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This, I am willing to bet, is the end of a beautiful friendship.

J. Cosmo Newbery asks for an up front payment:

Dear Mr Kalu,

Thank you for your most interesting letter. Please note that my name is J. Cosmo Newbery and that I should be formally addressed as Mr Newbery. Bearing this in mind, should you be called Mr Kalu or Mr Nelson? I am not familiar with name protocol in the Republic of Nigeria.

Sadly I got your message too late to stop the party returning with Mr Quixote's remains although I feel that they would have been loath to delay their return after such a traumatic episode for any reason.

God does indeed move in mysterious ways and, like you, I am at a loss to explain the unfortunate events that befell Mr Quixote. It seems that sometimes there is no escaping what fate has in store for you.

Please pass on my condolences to your client; I hope she has fully recovered from the news.

With regard to your proposal I must confess to having mixed feelings. I can see your predicament and that it should be possible for me to clear the matter up while acting as the executor of Mr Quixote's estate.

I would prefer not to have the money you offered. It is clearly belonging to your client and it would be more appropriate for her to employ me to do the work required for my usual rates. Should she wish to extend to me any extra appreciation for my services after the successful conclusion of the transaction I would of course accept it graciously. But it is not expected.

My rates would be $1,000 per day plus expenses. It is my estimate that the whole process would take no more than a week and should cost no more than $10,000.

From reading between the lines it would be my assessment that your client would not be in a position to pay me until after the conclusion of the transaction.

This is the source of my ambivalence to the project. I will need to suspend my work at hand in order to proceed and yet it would all be done purely on faith. I will be considerably out of pocket with airfares and accommodation before there is a likelihood of reimbursement.

Therefore, in order to proceed, I need a sign of good faith from your client. I wish an up front payment of one percent of my estimated fee - $100 Australian; about US$56 at current exchange rates.

While this would go nowhere towards covering my expenses it is symbolic in that it shows to me that your client's case is one of substance and that her intentions honourable.

My bank details are as follows:

Once I receive this token of good will I will take immediate steps to assist you and your client.

Yours sincerely,

J. Cosmo Newbery,
Newbery & Associates.

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