A tale of woe, with a happy ending. You should probably make yourself comfortable now – it’s going to be a long oneMonday, August 28th, 2006 | Posted in Uncategorized
I’ve recovered from another hectic weekend, and I’ve just found the energy to reflect upon it now. I’ll let you everything in reverse chronological order (trust me – it’s easier).
So yesterday, I went to the Notting HIll Carnival with my big brother and his girlfriend. It was the first time that I’d met her, but she seemed really nice. She reminded me of an ex of his, who was also nice, but an acquired taste.
The Sunday Children’s Carnival is a nicer event than the hardcore free-for-all on the Monday. It was busy, but there was plenty of space in which to stroll around. There were a few idiots around, but there didn’t seem to be any trouble. The weather wasn’t too bad either so I cursed my mother for making me bring a jacket along.
We walked around for hours, had some lousy jerk chicken and patties (the art/science of queueing is a British past-time – no queue means it’s probably crap, too long a queue is too much hassle – but we’d failed to account for the herd mentality).
We also took loads of pics. I nearly finished off my 1GB memory card and the camera battery too.
On Saturday evening I found myself in an Executive Suite at a central London Hilton Hotel. Here are some pics:
So how did I get to stay in a 5* hotel free of charge? Well, it’s a long and horrible story, but I’ll try to keep it brief, for my own mental health.
I became friendly with a guy called Asim via a dating website. He seemed an interesting guy, if not the most reliable guy I’d met. There was some chemistry between us so I was intrigued to see how our friendship would develop. (I know – you’re already shaking your head, wondering how this story will pan out.)
He told me that he was a screenwriter who was trying to make it as an actor, and that he had a few celebrity mates. (I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt, though it did sound rather unbelieveable.)
One Saturday evening he asked me to meet him in central London for a chat as we hadn’t seen each other for a while (he’d been busy filming in the US apparently). I went to meet him and discovered that he was staying at the Hilton Hotel.
I’d wondered whether he was making a booty call, and warned him that I wasn’t really up for getting involved at that point. He said that was fine. So we had a drink and a chat and he tried to seduce me with his eyes… Then when that failed he asked me up to his room so that he could show me some clips of the film that he’d been working on – Miami Vice! (Yes, that Miami Vice movie, with Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell.)
He showed me the movie trailer, pausing and rewinding a few seconds of footage where an Asian guy mumbled ominously in a dark room. Apparently it was him. I couldn’t be sure.
Then he jumped me. I let him kiss me for a moment, but I really didn’t enjoy it, and when he took off his jumper I knew it was time to leave. I pushed him off me gently and disappeared into the bathroom (the sanctuary of the vulnerable female). Meanwhile someone came to the room door and spoke to Asim. I didn’t hear the conversation fully as I was busy wondering how to extricate myself from the situation.
Then I left the toilet and told him that I thought I would go soon. He apologised for being so eager and said that I didn’t have to run off, as he wouldn’t push it again. Then the room phone rang. It sounded like something strange was up.
“I’ve got a bit of a problem,” he started. “I really don’t want to ask you for help, but I don’t have any choice right now.” My heart sunk. What was going on?
He explained that his credit card had been stolen and that he’d had to cancel his card, and he didn’t have any means of paying his bill until the Monday, when he could get the cash from his bank account. He needed someone to give the hotel their card details as a guarantee so that he could have more time to sort out the situation.
I told him that I couldn’t do that, I didn’t know him that well, and couldn’t he ask his family to do that for him? His answer was that the hotel were threatening to turf him out now and his family couldn’t get there in time. He had another friend coming, but they couldn’t get there for a while. He promised that I would not be charged as he would settle his bill before he left the hotel. Then he gave me his passport and a note promising that I would not be charged and that he was responsible for his hotel bill. I still did not want to help. Then someone knocked on the door. It was the hotel staff preparing to chuck him out. I foolishly decided to help, against my instincts and better judgement.
The hotel staff got me to fill out a form, where I ticked that I would only be responsible for room only (so he wouldn’t be tempted to call room service, etc). And I checked that I would only be liable for his current bill, which was about £300.
With a sour taste in my mouth, I told him that I wanted to go home. He got the hotel to call me a cab and told me that he’d charged it to his bill. I soon found out that I had to pay for that too (£60).
The next day I called the hotel and was told that a friend of his had given in their card details too, so I relaxed a bit. I was also really busy at work that week so I didn’t think about the situation for a few days.
On the Friday night I checked my bank account and discovered that the hotel had charged me £978! I tried to call him, but his phone was not working, so I called his mum and told her the whole story. She was shocked, but said that she’d talk to him about it. Later that night he called me, obviously subdued by the roasting that his mum must have given him. He said that he’d paid the hotel before he left, but the hotel confirmed that he hadn’t.
Once I got more information from the hotel accounts dept, he changed his tune and confirmed that he hadn’t paid the hotel, and that he’d pay me directly. To cut a long story short, he promised me several times that he’d paid the money into my bank account, but the money never materialised. I got fed up of talking to him and spoke to his mum again. She promised that she would pay me back herself if he didn’t sort his act out. I basically got to the point when my credit card payment was due and I needed a resolution, so I started the process of sueing him. The courts gave him 2 weeks to pay me back. A week or so later I received a cheque from his sister for the full amount, including the cab fare home and the court fees. The cheque cleared.
Meanwhile, I had complained in writing to the general manager of the hotel, stating the facts and suggesting that the hotel had helped him to perpetuate a fraudulent transactions. I got a call the following day from the Director of Operations, who promised to investigate the situation. A while later, he admitted that I should not have been charged the full amount and he offered a partial refund of about £600, which he would get from Asim. I told him that I’d already been reimbursed, but I asked whether there was anything that he could do for me, in the circumstances…
So, that was a happy ending to a unpleasant situation that caused me a lot of stress. I’ve definitely learnt my lesson.
After the dust had settled, I saw him online, and had to say something. Here’s the conversation, enjoy!
PJ says:? (23:27:38)
did you get your passport?
Verisimilitude says:? (23:27:39)
Verisimilitude says:? (23:28:00)
no, nothing has arrived. When did you send it?
PJ says:? (23:28:35)
you should have received it yesterday. i sent it recorded, and it was delivered. i addressed it to ms a*
Verisimilitude says:? (23:29:18)
I haven’t checked with her I talk to her tomorrow
PJ says:? (23:30:03)
thank her for the money. you put me in a really awkward situation financially. so, what’s your issue?
PJ says:? (23:30:26)
are you a compulsive liar or just a conman?
PJ says:? (23:31:50)
don’t worry about the tickets for the miami vice premiere – since you’re not on the cast list i wouldn’t expect anything from you…
Verisimilitude says:? (23:33:10)
I have been relegated to the cutting room floor. I am still going to the premiere. And whether or not they use my scenes, its all up to them
PJ says:? (23:33:26)
Verisimilitude says:? (23:33:57)
Will probably be in the DVD or a special editiopn of the movie, either way
PJ says:? (23:35:44)
you’ve been blacklisted by the hilton, btw. when you started playing your tricks i contacted them to complain about the whole scam. yesterday they offered to repay me £600, and chase u for the rest, but i explained that your family had repaid me so they offered me a free night at the hotel
Verisimilitude says:? (23:36:39)
Enjoy it. You;ll find it cathardic
PJ says:? (23:37:16)
do you have some psychological problems? i’m serious
Verisimilitude says:? (23:37:32)
PJ says:? (23:38:20)
the things that you have told me don’t add up at all.
PJ says:? (23:38:38)
it’s fascinating actually.
PJ says:? (23:39:20)
i’ve got the impression that this isn’t the 1st time you’ve done something like this.
Verisimilitude says:? (23:39:51)
I’m sure it is. I however never lied to you about a sinh;e thing. And no, I have never EVER been in a situation like this before.
PJ says:? (23:40:18)
hello! u admitted that you’d lied about the bank deposit stuff
PJ says:? (23:40:52)
“boy who cried wolf” – remember that line?
PJ says:? (23:41:13)
that was almost the worst part of it, the constant lies
Verisimilitude says:? (23:42:52)
Okay, yes, that, but everything before this incident, no I never did. But I was sincere about giving you back the money otherwise I wouldn’t have offered up my passport, I would have given you a fake address and number, or wouldn’t have allowed my mother and sister to be involved
PJ says:? (23:43:04)
if you had told me that you wouldn’t have had the money until a certain date i could have worked around it, but you kept on telling me that you’d sent me the money.
PJ says:? (23:44:02)
when i got home from the hotel that night i checked out the address/tel you’d given me. if they had been fake i would have canceled my credit card as lost/stolen
PJ says:? (23:44:45)
i cancelled it anyway after i’d been charged by the hotel as i was so worried about being charged anymore than that
PJ says:? (23:45:21)
i’ve had a lot of time to think about it. you can get a new passport for £50….
Verisimilitude says:? (23:45:39)
true I could have
PJ says:? (23:46:10)
the whole thing feels like it was orchestrated. i think you were in cahoots with the hotel staff
Verisimilitude says:? (23:46:25)
Its £70, i already lost it once
PJ says:? (23:46:29)
which is why i complained to the hotel manager
PJ says:? (23:46:40)
you mean you used it for another scam
Verisimilitude says:? (23:46:46)
No cahoots with any hotel manager
PJ says:? (23:47:03)
not with the manager, but with the reception staff
Verisimilitude says:? (23:47:44)
No, no cahoots with any of the staff. One did try to make a pass at me though. If I were gay, maybe I would have
Verisimilitude says:? (23:48:01)
PJ says:? (23:48:04)
did u think i was going to give up on the money? £1000 is a lot of money
Verisimilitude says:? (23:48:38)
I know, if course you wouldnt give up on it
PJ says:? (23:48:52)
i admit i was naive that night. you’d obviously just invited me there to pay your bill
PJ says:? (23:49:55)
i went thru a lot of aggro, but i’m so glad that the nightmare is over.
Verisimilitude says:? (23:50:03)
No that was not the case at all. But if you feel that was the case, then, thats your porogative
PJ says:? (23:50:29)
it was almost like it was scripted.
Verisimilitude says:? (23:50:59)
I’m good, yes, but not that good
PJ says:? (23:51:16)
PJ says:? (23:51:32)
have u paid your mum/sister back yet?
PJ says:? (23:52:07)
i wasn’t expecting the cheque to clear, was starting to think that you were a family of con artists
Verisimilitude says:? (23:52:45)
No, once I get my passport (will call my sister in the morning) then I can take cash out and give it to her. THen pick up all my replacement cards too.
PJ says:? (23:53:42)
you know, banks accept bills, driver license, etc, not just passports
Verisimilitude says:? (23:54:58)
The only billo I have in my name is a mobile bill, which they do not except, I don;t have a driver’s licence, the only photo ID i have is my passport.
PJ says:? (23:55:22)
why did u use a different name at the hotel – asmin ahmed?
Verisimilitude says:? (23:55:52)
Because they can’t spell
PJ says:? (23:56:01)
Verisimilitude says:? (23:58:02)
How’s the photography going?
PJ says:? (23:58:52)
it’s not. sold the 350d last week. just bought a new cam. going to brussels next week so i’ll use it then
PJ says:? (23:59:20)
i’ve had a lot on my mind lately so i haven’t been able to focus much on my creative stuff
PJ says:? (23:59:35)
Verisimilitude says:? (23:59:56)
PJ says:? (00:00:34)
i’ve had other stuff going on too, but that was a major worry i must admit
Verisimilitude says:? (00:01:52)
If it makes you feel any better, I got stabbed. Not badly of course, but, the blade pearced and went about an inch inwards
PJ says:? (00:02:13)
who did it?
Verisimilitude says:? (00:02:47)
PJ says:? (00:02:54)
Verisimilitude says:? (00:03:24)
Because I miscalculated a move, and stumbled.
Verisimilitude says:? (00:03:39)
Which is why I am know a big believer in karma
PJ says:? (00:04:00)
lol, ok. thought u’d messed up his life in some way too
PJ says:? (00:04:22)
so u were doing some martial arts training with swords?
PJ says:? (00:04:52)
or streetfighting in an alley
Verisimilitude says:? (00:05:27)
Learning saber, arabic style
PJ says:? (00:05:36)
PJ says:? (00:05:49)
you’re full of shit you know
PJ says:? (00:05:54)
Verisimilitude says:? (00:06:26)
Fine, if you don;t wanna believe it, I don’t care
PJ says:? (00:07:23)
why don’t u show up on google at all, if you’re a bonafide actor/writer?
Verisimilitude says:? (00:10:03)
Say a film is written by one guy or a duo. Then it gets passed round to other writers to get cloeaned up or rewritten, whatever. Who do you think gets the credit? Not the rewriters but the original writer/s
PJ says:? (00:10:20)
PJ says:? (00:11:13)
aren’t the rewriters named as cowriters?
Verisimilitude says:? (00:11:43)
I have written plenty of scripts, but have made a living doing the rewrites. Only if they have done a substantial amount on the rewrites
PJ says:? (00:11:53)
PJ says:? (00:12:06)
what about the acting/stunts?
Verisimilitude says:? (00:13:05)
Stunt work is also the same type of thing. If you;re with a union, you get credit, less on the fee, than you would with an agency
PJ says:? (00:13:23)
Verisimilitude says:? (00:15:02)
and if i were home now, I would show you the photos ocf me on the Miami Vice set
PJ says:? (00:15:51)
PJ says:? (00:18:13)
anyway, knowing you has been interesting but expensive. remember to pay your own bills and avoid people with sharp objects. goodnight
Verisimilitude says:? (00:18:37)