This is a strange story where nothing is as it seems. And yet it is insidiously gripping. You want to know what identity Daniel (the contortionist of the title) will assume next and how. And Daniel will tell you, in minute detail, how he works the system and plays it for a sucker. Will he play you too?
I can make a birth certificate if I have to. Twenty-five minutes, not counting aging if I don’t have a vintage paper specimen. Strong coffee, tea or chicory, room temperature, soak for one hour. Or leave it taped to a sunlit window for two weeks. Seal it inside a plastic bag with rust scraped from a nail, let the moisture make spots. Heat a bent paperclip, make wormholes. Sodium silicate on a linoleum block stamp for a water-mark, because the pencil pushers will always hold it to the light. And be subtle, subtle, subtle. I saw a guy hand his fake to an SSA clerk. His overzealous paper aging made his job look like an amusement park treasure map. They cuffed him right there, and I doubt he’s out yet.