"Wait, wait - start again... you did what for over a year?" Connor asked the debonair gentlemen across the table, a man named Keith.
"I asked people for money," Keith smiled. It was an infectious smile, but then beautiful people have an easy time infecting people with their emotions.
"Panhandled?" Connor asked, incredulous. Keith was far too pretty to be a panhandler.
"No, nothing so dire as all that, thank god!" Keith laughed. "Actually, I had a job the whole time. I did it as a hobby, just because I could," he shrugged.
Connor couldn't believe it. For several seconds his mouth hung open, and Keith enjoyed the disbelief. "How is this?" Connor finally asked.
"I had several schemes for getting money, and all of them depended on my good looks," Keith began. "Would you believe if I said It started innocent? I pulled a bonehead move. I ran out of gas miles from anything and walked three hours to the nearest town. When I finally got to the gas station, I realized I left my billfold in the car. I'm holding an empty gas can and patting my ass as I approach the door to the station - nothing. I pulled my pockets inside out. I realized I was looking at another six hours of walking. A bit of panic set in. I look up and see this pretty lady with an old cadillac watching me. She gives me a smile as women often do, and I thought to myself, 'she'll help'. After all, I only needed five bucks. And the way she looked at me - I could tell she'd do far more just to talk to me. She bought my gas, gave me twenty bucks so I could get a meal, and even drove me to my car."
"You are rather easy on the eyes," Connor admitted.
"Thanks," Keith shrugged. "After that, I became a little obsessed. I'd bait women and see what I could get from them. I didn't get involved in relationships. I only ever hit up strangers. I once got a thousand dollars from a lady, just sat down next to her at a fancy bar, ordered a drink, and slowly told her a sob story while I complimented her hair, shoes, make-up, smile, tits..."
Keith gave an emphatic nod. "Took two hours. I had to sleep with her to get it," Keith shook his head. "She complained about her marriage the entire time we talked, and I knew I could get the money if I took her to bed. I vacillated. I felt it was a line I didn't want to cross, yet... I wanted to see if I could get away with it. Money was something she had. Affection was all she wanted. I kind of felt bad for her. For a while I convinced myself I did her a favor - but it was an even trade. We both got what we wanted.
"Still, I wasn't big on money for sex - not at first - though I don't know why. To start I was getting money for nothing. Maybe it was good that some of these women got a healthy effort from me. Anyway, a thousand was the most I ever got at one time. After that, I started sleeping around for five hundred, a couple hundred, a hundred, fifty, even twenty bucks a few times. So long as they gave me something, I felt I got the upper hand," Keith shrugged. "It was a little whorish," he shook his head. "It was a lot whorish."
"How did it end?" Connor continued.
Keith smiled a perfect grin, teeth pearly white and straight. "I was giving this lady the line, and I was pretty sure I had her. I told her I needed a hundred bucks - but the sob story inflated, and I thought I could get two or three hundred. She seemed amicable. I put on the smolder and tried to seduce her - but some women are pretty tricky with their emotions. She took my hand. I thought she was going to kiss me as I leaned in. Instead her face lit with a righteous rage and she twisted my pinkie. In shock, I pulled my hand away. She took a step back and kicked at my crouch. I dodged and she just missed, though the kick bruised the shit of out my inner thigh. She cursed me out as stormed away, mad as a nest of hornets. She wasn't the first one to get angry with me, but she was certainly the first to really do something about it. I mean, I suffered a few a slaps, but this..." Keith shrugged. "This caused me to reconsider. I realized I almost lost my balls over two hundred bucks and thought the risk was no longer worth it. I didn't need the money. I just did it for thrills. After that, it wasn't thrilling anymore. It was simply dangerous - and that made it stupid."
"You got lucky," Connor noted.
"Did I?" Keith wondered. "I was so used to using women and shrugging them aside. It was not healthy - which is why I'm still single. I took too long a stray down the wrong path. I'm good with bad women, and bad with good women."
"At least you see it," Connor noted.
"There is that," Keith smiled. "I'm not religious, but every once in a while I pray. I say thank you for that lady. I feel she saved me from myself. She caught me and called me out, and showed me what waited further down that road. I must have been so obvious to her. Sometimes I wonder how many of them knew I was lying. That I was simply selling a sob story. Yet, they had money, they were lonely, they had problems all their own, and I was their comfort, if only for a night, if only for an hour of the afternoon. I wasn't just lying to women. I was lying to myself." Keith shrugged. "Sooner or later the right woman will come along, and I'll leverage a bad past into a bright future." He said. "Sooner or later..." he repeated.