confessions of a con-ARTist

It’s true. I’m a con-Artist. I can’t pinpoint on the calendar the day–or on the wind-up clock, the hour this new identity coalesced, grew into its genetic paws. Strangely, I’m not one iota ashamed. I daresay I might be off-the-chart titillated by getting away with items at the bottom of the shopping cart I didn’t see when I checked out at the register with an AI-robot half-cloned from Mykie. I think but can’t remember; the driving away with my takeout food after presenting a dead debit card for payment; dining and dashing because of a make-believe emergency phone call about an ongoing, quite boring family crisis. And then there’s the overestimation of money needed for a sudden ridiculous, requisite expense for which my rich mother begrudgingly writes a check. Hey, I’m not a corporation. Well, at least not yet. Why does the sun cost so much? Isn’t rain free? Nope, nothing is free in America—no free lunch without strings attached.

Every story has a beginning, so I’m searching for point A. What was the first sign or premonition of this new fun game, one lacking conventional rules? I guess I was creating my moving red ethical line in the sand. There are those who follow rules and those who invent them, and I’m one of the latter, so I am being true to myself, and living a life well-examined. Even now, I’m gazing into my reflection in the picture window, searching for clues. Those new lines at my jawline, my sinking eyes—there are signs.

Perhaps I had been acting out beneath the surface of the days, turning my inner pain inside out away from my skin—or perhaps this is an attempt, ongoing, with proliferating layers and iterations leading toward an invented justification. For too long I was playing chess with existential demise, checkers with corporeality, chess with death. Yes, I’ve borrowed that dangerous game against The Angel of Death from Bergman’s The Seventh Seal. My dreams are A Glass Darkly, also a Bergman film—but for me in black and white while my brain travels in color to stamp its passport: Iceland to see the Northern Lights, Cabo San Lucas, Florence, Nice, Tunisia, Morocco, Lebanon, ancient Persia, Greece, Egypt. No one should blame my brain for my new existence as a con artist. It’s all on me, I can assure you. It was merely ART.

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