The Long Con

Remember when I wrote something along the lines of, “I just spent three hours writing poetry in a coffee shop so I figured it’s about time I grew my first beard?” Well, here’s the product of that (from February 13th and 14th).

BUT FIRST – because I know how you kids like pictures – here’s a photo of me working on “Another Painting  By My Favorite Artist,” the night before it was finished.

Me 'n' Mikey Twohands, workin' on some art. Photo by Rosaly Natera.
Me ‘n’ Mikey Twohands, makin’ art. Photo by Rosaly Natera.


“The Long Con”

She was drunk and I flirted with her.
She said we were friends on Facebook.
I said I didn’t know.
But I knew.
Just a little bit.

 She had liked one of my photos.
I think I liked one of hers.
The internet is fun.

I got back to Hembrough’s apartment and asked him for the scoop on this girl he worked with.
He told me that she was gay. Or that she was bi.
“More into girls” and “done with guys.”
I smiled.
“I can work with that.”

At the bar,
When she acknowledged that she knew who I was,
I asked if she had seen my art and read my stories.
“Just Facebook.”
So you don’t actually know just how special I am yet.”
She said she had an idea.
“Scale of one to ten,” I asked.
She gave me a seven and a half.
Which was totally unacceptable.

I hit her up the next day.
“I’m leaving town soon. Let me know if you wanna hang out before I go.
I can TALK MORE AT YOU about how special I am.”
We met up that night. At the marina.
We walked around a little, talking, getting to know one another.

It was going well. We got along well. Connected on a lot of levels.
We related. Seemed to have similar worldviews. Mostly similar.
I liked her attitude generally. Her notions about the universe. How things work.
The brightness of her spirit.
At one point, I was overwhelmed by my adoration; I hugged her.
Her enthusiasm for an animal, a tree.
For living.

It struck me (and I told her) that, not so long ago,
I’d have thought that shit was retarded.

She told me about crystals.
It was awesome.

The next day, I wanted to see her again.
I asked her,
“If I don’t leave town until morning, would you wanna hang out tonight?”
I was really hoping she’d want to.
(And I kinda held off on leaving for just that reason).
For the chance of it.

She invited me over to her house.
I had intentionally waited until it was late enough –
When it wouldn’t make sense for us to go anywhere else.
I’m calculating like that.
But she didn’t lead me to her room.
The pretense of our late night meeting:
She said she wanted to see my new in-progress painting.
I brought it in and she pulled two chairs together, in the living room.
We arrived to a point of joking; the painting needed a literal silver lining.
I told her I’d do it. “I’ll do it right god damn now.” I threatened.
“I’ve got all this stuff in the van.”
“Do it,” she said.
“Well… um… do you… would you wanna paint with me?
It was already after 2AM. She said yes.

We painted together as people filtered in and out of the house around us.
Kind of hanging out, doing their own thing, talking to us, but mostly we painted.
We would talk together, occasionally one or the other to someone else.
Some kids on the couch sniffed cocaine from a bag.
I walked by to change the music and they tried to hide the drugs.
“I don’t mind,” I told them as I returned to my painting.
“I was in middle school once too,” I whispered to her.
Cocaine is a funny joke.

We listened to pop punk and I talked passionately about self-loathing and cheerful melodies,
Grit and sparkle, light and dark.
I focused on my canvas as I worked.
A few times, I looked over and noticed her – beaming at me.
With that smile. The one that really says…
The kind that I interpret as: “I’m really into you.”
She had that kind of Radiant, Outstanding, Beaming smile.

I didn’t even know how to react to it.
It made me kinda nervous.

The night before:
When we said goodnight. I gave her a hug and she hugged me back really well.
When I let go – this is when I would have kissed her – she said,
“I think you’re really cool”
Or something funny like that.
I smiled and I took it as a “don’t even try” sort of signal.


But tonight, I had been wondering,
“Is this girl into me? Is she not?”
When I saw her beaming at me like that, I decided:
“This girl is twenty-two.
She doesn’t know what she wants from me.
She wants whatever it is I decide she wants from me.”
I asked her if she wanted to come outside with me while I smoked a cigarette.
Before I lit it
(Because she doesn’t like the smell of smoke
(Especially menthols))
I pulled her in toward me. Hugged her. Embraced her. Put my hand on the back of her head.
She did the same, really pulling herself in close.
But when I started to pull slightly back,
To tilt her head, to kiss her,
She said,
“I think you’re really special,”
And I laughed.
“Is that your way of saying ‘Don’t try anything?'”
“I think so.”

Fair enough.

I didn’t feel rejected. I felt kind of relieved because –
You know –
There was no longer any pressure of
Having to have sex with this girl.
It wasn’t gonna happen; we could just be…
We could just be buddies.
Just fucking hang out, paint, whatever.


So we did. That was the rest of the night and then I left.
But I remember thinking:
I don’t know what’s what, I can’t figure out shit
But I feel relieved.
Because I’m just trying to sleep with this girl because of my own insecurity.
To show myself that I can.
That this girl would want me.
Like any girl would want me.
It’s a stupid game of validation.
I didn’t need to have sex.
It’s not like wanted to FUCK her.
It’s not that.
It’s just… what I do.
I validate myself through sex.
So I felt relieved. And I noted it.

But still – if she doesn’t want that
(It was an intense smile).

 In the morning, I thought about her,
About her rejecting me,
And a big smile crept across my face.
I think I might like this girl.
Even if she doesn’t wanna let me do TERRIBLE THINGS to her.
Maybe that’s even part of it.
I told her so.
She reciprocated.
And indicated
That she doesn’t let people do “terrible things” to her
Until she knows that they’re for real.
Or real friends.
Something like that.
And then with a flirty sort of emoticon.
Which isn’t especially poetic.
But this is 2014.
So it’s cool.
And I was re-energized.
It was cute and it made sense.
I was re-energized for The Long Con.

Hembrough and I like to talk about everything.
Really honestly, sincerely but
We also like to play
(As anyone who’s seen our Kendra Sheetz video knows)
Off the whole “fratboy, fuck-yeah, pickin’ up girls” thing.
Any effort to win a girl – for sex, for love
Even if it’s genuine – more than a sex thing
(Which in my case, it always is)
(Sex is the least important facet of my operation)
It requires a degree of skill, of deception.
A girl has to be tricked
Into believing that I’m worthwhile.
If the effort spans more than a single evening,
That’s what Hembrough and I like to call

We’ve kept in touch; we’ve been talking.
Things are nice.
But I realized last night,
(When I didn’t get all that far out of town)
I was wishing she was with me.
Wishing she was there,
Wishing that I was falling asleep next to her.
I didn’t want to have sex,
I just wanted to fall asleep with her.
Which is really sweet
I said I wanted to do “terrible things” to her
Well, the things I do are pretty terrible.
And girls are turned on by that; that works.
But THAT’S not what I had tried;
Not what I had led off with.
I had tried to kiss her.
Which isn’t terrible; it’s just… sweet.
And I realized that – since breaking up with Heather –
I have not done anything sweet.
Good, welcome, appreciated, but not sweet.
The last girl: I fucked four times;
I kissed her no times.
But I wanted to kiss this girl…
Is that because the dynamic between us
Is more of a personal / getting-to-know-you
And not a “we’re in this to fuck so let’s fuck”
Or is it because maybe there’s something else there?

It’s hard to say.
It’s always hard to know what’s real with me.

Is it just because she denied me?
Do I want what I can’t have? Is it that?
I don’t know.
I told Chris: I might like this girl.
I might actually be developing feelings for her.
But is that totally crazy? I don’t know
I don’t know
But I’m enjoying it for what it is right now

I’ve left town but I told her I wanted to call her,
Talk to her about these things.
I don’t know to what extent.
But she’s on my mind.
She’s the girl that’s occupying my thoughts.

Say somethin'.