One of my characters did something abhorrent during a pivotal point in my latest work this week. I was so appalled that I nearly hit delete.
But then, I thought, this is something we all do from time to time and after all, I did play a small role in his despicable decision.
“Just what did he do?” you ask.
He told a lie! What is unclear during this act of indiscretion is:
Was the truth bent to the breaking point or did it snap like so much dry kindling?
Is it possible, that this lie was of the white variety, manufactured in the heat of the moment to cover some small offense better left unsaid?
Or, could this have been a deep, dark, malevolent falsehood, woven with malice of forethought, aimed at bringing an unknowing party to the brink of utter destruction?
Perhaps an innocent fib, perpetrated with the best of intentions to protect someone from unwarranted ridicule?
We’re taught at an early age that honesty is the best policy; that we should always tell the truth and never lie, but is this an adage that even as we speak is developing chinks in its armor?
I submit to you a plausible story that could blow this age old statute totally out of the water. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.
Grandma was walking home from work. Grandpa, now retired and little confused, had requested she stop by the lumberyard and pick up a couple of chickens to tune their piano. Knowing full well that he was actually asking for a lottery ticket, she kissed his bald head and left for work that morning. She walked the high steel at the new three hundred story skyscraper downtown.
The door activated a bell when grandma entered the convenience store.
“Hello, grandma,” guy number one behind the counter said.
“Hello, guy number one behind the counter,” grandma said. “How are you today?”
“I’m fine, thank you,” guy number one behind the counter said. “What can I do for you?”
“Oh, I’m just here to buy grandpa a lottery ticket.”
“Chickens tuning the piano again?” guy number one behind the counter asked.
“Yep,” grandma said, “she gets out of tune real easy nowadays.”
“Hello, grandma,” guy number two carrying two chickens in a burlap sack said.
“Hello, guy number two carrying two chickens in a burlap sack,” grandma said. “How are you today?”
“Fair to middling, I guess,” guy number two carrying two chickens in a burlap sack said. “Here’s your chickens, grandma, I hope you get that piano tuned.”
Grandma waved because she didn’t want to say, “Goodbye, guy number one behind the counter and goodbye, guy number two carrying two chickens in a burlap sack.”
Guy number one behind the counter and guy number two carrying two chickens in a burlap sack also waved because they didn’t want to say, “Grandma.”
When grandma arrived home, grandpa asked, “Did you remember my lottery tickets?”
“Sure did,” grandma said. “That’s what we had for dinner.”
“And a mighty fine dinner it was,” grandpa said. He removed his shoes and climbed on top of the refrigerator. “You know that piano’s going to need tuning soon.”
Grandma smiled, “I’ll pick up a lottery ticket tomorrow.”
Grandpa returned the gesture, “Okay, good night.”
Grandma made herself comfortable under the kitchen sink. “Good night.”
Now can you see the point I’ve been trying to make when it comes to lying? Good, I thought you would when I laid it out clear and simple for you.
One more thing:
There is one hard and fast rule that has no exceptions, ever!
When the little lady asks,
Does this fill in the blank make my butt look big?