NOTE: This particular article below is fiction, and a bit absurd, but we have another article about an actual Notary in Louisiana who was murdered in his home was cooking gumbo several years ago. Check the link below to read that actual real story.
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The minute we left Starbucks after the signing, they ganged up behind us. Suddenly there were two of them, then five. Five men dressed in black, with black hoods over their heads. The Klan, all dressed in white (we had studied about them in school a long, long time before MUD took over) were angels compared to these guys. They followed us down the street. It was after 10 pm, almost time for curfew.
As we walked down the darkened street, my mentor and I were suddenly goaded into an alley. “Git–you filthy NSAa. We know what you are,” one of them threatened. Then it began.
“What are you carrying there? Oooh, your notary bag. I’ll bet you have a really big stamp,” taunted a tall one with a nasty growl. “What creeps,” I thought. “How are we going to get out of this?”
There were five of them circling around us. There was a tall one who seemed more agile, and more vicious. He kept slapping his side with his leather-gloved hand, which made a nasty sound every time it hit.
“What do you want? Who are you idiots?” I blurted out.
“Now you’re gonna wish you hadn’t said that,” a shorter one slurred. He whipped a knife from his belt and held it up. It gleamed in the dim light. “We’re your competition from the top of the list,” he snarled. “We call ourselves– the attorneys. Prepare to die, bottom feeders!” They were the kind who would steal your company contacts off your reviews, the kind who always seek out new clients, even at a funeral. And charge outrageous fees, and intimidate the borrowers–and then retaliate against you for taking even one client. But they didn’t care. All across the country, groups of these men in black had succeeded through intimidation. My mentor, Steve, was an esteemed elder notary, the kind of person everyone had learned from and revered in the industry. Harming him was unthinkable.
Steve and I were NSAs, notary signing agents trained before the 2008 mortgage meltdown–a dying breed living in what had become the last non-attorney state in the U.S.: California. Between 2014 and 2018, all of the states had gradually become attorney states. Steve and I lived and worked in California, the last free state with reasonable laws and practices for notaries; my mentor and I were able to make up to $50 per electronic signing– a great accomplishment in these days of hardship. Still, the vicious gang that roamed the rest of the country intimidating and eliminating the notary population had come to monopolize what was once called “the industry”– any job opportunities for notaries, particularly anything to do with signing paperwork for loans. In California were situated some of the last properties owned by individuals– while in other states, properties were owned by individuals in “partnership” with the state. California was now the last state in which notaries could do what used to be called closings. In all other states, attorneys and title company employees were the only ones allowed to close loans or have anything to do with real estate closings. All transactions were supervised by MUD, the Managers of the Union Deficit, the huge private corporation that had taken over after the collapse of the Fed. It was essentially run by– well, you can guess who ran it. Backdating had become a common practice, through loopholes in laws that were constantly changing in favor of whatever influential group was in power at the moment.
Two of the men in black grabbed Steve from behind and took his notary bag. “Great seal,” the tall one said, ripping the embosser out of the bag. He took a long ugly looking piece of steel from his belt and started to hack at the metal die that was the notary stamp. He then split it in half and removed the die from the embosser, then threw the pieces into two different corners of the alley.
“Steve!” I yelled. “Are you alright?” I could hear his breathing. He sounded like he had been hurt. The short one threw the tall one the knife. The tall man approached Steve while two others held him from behind, and the short one suddenly moved behind me and grabbed me. It was all happening so fast.
“You can see it coming. How long can you hold out? What will you eat, where will you go? We are going to take over all the business in Lost Angeles,” the tall man sneered. “You will never see a $50 signing again!” he snarled. “Call us– the attorneys. That’s what we call ourselves. We will bring high standards to what is left of the loan signing business, and make sure the loan signing process is safe for everyone. You notaries are stupid and you don’t answer your phones. You don’t deserve to do signings.”
Then I blacked out. When I came to, Steve was lying there dead in a pool of blood. The last good notary mentor in the state–maybe in the entire country. The hooded men were gone
On January 1, it would be 2020. What would happen now? What would be the future of property, of loans– and what would notaries do? What would happen to them in this last free state where some might make a living? Would the gang that called itself “the attorneys” take over the state of California as it had taken over every other state? Most notaries had been reduced to notarizing a handful of insignificant documents each week, or working for companies that paid them a third of what notaries had been able to get before 2014.
What happens at the end of this story? Do notaries in California succeed in keeping their state safe for notaries– or does the notary business collapse and cower in the shadow of the group that calls itself– the attorneys?
Write to us and tell us how you see this story ending. Or finish it yourself and send it to us. Tell us what happens!>