They call me a chiseler. They call me a scam artist. They say that like it's a bad thing, but I consider it a compliment—artists are creative, talented, revered. Some of the humans call me a "con man," an appelation I like a little less. To me, "con" has always meant "Decepticon," and, well, I'm obviously not a man.

The other guys say I need to be more of a team player, that I'm the main reason their Teamwork and Cooperation ratings always get dragged down. I'm not sure why we get rated on that stuff in the first place, truth be told. What they don't seem to get is that everything I do, I don't just do it for me—I do it for the team, too. There isn't really a word for being selfish when you're including your Patrol, too.  Teamish, maybe.

In any event, they don't like my methods. They say that I cheat, that I try to beat the system. That I need to have some honor and play by the rules. Well, all I've got to say about that is that at the end of  the day, if I'm ahead of the other guy, then I feel like I'm doing pretty good. Some folks have their fortune handed to them on a silver platter, while others have to scrap and toil and build their fortune from the ground up. Me, I'm smarter than that. I'm clever. I know how to find the loopholes, the shortcuts, the easy way out. I can turn gold into energon. Not literally, of course, but it all works out the same.

While Tailspin is out racing or Freewheeler is sitting around lounging, I'm out there every day, trying to make the best of what I've got. Sometimes it's buying a new set of tires, slipping my old ones back in the packaging, and returning them for full price.  Sometimes it's auctioning off an old laser rifle and conveniently neglecting to mention that the battery pack doesn't work. (Hey, it's not my fault if the highest bidder can't read the fine print. "All sales final" means that all sales are final. End of story.)

Roadhandler is always yelling at me to get my act together. If you ask me, I've already got it together just fine. I'm ahead of the game. Sure, sometimes I fall behind—I've endured my fair share of cracked windshields and blown gaskets. I always find a way to get back on top, though. I feel like I'm entitled, quite frankly. The Universe owes me. All I have to do is figure out a way to one-up the Universe.

They call me a trickster. They call me a hustler.

They call me Swindler.



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This  Story Written May 2010