The Con Man

February 28, 2011
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He wakes up, puts on his fake designer shoes, gets dressed. Takes a nice big smile while adjusting his tie, looks in the mirror and tells himself its gonna be a nice big ol’ bright day. He brushes his teeth, reapplies gel to his hair, reapplies fake designer cologne. Nice big ol’ bright day, eh?

He picks up his fake leather, fake designer suitcase, and closes the motel door on his way out. Walks into the decaying lobby with archaic computer that is always out of service. The floors are always wet with the smell of Windex. The high school dropout drama queen at the front desk reapplies her hot pick nail polish that screams for attention. She doesn’t get paid enough to care, but she secretly does.
He walks up to the desk and asks, “Is breakfast included?”
Her response is as interesting as the one flickering light bulb in the back. She gives him a half wave to the left.
He walks into the room, the carpeted room with stains on the floor. The type of stains you can tell someone tried to do a half-assed job to clean up. No one cares enough, but secretly they do. They want to say that they tried and then pass the job onto someone else. And the vicious circle continues.
The fake knock-off cereals sit next to the happy traveling family of four—the stereotype Disneyland family. He says good morning, remarks about the weather, asks where they are heading, and then: his signature move. He drops his cereal on the floor next to them, apologizes, and does a half-assed clean up job, another stain on the floor. Dad stoops down and does his half-assed “here let me help you routine.” It’s all smiles.
“So you folks want some fast paced tickets? I mean they’re company tickets of mine, but I have to leave the state early. These are the good tickets, the ones that let you skip the entire line.”
Daddy has to say yes now. He can’t let his kids go home knowing that they weren’t the most important and special ones at Disneyland. How will the family ever be able to prove itself better than their friends and family?
“How much for them?”
“Oh, no problem, I’ll give them to you for free. You guys seem like such nice people, and I really don’t have any need for these tickets.”
Daddy has to show his kids that money is power and that he isn’t some cheapskate. Show this friendly stranger who the boss is. Daddy’s ego is hungry and his wallet is full.
“I’ll give you hundred-twenty for all of them.”
“Well if you insist.” He hands them the plastic cards, money changes hands, and now both Dad and he are heroes in the eyes of those children.
Mom says thank you and forces unappreciative kids to put on their best happy faces and to thank the kind man. Kids are more focused on their plastic screens and pushing buttons with their thumbs.
He walks out into the lobby; cereal bits still on the floor, spilt milk. He can hear Dad boasting about his “victory,” while Mom re-explains to kids what happened.
The conman exits the building.
He gets in his real eight year-old used Toyota. The car starts with a whimper as the engine turns on, lights up a real cigarette and drives to the next fake hotel, just keeps telling himself, nice big ol’ bright day, eh?
The girl at the front still acts like she doesn’t care, while the illegal immigrant cleaner reapplies a fresh layer of Windex water to the floor.

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