What exactly makes someone a “con artist”?
After checking out a few definitions on a couple dictionary websites, the best way to put it is that a con artist is someone who is “adept at lying, cajolery, or glib self-serving talk.” Sadly, I have been swindled by people in the past, but the type of con-artist I was dealing with this time around not only tried to swindle me with his lies, but he manages to swindle people out of money every day.
While going on a walk for exercise in my neighborhood one day during the summer, I had my headphones in, my jam was playing, and I was thoroughly enjoying working up a sweat and getting some sunshine at the same time. Maybe that’s why I was so disturbed when a very tall men came out of nowhere and decided to start walking next to me, talking before I even realized he was there and before I had the chance to speed up my walk and act like I was deaf. As he kept walking with me and the minutes passed, I thought that maybe I had dropped something, or hey, maybe there was a hole in my pants that I didn’t know about. So when I paused my music and said, “huh!?” I was disgusted to find that he was, of course, talking about NOTHING. He went on to introduce himself and ask me a series of questions that included answers that were none of his damn business:
“I saw you walking and I couldn’t help but notice how pretty you are. My name is *Mike, I live in this neighborhood. I actually live down there *points*. Are you from this neighborhood? You’re not? Where do you live? Oh, sorry, I was just asking. So what do you do for a living? Because I actually own my own business. So I was wondering if I could take you out for a date? Would you want to do dinner? You say you have a boyfriend? Does your boyfriend live around here? I’m just asking…If you say you have a boyfriend, why isn’t he here with you right now, huh? He’s at work? Aw okay. You want to take my number? Maybe we could be friends? Okay, nevermind then. Well, it was nice to meet you, I’ll see you around.”
As fast as reading all that probably was for you, in reality, this conversation took almost five long minutes. I was doing my best to shrug him off, but this guy wouldn’t stop following me. Funny thing was, I actually tried to call my boyfriend in the middle of our conversation so that I could pretend somebody called me and I would be saved, but that boy didn’t pick up the phone. WOMP. After a few minutes passed, I started to get a little scared, but luckily for me, this very tall man, dressed like the dudes who stand on the street from the AM to the PM, talking to one another while doing nothing, gave up on his macking attempts and decided to crawl back to wherever he came from. I was hoping it would be the last I saw of him, but sadly, it wasn’t. And the next time I DID see him, homeboy was a completely different person. Literally.
While coming home from church on a random Sunday a few months ago, this same guy, let’s continue to call him *Mike, hopped on the train car I was on, trash bag in hand, shirt and pants a little dingy. I didn’t know where he was going to or coming from, but when I recognized his face, I tried my hardest to keep my head down. But he wasn’t paying me any mind, he was trying to get paid. Mike dropped his trash bag on the floor and proceeded to talk in a range of creepy voices. that when audible, sounded like gibberish. He touched his fingers together as though he was putting together a well-thought out point, and he actually sounded like a sick version of Boomhauer from “King of the Hill,” but a lot less easy to understand. At no time did he stop and say that he wanted anyone’s money, but he walked back in forth in the car, hand out, collecting the dollars of sympathetic passengers who assumed he was homeless and maybe mentally unstable. My mind was blown. A couple months later, I saw him again, different outfit, same black trash bag, same act–same response from a few passengers. I found myself with my face so turned up by him when he would get on the train, I thought maybe I should stand up and scream “FRAUD!” But as I’ve come to learn in NYC, it’s best (for your safety) if you mind your business and keep your mouth shut. Clearly he wasn’t someone worried about right or wrong, so who knows what he would do if I jumped up and acted a fool to expose his trickery.
I thought to write this crazy story because just this past Sunday, I ran into him again. This time, he had changed it up. No longer was he playing the inaudible man, but this time, he was speaking clear English, stomping around and cursing like he had Tourettes. While some looked sympathetic, and others looked a bit scared, I just walked in the other direction, extremely happy that I had dodged a bullet when he initially walked next to me last summer, a nice, normal looking man who just wasn’t my type. Now, it’s clear that he was none of that, and that the “business” he owned was Scams “R” Us. I’m not sure how long he’ll keep this act going, and who knows, he could really have some serious issues that could use some help, but seeing as how is issues and ailments change as much as his outfits and the seasons do, I’d assume not. If you come to New York and run into this fella, walk fast, and keep your dollars to yourself. You’ve been warned.