Welcome to the real world. It isn’t as grand as your dreams made it out to be, but then again dreams do have a way of making reality seem like a pile of crap. No point in dreaming anyway, it’s a waste of time. Who would want to live their days thinking about a future that may or may not happen. Do what you wan’t now. While you’re young enough, rich enough and ballsy enough to make it happen. Tomorrow you might be dead, or worse, broke.
My philosophy on life may not register as useful, least of all unique, but it is exciting. Living now whilst not giving two shits about tomorrow, imagine the craziness that ensues. Don’t plan for your future, plan for today. And today I’m about to make twenty dollars in five minutes.
“Ok listen, Frank. I’m going to place fifty bucks here. And you place your fifty right next to it.” It isn’t that Frank is a particularly bad guy, it’s just I’m bored and he’s an easy target.
“This isn’t one of your funny games now is it? You always confusing me with your quick chatter” He isn’t very tall for a man, but he makes a pretty good santa come christmas. I tried not to smile at his flattering comment, instead I mocked surprise.
“Frank, no. Of course not. We’ve been mates for too long for me to pull anything without you realizing it.” I can see him thinking about it as he cocks his head to one side, but he doesn’t see the faults in the situation so he places his fifty next to mine. “Right. So all we do now is bet on it, and the highest gets to take the cash. Did you wan’t to go first?” Frank shakes his head. “Ok then. I’m going to bet sixty.”
“Seventy.” He rushes to say. I let out a deep sigh as he smiles widely.
“Well then. You’ve won Frank. So i’ll take the seventy and be off then.” He reaches into the cash register and hands me over the notes.
“Maybe you’ll have better luck next time.” Frank yells after me as I leave his bar. The air outside is chilly at best, but at least now I can afford the buy in. There isn’t anything noble in what I do, that is clearly a given. But sometimes when you con the greed out of someone you feel a slight sense of what Robin Hood must have felt. You know when he stole from the rich and gave to the poor, although I am the poor in this situation. We understood that right? Anyway, he felt a sense of justice. The rich do become richer as the poor become poorer. You learn that very early on. And that’s where I come in, it’s almost like I’m balancing the world out whilst taking a hundred precent payment for my services. Maybe I am being noble?
Hrmph. Did you believe any of that? You wouldn’t be the first. So lets face it, there are only two things you need to know about me. One being, you screw me over i’ll hit you where it hurts. And the second, you can’t trust me. No, not at all. But I think we realised that from the beginning.
You could call me a thief if you’d like, but us in the business prefer the term grifter. It’s classier, and requires more talent. But we’re a dwindling race, it’s not an easy life to lead. Let alone a very long one if you try to rip off the wrong person. Like say a person who has a nice collection of guns with a trigger happy best friend. We should not go near those kinds of people.
I think I have it harder than most, being eighteen and all. I look older, but I have to pick my marks just right. Frank doesn’t count, he is more of a quickie in the terms of grifting. You get in, you mess around, you get out with a certain level of satisfaction. Of course you can go back for more if you’d like, but eventually they’ll catch wind that your just using them. That’s when you move on. You always move on.
You might be thinking that I come from some broken home, or some great tragedy made me this way. But no. My parents are both still kicking, living a comfortable life in suburbia. I had a first class education, a dog called Milly and I even had a few best friends who swore we’d be together forever. But something always has to have happened, right? It would be a great story to tell if I’d met someone and they introduced me to this darker underworld, or if my parents trained me from very young. None of that is true. I merely saw the greediness and destruction behind mankind’s demeanor, and decided to exploit it. The world is a cruel place, and nobody is a saint. I see the world differently than most. I see an opportunity where others would merely sit and curse the world. You have to take action in this world for anything good to happen. And there isn’t much good floating around anymore. And yes I could probably make a living the noble way, but where is the fun in that? There isn’t any, I’ve checked.
Besides its not like I’m not furthering my education at a university, it’s just that I’m not exactly enrolled. It’s been almost a month now and they still haven’t noticed I don’t actually attend their establishment legally. Which isn’t that hard to do, if you know how. And besides, someone has to take the trust fund kids money. If only to teach them a lesson. You know the one, don’t trust a girl with a pretty face.
At some point you’ll probably ask, well what have these people ever done to you? And in some cases, nothing. But it doesn’t mean that they haven’t done anything to someone else. And well, those people who they screwed over didn’t have the will to burn them into the ground. On a good day, well I do.
“Ah you’ve come back for another go aye honey?” Paul stood in front of the door to the campuses hidden-but-not-really-so-hidden underground poker tournament. Every university has one, you just need to know someone who can get you an in. I flipped my blonde hair over my shoulder and rubbed my arms from the cold.
“I really need to win big tonight Paul. I spent my food money in here last week. It’s not good for a girls health to live off of two-minute noodles and black tea.” I looked around briefly, making it seem like I was waiting for someone to spot us.
“But it seems to have done wonders for you figure Dani.” Not my real name. Don’t ever use your real name. I plastered a smile on my face like a good college girl.
“You going to let me in or what Paul?” I asked.
“Always was going to Dani. Just like talking to you is all.” Paul gave a swift nod then opened the door. I squeezed past him, but not without noticing how he smelled me as I passed. Nothing worst than a sniffer.
I walked down the corridor, down the flight of stairs until I was in the basement. Probably made it a few steps in before I was blocked by muscle builder Gary Wilson. In other terms, my mark for this evening.
“I didn’t think you were turning up tonight.” He said, running a hand through his thick dark hair. A smug smile spreading across his lips, “Your on a losing streak remember. Although to be honest, I can’t really remember a time you haven’t lost any money.” He laughed at this. Of course I had been letting him win. You see, you have to position your mark in a way that will make them give you what ever you want. In this case playing the woman who can’t play cards but thinks she can is perfect. You wheel them in, showing them how you play. Which is badly, but it isn’t just that you lose. Oh no. You have to lose in a way that shows something to the people who are taking your money.
In poker there is the bluff. For people who are addicted they can generally tell when another is bluffing, whether that be in a slight movement or change in features. But if you show them your bluffing tick, well then, don’t you have the power. You can control the game. I’ve shown Gary my bluffing face, made up of course, for the past month. And in total i’ve probably lost eight hundred in my savings. But you have to lose some to gain some. And tonight Gary was going to leave with nothing.
“I think my luck is changing Gary.” I said whilst taking a step around him. “Should we get this over with, or not?” Gary turned gesturing his hand outward.