It pissed me off to think that he was gone without me.
Winston said there was nothing else to do now, that we were on our own, and yet I couldn’t believe it. The plan had always been to leave him behind; him, not me. Why? Sometimes we talked about how you never really know someone until they shit on your doorstep – literally or not. That particular conversation came back to me quickly, how true it had been then and how truer it was now, at this moment, when I was standing in the middle of nowhere with an utter nobody. Come, we have to move before the pigs get here, Winston said. I wanted to tell him to piss off, to get lost, but nothing came out.
All hell is about to break loose. That’s what he had said. Evie and I had been together for more than three years, and I met him. He taught me to be a man first, and then, to be more than that. I started right away with the long con, it was the hardest one he said, but in some cases, it’s the easiest to pull off. Evie didn’t see it coming, I took everything she had and left. We started that way, everything felt easy and real and new. Long cons, short ones, Tampa style, I tried them all until we met Winston. He knew people in the right places, so we kept him around. But the plan had always been to turn him inside down as well. That’s how it goes, he had said, you spot the weak link in a room and you aim for him. We tried to teach Winston some stuff but he was as dumb as he looked, so it didn’t really take. All we could teach him was not to get whipped by women. Most of them had more balls than him, just a strangly scary thing to watch.
There was one time in Glasgow where he met a sweet girl. There was something about her. We had spotted it right from the start, but he felt the need to try it. So we kicked back and relax with a Gin Tonic and watched as Winston made his way to the girl. She gulped strongly and we laughed. After a while they left and went upstairs. We ordered another drink and toasted until Winston came back, sweaty. It took him that long to realize the girl wasn’t a girl. Shit happens I guess, he said, shit happens. Don’t worry Winnie, we make mistakes – all of us.
We do make mistakes. Some bigger than others. Mine was to listen to any of his advice to begin with. Before all of this, I wasn’t that type of guy. Hell, I can say I wasn’t much of a guy at all. I had a job, I had Evie and that was about all there was to see. I’d get up at 6 everyday, have a coffee and leave only to return at 8pm. That was my life. Fucking around and fucking up on a daily basis without any real purpose, like most people out there commuting. There was no reality to whatever it was I was trying to achieve – become a father? Hell, I wouldn’t even qualify as a dad. Husband? No thank you. What else is there? There was no point in hoping to make it as a professional – I never cared much about jobs, all I ever wanted was to get money and some time to paint. When he happened to come along, I started thinking I was meant for something bigger, with a lot more sense. I started thinking I had abilities I didn’t even know existed, like sweet talking girls, boys, family, into trusting me with their lives. I was a bloody social worker, an insurance salesman, some sort of trusty life-sidekick, or something along those lines.
It’s always hard to grasp. The fact that you’re not unique. That you’re no different from the other jack sitting next to you on the bus. It’s always like crashing down in flames, like a lightning bolt with the heavy sound of thunder. I felt lousy and bad and nauseous – not for having been played like the green rookie that I was, but for something else. I believe in myself a little too much. That too, is hard to admit. For a second I stop being mindful. Another thing to add to the list. Be mindful of your surroundings. Nobody’s unique. Nothing can save you from oblivion.