The Con-Con Man didn’t think of himself as a “Con-Con Man.” Nor, for that matter, did he even think of himself as a “Con Man.” It was more like this: He thought of himself as the “Only Man.” Or at least, the only one that mattered. The other people who appeared and disappeared out of his tiny circle of consciousness were tools. And what the Con-Con Man enjoyed was conning the people who appeared in that tiny circle so that they didn’t even realize he was using them as tools.
One day, an Educated Man met the Con-Con Man and said, “If only we could help educate more people.” And the Con-Con Man said, “What a wonderful idea! Let’s do it! I will start a University with the sole purpose of educating more people!” Of course, the Con-Con Man did no such thing and instead started a “University” with the sole purpose of stealing other people’s money.
One day, a Compassionate Woman met the Con-Con Man and said, “If only we could help those in need. What’s really sad is when kids get cancer. If only we could help those kids.”
And the Con-Con Man said, “What a wonderful idea! Let’s do it!”
The Compassionate Woman said, “Educated Man” says I shouldn’t trust you.”
Con-Con Man looked shocked. “What? Why?! You know why? I’ll tell you why. Educated man is not compassionate! He didn’t really want to help students at all! He just wanted to get jobs for his snooty professor friends. I saw right through him. You, on the other hand are a Compassionate Woman and you and I will make hundreds of lives better! I will start a Charity with the sole purpose of helping kids with cancer!” Of course, the Con-Con Man did no such thing and instead started a “Charity” with the sole purpose of stealing other people’s money.
One day, A Politician met the Con-Con Man and said, “If only we could find the right man, we could win the Presidency for the benefit of the very wealthiest people on the planet!” The Con-Con Man said, “What a wonderful idea! Let’s do it!! I know just the guy. Me.”
“Really?” Replied the Politician. “Your father would be so proud of you. He may have been a great Con Man but you are a Con Man’s Con Man; A Con Man Don. You con as easily as most people breathe. But you must understand one thing, of course. We call the shots. We’re not even vaguely interested in the liberal opinions you’ve spouted over the years. You will toe the line. The policies you put in place will serve to keep us — and you — in power and to keep people as ignorant, ill-fed, fearful, and hate-filled as possible. This obviously makes them easier to control. You think you can do that?”
“Can I do that?” The Con-Con Man laughed. “I can do that better than anyone!”
“Good. There’s just one more thing. You are great at being a Con Man, no doubt about it. But we are good at being politicians. We will be choosing candidates and messaging and so on. You understand. Of course, we’d welcome your input.”
“Naturally,” said The Con-Con Man. “You’re the experts when it comes to politics. No problem! Let me take care of conning people.”
And, the Con-Con Man did con people just as he had promised.
And, the Con-Con Man did not leave choosing candidates to “The Oligarchs.”
Of course, the Con-Con Man choose only candidates who would give their power to him. I could say give their power and wealth but that would be redundant. Once he had power over them, their wealth is essentially his already. The only question is how much hassle is worth actually taking physical possession.
And a Fan Man of the Con-Con Man came to see him at his “hacienda” in Mar-A-Lardo. The Fan Man said, “Wouldn’t it be great if everyone thought just like I do and made love just like I do and talked just like I do and believed just what I believe and looks just like I look?” And, the Con-Con Man said, “What a wonderful idea! I shall make it so! And, not only that, you can help make that happen! Write me a check now, but make sure your friends who are just like you send me a check too! You can always back out of the monthly thing later if you really want to — you know — leave the entire country in ruins and run by — you know — them! Those folks who are not at all like you. Those folks hate you and so it’s right that we hate them right back and that we stay in power so they are always in their place!”
And Fan Man said, “I really want to Mr. Con-Con Man. But, you know. I hate to bring it up, but Educated Man said you conned him. And Compassionate Woman said you conned her. And, your wives — well, you conned all of them. So, we just want to make sure you’re not trying to con us as well.”
Mr. Con-Con Man smiled. Well, not really. I mean if you actually know how to read a face — like if you or I had been there, we would have seen that it was not a genuine smile at all. He wasn’t “smiling” as a friend working together on solving a puzzle might smile. He was “grinning” the grin of someone seeing yet another con unfold before him. He was “grinning” the grin of an angler fish who feels the anticipatory joy of some small fish coming toward his “bait” — the anticipatory joy that makes the angler fish’s joy all the sweeter in cutting it short and destroying the life of another.
But Fan Man did not see that it was a fake smile; a smile that said: “I’m am so going to screw you over and so going to enjoy it! And, you are so stupid you deserve it.” Of course, Con-Con Man didn’t say that part out loud. What he said out loud was this:
“Oh, Fan Man, don’t you worry. Educated man? Of course, I conned him! He deserved it! He just wanted to educate people to make them Communists! And, don’t even get me started on Compassionate Woman! You know as well as I do that she’s a fraud and a cheat and would be in jail right now except for corrupt people in places. Of course, I conned her and good riddance. Now, what was your other question? Something about my daughter? She’s hot, right? Everyone wants to. It’s okay. But the point is, you can trust me because I’m not trying to con you. No, you are the very reason I have power. You are the people I most love because just like you, I had to work my butt off for every penny. And now, people want to take things I have rightfully earned. So, we’re the same. I’m not going to con you. No way!! I am going to fight for you every step of the way! I’ll get you jobs! I’ll keep you safe!”
But of course, conning Fan Man was, in many ways, the sweetest con of all. It reminded Con-Con Man of that great time when he had forced himself on a 13-year old. And, then threatened her life and that of her parents if she pursued justice. Wonderful times. But all those adventures with Jeffrey were basically just forcing themselves on one woman at a time! This con allowed him to screw millions! This time, a genuine smile did mushroom onto his face.
One day, Mr. Putin Man came a-calling. He whispered soothing things to Con-Con Man such as: “Oh, Mr. President, I have no idea how you put up with your free press. What pesky little pricks they are, am I right? Yes. Of course, you’re a brilliant man even as you yourself say, so you know I’m right. Sure. You know without me telling you that you’d be much better off if you had no free press. And, I can help you! I have no free press. I can show you how to do it! No problem.”
And: “Oh, Mr. President. Isn’t a little insane how everyone wants to vote in your elections? Wouldn’t it be better for the whole country if a small group of hand-picked sycophants decided whether elections are fair? Then, if any states don’t vote for you, they are overturned! And possibly jailed! Easy as pie.”
And: “Oh, Mr. President. Yes, what an excellent idea to build mutual trust! Here, I’ll hand over our nuclear codes and you hand me yours at the same time. One. Two. Three. Go!”
Mr Con-Con Man wasn’t born yesterday. “Say! How do I know these are your real codes?”
Mr. Putin Man smiled ‘a more convincing than Con-Con’s’ but still insincere smile. “Mr. President, I would never try to con you! You’re too smart for me! You’re too smart for anyone! Of course they’re real! I just hope you never have to find out just how real they are. You know radiation on the scale of an atomic war would get around to everyone, right? So, we never want to start a nuclear war, right?”
Mr Con-Con Man said, “Huh? Sorry, I was thinking about Hillary. I don’t know why I can’t get the Secret Service to … “
Mr. Putin Man said, “Wait. Let me stop you right there. See, relying on Secret Service is a big mistake. You need your own security force of people you own. As the old Russian saying goes, ‘If you break a lot of dishes, expect to be cut more than once.’ Doesn’t really translate well. Here’s another: “A banker and his guard dog don’t agree on cuisine.” Get it? Never mind. Just take my word for it.
“Okay, Mr. Putin. But how can I be sure you’re not conning me?”
“Me try to con you? Hah! I may not be smart enough to con you, but I’m smart enough to know I can’t con you. Haha. Of course I’m not trying to con you! Why would I? What possible — I’ll tell you what. If I make the incredibly stupid move of trying to con you, I’ll let you know. Okay? So as long as I don’t tell you I’m conning you, you’re actually quite safe.”
Still no genuine smile but Putin Man tried. You have to give him credit for that.
And load of credit for not completely breaking down in hysterical laughter at the irony. Instead, he managed to keep a completely straight face all the way back to his hotel Suite where he spent hours doing vodka shots, laughing hysterically, and posing for himself in front of the mirror before calling a couple special “Ladies of the Night.” A gift of sorts, they showed up at Con-Con Man’s door around 10. “We’re from Vlad! We hope you’re glad!” they sang in unison.
Con-Con Man thought, God, it’s fun to be the smartest man on the planet.
The Oxymorons of the Mango Mussolini