had a lot of goodwill. It's been twenty tears since we had a family grocery business on Bethnal Green Road and 15 years since we sold up. I must admit I was wary and 90% tempted to ignore the guy, especially as bad memories resurfaced of me and my brother chasing up disappearing customer's who owed us a load of decent capital. The trick was to build up trust, a line of credit and then disappear/go into exile. Then there were stories of their demise being greatly exaggerated.
However, my curiosity got the better of me and I called the said gentleman at lunchtime as requested. He said he was unwell and requested me to visit. I was a bit wary at this suggestion but agreed. I phoned the missus to keep her informed.
I called the gentleman when I reached his door and made sure I waved and grinned at all the CCTV cameras on the estate. He came out and gave me £100.00 to settle his debt and asked me about Dad's health and to request his forgiveness. I told him to think nothing of it. We greeted and parted. Before I got into my car I flashed my pearly whites at the cameras before zooming off.
There's another local guy who owes me a few hundred. I visited his house 15 years ago to remind him to pay his debt after he just disappeared into thin air. He complained to the council about me threatening him. Nothing came of it because there was no head, tail or substance to his complaint. However we never had the money paid back to us. The debt remains outstanding. I hope he reads this and his conscience starts eating at him too.
Tonight the Doner Kebab's and Biriani were on Dad and I am royally stuffed.