Shot from the ISS in Low Earth Orbit. Fascinating video of the night side of our planet. The auroras dance and play along the thin line of our atmosphere that is all that stands between us and the hostile universe outside. Meanwhile, lightning filled storm clouds roll over darkened continents and clear skies reveal the light of civilization spread across the land.
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
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.