Let's begin with Psycho Yeti, thus named because he not only was the hairiest little varmint I'd ever seen naked (his back looked like a bathroom mat) but his stories about conquests, achievements and financial wealth were concocted out of very thin air. I met him through my son. Charlie was friends with his son, Matt. They lived in the neighborhood and though I had met Matt several times, I never met his father. That changed when PY called and invited me to Matt's birthday party. I accepted after being somewhat charmed by the smooth talker. I walked over to their rather rundown house expecting to find a man who resembled his son or vice versa. Instead, I was met at the door by a short, bow-legged, Stetson-wearing, cowboy in his late forties. Instantly, he reminded me of the Marlboro man. He had crystal blue eyes and, despite his weathered face, a strong jawline. I found him handsome, but when he began talking about his bronco riding days, I was turned off. Rodeos disgust me. Humans are the only willing participants in the brutal form of entertainment and I didn't want to be with a man who harassed bulls.
It should be noted that when the Stetson was taken off, PY went from the Marlboro Man to Uncle Morty. His comb-over gave him the appearance of a harmless old relative that sits at the Thanksgiving table barely saying a word, picking at his food like a homely bird.
PY was interested in dating. I wasn't. I told him we could be friends and get together for a drink or two as neighbors. He agreed and during that time, I was regaled with stories of him being a Formula One race car driver before he even had a driver's license (he was 15), winning bronco riding contests and even winning medals as a Green Beret. He owned a commercial painting business and bragged about how successful it was, how many employees he had and that he was so well off he could buy me anything I wanted (even though he never bought me anything except for dinner once). He also offered me a job as project manager at $50,000/year. This was back in 1998, so the offer was highly appealing. He offered to take me with him the following week on a job. I agreed readily, but the night before I was to go, he had to cancel. After two weeks of a platonic relationship, I am embarrassed to admit that I fell for Psycho Yeti. Up until this point, I had never questioned his veracity. I should have wondered why a wealthy man would be living in an old, cheap tract home in a lower middle-class neighborhood. My bad. The allure of being with a man took precedence over common sense.
It was when PY cancelled a second time that I began to question his stories. My brother offered to look him up online, something at the time wasn't possible without working for a company that had access to private records. What he found out rocked me to the core. He had at least two aliases, was in arrears with the IRS and his business lost its contractor's license years ago.
(to be continued)