Of Confidence Men


“Well then”, the costumed man began his oratory, “We have come all together in this place to commemorate, to mark and celebrate, the passing of an era.”

He removed his cap, revealing a wisp of thin hair on a very large, mostly bald head.

“For some time now I have been bringing forward and back a leg, pointing a toe, turning a wrist, causing an eye to follow me, smoldering. You know how it goes. They said I was dancing and I kept my shuffling and my whiff of a spin to dizzy myself, if not my peace. But who am I to say what is truly a dance, and what a mere routine?

Those who think upon the subject have yet to agree on how much in life comes from knowing and performing the correct steps. It’s possible that life is everything else, and the steps one memorizes and performs a mere intimation of Death, which is needed to cast life, undefined, in relief.


“The good merchant looked puzzled.

‘Still you don’t recall my countenance?’

‘Still does truth compel me to say that I cannot, despite my best efforts’, was the reluctantly-candid reply.

‘Can I be so changed? look at me. Or is it I who am mistaken?- Are you not, sir, Henry Roberts, forwarding merchant, of Wheeling, Pennsylvania? Pray now, if you use the advertisement of business cards, and happen to have one with you, just look at it, and see whether you are not the man I take you for.’

‘Why’, a bit chafed, perhaps, ‘I hope I know myself.’

‘And yet self-knowledge is thought by some not so easy. Who knows, my dear sir, but for a time you may have taken yourself for somebody else? Stranger things have happened.’

The good merchant stared. “

H.Melville, from The Confidence Man


Carlos C. claimed to be a shaman. He made multiple beautiful PHD students become his wives and sex-buddies. They all changed their names multiple times and cut their hair and dyed it blonde. He made millions of dollars selling bags full of sand that you are supposed to put on your back while lying on a bed doing an ‘ancient shamanic resting exercise’ that only he could teach you if you had paid thousands of dollars to go to one of his workshops. He taught that women had to be celibate because sperm is poison. But his sperm wasn’t poison because he was the Nagual. he was born in Peru in 1925, went to sculpture school in Lima, and died in Los Angeles in 1998. His ashes were then sent to Mexico. He said squash your parents because they are fleas. He had a vasectomy. He died of cancer. He refused to be photographed after 1973. Joyce Carol Oates did not think his books should be shelved in non-fiction with the other anthropology books. Every woman who ever met him wanted to have sex with him. Like Pablo Picasso, he was only 5 foot 3. A woman who wanted to have sex with him once said that there was immense sadness in his left eye because she was married and would not have sex with him. After he died, most of his wives disappeared, but one remarried and still lives in California, but won’t talk to writers. His daughter/lover who he called the blue scout drove her car into the desert and died of dehydration instead of becoming a ball of light and ascending into the Nagual, as he had promised she would. At one workshop, he had said that the blue scout was not really human. At another he said she was a bitch who could not complete her designs for paperweights in time for them to be mass-manufactured. All former followers agree that Carlos C. had a wonderful sense of humor.

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