Chum:  cut or ground bait dumped into the water to attract fish.  (Think of the scene in JAWS where Chief Brody is ladling fish guts into the water to draw in the shark.)  That’s what my mother has become in the three weeks since my father’s death.


Received a call from my eldest sister today.  (She and I and my niece are sharing caretaker duties regarding Mom, keeping an eye on her, serving as companions.)  I don’t have all the details, but apparently some scam artist showed up and passed himself off as someone contracted to repair the flashing on my mother’s chimney.  No repairman has been called for such a task, but she didn’t know that.  She paid the guy $350 and called my sister (thank God), who immediately called the bank to stop payment and notified the police.  As luck would have it, the bastard had gone right to the bank to cash the check and they got him.

I hope he fries in Hell.

This bothers me on a lot of levels because it could have gone so much worse.  My sweet, innocent mother let this stranger into her home.  He could have extorted more money from her, beaten her, terrorized her, even killed her.

I’m not sure how we’re going to handle this.  For now, Mom must understand that she’s not to open the door to ANYONE.  Age and infirmity have already made her something of a prisoner in her own home, so we hate the thought of compounding it.  The solution may be to sell the house and have her move in with either my eldest sister or myself.  This is something we’ll have to figure out…and soon…because the sharks smell blood on the water.


About Melissa Crandall

Longer ago than I care to admit--although I will--I cut my writing teeth on fanzines and media tie-in novels. Since then, I've moved on to narrative nonfiction, speculative fiction, and essays. I write to explore and understand the world around me, the things I see and experience nearby or from a distance. If I shake myself up, cool. If I shake you up, even better. Not gratuitously--what's the point in that?--but to set what I know, or think I know, on end and realize, "Well, doesn't it look different from this side!" My work is neither sexually explicit nor graphically violent. Let's face it - your imaginations will come up with things far worse than anything I could write, no matter how descriptive. Besides, it's just not my thing. I live in Connecticut with my supportive husband Ed, a cat named Ruby who might just think she's a dog, and an epileptic Australian shepherd named Holly who isn't quite certain anymore who she is, except she knows she loves her mommy.
This entry was posted in Aging, Anger, Crime, Dementia, Essays, Family, Fear, Life, Melissa Crandall, Parental death, Scams and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Chum

  1. John says:

    Oh man. This is such a tough situation. All i can say is I’m sending positive vibes your way. Hopefully, they will help a little.

  2. It’s truly frightening how unscrupulous some people can be!

  3. natasiarose says:

    It’s so sad that there are people who take advantage of the elderly. It’s great that your mom has you and your siblings to watch out for her.

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