I was pretty damn excited. The light-bulb had gone on. Inspiration had granted me her illustrious bounty. I’d just realized the elusive, elegant solution to the single problem keeping me from executing the perfect scam.
I was ecstatic.
This was going to be a blast and a half. You see, I’ve always been supremely intrigued by the idea of convincing hundreds of otherwise intelligent people in fine public standing, and with loads of cash at their disposal to simply hand me it, smiling, knowing that their oodles and oodles of dough was well-spent. That they were going to make a hefty profit. That I was a good man. Ha. That was the best part. They truly - with every pint of their blood and over every square inch of their skin – believed me to be a genuinely well-meaning human being. What a rush. That final handshake. That last smile. The glint in our eyes. Theirs one of elation - and them believing mine to be of similar kin. Goosebumps just thinking about it. With that handshake I know I they’re mine. “It’s been an absolute pleasure doing business with you, Scooter.” “Oh, you too Mr. Stevens! Tomorrow you’ll truly be a rich man.” Reach hand forward. Look them straight in the eye. Flash the grin. Handclasp. Three firm shakes. Break. “Adiós!”. Give one last humble, kind smile.
Walk with a bounce in my step, and the toothy snarl spreading from cheek to cheek. I head toward the nearest side road. I have to get out of sight. I once started the maniacal laughter before I got out of sight. Bad decision. Apparently the cackle’s a quick game-changer. People find it to be odd, disturbing. Strange.
I always allow myself the cackle… To be truthful I don’t really have much of a choice in the matter. That’s why I make a break for it right after the handshake. That’s what triggers the cackle ultimately.
It didn’t used to be like that though. There was a time when I could keep it together. I could keep cool through the whole gig, calm as a koala. Then I stopped getting the rush, the thrill. I needed costumes – bald caps, wigs, fake noses. Weird stuff, I know. Elaborate backstories.
And then I had to find out everything, I mean EVERYTHING about my target. Well then the shakes started.
I went to see a psychiatrist who told me I should lay off the soft drinks. Yeah, the constant lying to everyone and unceasing pretending of alternate personas had nothing to do with it. Definitiely just the soft drinks.
Well all right. So I cut them out, and it worked for a while. Then I just had to stop doing the same ol’ same ol’ for every single con. By upping the ante with each new job I got that rush I wanted. Who needs drugs or sex when you’ve got the thrill of your life over and over with every new week that came. But then I started wanting longer cons. Better. More elaborate. Less tried. Riskier. Larger Hauls. And that, my friend, is just about the time I conceived of the doozy of all cons - “The Oracle”.
Oh, it was love at first sight! She was sleek, sexy - a real money maker. All I needed was a veritable trove of targets who had gobs of cash, severe gambling problems, with a slight supernatural streak, and in far-flung corners of the globe.
And I was pretty damn excited. The light-bulb had gone on.