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Jim Klann has a check-bouncing idea that he used to pull on slobs and others who did rotten things to him while he was working his way through college. It was relatively simple, and it will work on almost any mark, not just college students, in lots of situations.

“I would place a call to the mark, identify myself as the college bursar and inform him that his last tuition check had just bounced. If it was his check, that was it. If it was his parents’ check, I told him to call home immediately.

“I always called about three minutes before five o’ clock so that if he asked for more details, like the account or check number, I could mumble something about the file clerk already locking up the records and that the office was closing. Then, I’d get stern again and tell him to call us back first thing in the morning.”

Jim’s scam had the mark calling home and worrying all night about bouncing a check, owing service fees, and good stuff like that.

Irritated because some mature and outstanding young men who belonged to the right social fraternity at the University of Illinois stole, molested, and terrorized his date, then threw up on his car, a fellow student who was majoring in Haydukery come up with a winner. There was an outdoor beer party at the fraternity that afternoon. Our man had another student walk over and tell the frat guys that some students from another campus were going to try to crash the party that afternoon, only they’d be dressed as local cops. Then, later, our hero called the local cops to complain about the lawn party.

Later, this same student was awakened one morning by a crew of surly construction workers from another town. They were buisily and noisily digging up the sidewalk in front of his room. It was 6:08. He dressed and went to his eight o’ clock class early. On his way out, he stopped and talked with a couple of the workers. He told them that the last time a crew worked near campus, a bunch of fraternity guys dressed up as campus cops tried to hassle the workers as a practical joke. The workers didn’t like this idea one bit.

Later, just before going into his class, our agitator called the campus police office and told them a bunch of fraternity guys were dressed up as a construction crew and were digging up the sidewalk at such and such an address. When they asked him who it was, he gave them the name of the president of the fraternity mentioned earlier.

Aren’t you sorry you didn’t go to school with Joe from New Orleans? He’s the guy who epoxy’d shut a deserving mark’s dorm room the night before this kid’s most important final exams. Why did Joe do this?

“He (the mark) was a badass, always coming in drunk and blowing his dinner on us, after a beer party; you know, throwing up in our rooms. Nothing nice to correct him worked, so we figured if we made him miss finals, he’d flunk the courses and be out of school.”

In another case, one of Joe’s dormmates from another floor used to think it was funny to turn in false fire alarms. That costs everyone something and is a stupid thing to do. Joe didn’t think it was too funny either. He got several surplus fire extinguishers on the sly from a sympathetic fireman’s friend, and they filled the mark-who-cried-fire’s room with foam while the kid lay in a drunken stupor.

If you thought Joe was nasty, try Kevin from the same grand old city over there in Louisiana. His mark was a bully who was always doing nasty things to nice people. Kevin gave him a double-barreled dose of his own meanness. He waited until the mark boldly announced he was going to cut a few days of classes to go shack up with some campus tootsie he’d picked up in a bar. Kevin then called the school administration and each of the mark’s teachers and told them that he (Kevin) was the undertaker (using a real name) from the mark’s hometown and that the kid had died suddenly and to please take him off the class lists, enrollment files, and the master computer list. He said a letter and death certificate would follow by mail. Then, Kevin’s buddy posed as a school official, called the mark’s parents and told them their son was dead as a result of a party prank. Kevin never went near the mark again. A lot of other people did though, and the mark had a lot of explaining to do.

Wouldn’t it be neat to get a bunch of course withdrawal forms from some office on campus and fill them out in your mark’s name? You could then feed that to the computer through the appropriate clerk and have the mark officially withdrawn from classes. The poor mark, of course, will continue to go to class, take tests, do assignments, worry about grades, and all that good stuff. Only at the end of term will he or she realize what happened.

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