Soul Chameleon

At eight years old, he had ordered a Hollywood stage make-up kit. By the time he was fifteen he had a small empire.

He would pick pockets, take only the driver’s license, and return the wallets for the reward (sometimes cash, often more substantial than the amount stolen, and always, the satisfaction of a good deed done). An hour or two of his art, he would leave his room using a face his father would not have recognized, to purchase a massive amount of alcohol. He sold it to the party circles of his school and the students of a local college at a mark up of twenty percent. They didn’t mind; better someone else went through the hassle.

Such was his skill, that he was arrested one night for drunk driving, and walked home the next morning. He had been wearing the face of a grizzled old man, looking very much like a Santa Claus gone to seed. They held him in lock down until the morning. He stepped out into the bright sunlight at the precinct, feeling slightly sorry for the old gentleman whose identity he’d stolen; he would be receiving a court summons he didn’t deserve.

At fifteen he had been talented, but at twenty-two he was a soul chameleon. He was capable of mimicking a person’s body language after a short time within proximity, essentially also adopting the person’s personality.

Having long abandoned his original enterprise because it bored him, he courted the government. Its espionage department found him to their taste and put his skills to good use. He also moonlighted as a significant member of Team E.V.I.L. during his course in government intelligence, often wreaking havoc on his own projects. Other organizations, criminal and legit, also paid for his services.

Today, he has dissolved into the swarm of identities that make up our world, effortlessly stepping in and out of roles. His employers have lost track of him, but his projects somehow are completed. There is some speculation that he is also one of the head honchos running the show.

Once in a while a man will pause in the street, or at the office, in obvious confusion, his own identity thrown into doubt… then he will smile, and go on as sure as the sun shines.

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2 responses to “Soul Chameleon

  1. Very Chuck Palahniuk…. who I think is one of the most talented writers today. I dig the visuals… and for a second found myself wondering if I could be an impostor in my own body….

    I wanted to follow up with email I sent to you yesterday, too, since I’m not sure if your zxvasdf address is your primary addy. I’m putting together a chapbook of the Fag/Hag poems and would love if you’d let me include your poem. All I need is a “yes” and a seven-word bio sent to bryan.borland@gmail.com. Would love to have you!

  2. Palahniuk is one of the few writers I compulsively read. I enjoyed his last few novels, but I really liked Survivor and Rant. I’d say Fight Club as well, but it’s in my nature to go against the majority… That’s why it took me so long to read the Harry Potter novels.

    I’ve sent it in. You’re being more than generous with this exposure, and I thank you for it.

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