In the Chameleon’s Shadow
by Mark Hummel
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“For years he had trekked over the globe, passing everywhere under a new identity, as if at the demarcation lines on maps that signaled the boundaries of towns or provinces or countries he shed one skin and donned another. He had tried on entire pasts, entire histories, wearing them as loosely as borrowed shirts.”
Aaron Lugner is a chameleon. A skillful con-artist hidden in plain sight, he creates camouflage by wearing his attractiveness like a kind of cloak and blends within the visions those around him desire, preying upon their vulnerabilities. He is despicable, yet why then, like the women he romances, do we like him?
When reminders from his past return Aaron to the US, he meets Myriam, a beautiful Amerasian, one of the “dust of life” orphaned by the Vietnam War. Desiring to change and convinced he is in love, Aaron vows never to lie to her. Away from Myriam, his lies begin to take on lives of their own. With her, his split selves threaten to collide.