It Was The Perfect Con

By: Sam O'Brien

My sweet, gullible Laurie. You played right into my hands with this little ruse I created called “our relationship.” It’s time I came clean. I’m a con man — a master of chicanery, duplicity, and, as you’re well aware, seduction.

I’m sorry you had to find out this way, with me in my Cinnabon cashier disguise, stuffing my rucksack in the bedroom we used to share and rushing off to my next scam. All in front of your new and sudden boyfriend, no less. I can only imagine how embarrassing and confusing this must be for you. The answers will fall into place in due time, my dear — hopefully in a mind-blowing, Usual Suspects kind of way.

What was the con, you ask? Oh, was there a con! The con to end all cons! I bet you’re dying to know how I pulled it off, too. Well, I’ll tell you. And not because Kyle is looming over me, demanding it, but because I think you deserve to know.

It all started when I first saw you at Freshman Orientation. I knew you’d be the perfect mark. I smiled and waved. You rolled your eyes and suggestively turned your back to me. The game was afoot!

I spent the next few years conning my way into knowing everything about you: crying until the registrar put me in your classes, crying until your friends invited me to your party, feigning illness (and crying) so that your roommates didn’t call the cops when they found me in the bushes with my telephoto lens — their sympathy no match for my cunning.

I was patient. This much is key to a successful con. By the time we met, I was armed with all the intelligence necessary to woo you. And you slid right into my hands. Like butter on a piece of bread that is then used to butter an ear of corn.

Are the pieces falling together yet? That chance meeting at the bakery the morning Brad broke up with you (where I’d been working for two years since seeing you eat there that one time), my brazen “Everything okay?” as I handed you your cupcake, and your very sudden, very public meltdown. I took you aside, feeding you sweets and soothing platitudes. And when you were at your weakest and most vulnerable, I seized my moment and asked you out.

After that, coffee dates turned into dinner dates, which then turned into a shared apartment with your name on the lease, but my name on the rent checks. You see, earning your target’s trust is important, but the con man’s greatest trick is making it seem like he trusts his target. This is my specialty. I reeled you in with my finest displays of complete and unjustified confidence: agreeing to an open relationship, allowing you to pay your half of the rent in IOUs and sensual hugs, politely ignoring Kyle’s presence in the apartment the past week. All layers within my intricate onion of deceit.

You may not know it now, but one day, you’ll start to see just how much I took you for. First, it’ll be the small things: a drawer suspiciously lacking our fine IKEA cutlery — rightfully half mine anyway, since I drove you all the way to Jersey for it. Or maybe it’ll be a dusty alley between DVDs, where our box set of The Wire once stood. You’ll be upset, but you’ll also find yourself fighting off the urge to find me, as you imagine me in my new and exciting life, where I’m slicing meats of rigorous consistencies and challenging my sociopolitical biases. You will then take inventory of your home — and your heart — and realize you’re missing something far more valuable than your favorite pair of underwear. Something priceless and me-shaped.

You probably still have feelings for me, but let’s face it: somewhere deep inside me beats the heart of a two-bit hood, eternally rubbing his filthy, cutoff-gloved hands together and plotting his next swindle.

Go with Kyle. He’ll treat you right. It’s time I moved on to my next con anyway. You might see me in the future. Maybe you’ll think you see me in the supermarket, shuffling around in a majestic wolf sweatshirt, flannel pajama pants and Crocs. Maybe you’ll think you see me buying $8 wine, a party-size bag of Funions, and a discount bin movie about a dog that plays human sports. Maybe it is me and that’s my disguise and I’m off on a new adventure in bamboozlement. You have no idea who I am now or who I will be tomorrow. Keep living in blissful ignorance, Laurie. It’s rather becoming on you.

What do you say? One more trick for the road? Pick a card, my dear. It’ll only take a moment. In approximately thirty seconds I will jump out this window, land into a hopefully not-glass-filled dumpster, and make my escape. Enjoy your life with Kyle. Because you have paid handsomely for it. I have outfoxed you.

Was this your card?

I think you’re lying.



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