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Fiction #454
(published October 1, 2009)
The Con Job
by Michael Pelc
"It's a watershed thing," he would say, sounding as though he were graduate faculty in geography or geology or some such discipline, which most of us who knew the man knew quite well he wasn't. But then he wasn't directing his words at us so much as he was displaying them for the purpose of wooing the lovely Marlene (or Charlotte or Annabelle).

"In order to achieve your full potential," he would go on, "in order to consummate your life, as it were, it is necessary at some point to return to the watershed of your birth." He had a theory of sorts to explain it, of course. Something about the body needing to replenish decaying cells with new ones that would be identical in their chemical composition to those which constituted the original self.

To the familiar mind, to those of us who already knew the man, it made no sense. And yet at parties we would find ourselves politely standing around listening to him, nodding our heads and refilling our glasses with Merlot or spreading a bit more brie on a slice of dry, crusty, unleavened bread. For to witness him in the act of ensnaring his prey, to watch him stroke his goatee or polish the lenses of his spectacles or gesture with his meerschaum, was akin to watching Michelangelo at work on the Sistine Chapel. And when the lovely Marlene (or Charlotte or Annabelle) would attach herself to his arm for the duration of the evening, we would click our tongues and shake our heads and mutter unkind asides one to the other.

And in the morning, when we sat down to breakfast with our wives and sprinkled sugar substitute and fresh fruit on top of our high fiber cereal, we would tell them how we failed to understand why the university continued to employ such a lech. Our wives would agree, of course, and in another minute or two, the subject would be all talked out. Our wives would then clear the breakfast table, and we would retreat to the den. Hiding behind the safety of the sports pages, we would fantasize what it would be like to make love to a woman such as the lovely Marlene (or Charlotte or Annabelle).

Michael Pelc is a proud Floridian with dozens of publicaiton credits to his name.

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