Wednesday Write-in #19: A Liar Like Me

Wednesday Write-in #19 @ CAKE.shortandsweet

Prompts: slither  ::  world cinema ::  unwrapped  ::  wine

A LIAR LIKE ME

When I lie it’s false. I can feel the eyes of the people around me boring holes into my veneer and it ruins the whole thing. In my books the characters lie easily and it’s always so admirable, so charming.

Why can’t I be like them?

When I do it my paranoia reeks through my countenance like the stench from bad milk. In my genuine effort to lie with sincerity–so as not to hurt anyone, of course–I end up alienating everyone.

My lies come across affected.

“He doesn’t even seem like he’s trying to lie,” they say after the damage is done and I’ve already left the room.

I felt them thinking it tonight, too, after it was all said and done.

“Who do we have next?” said my Uncle Jack, ringmaster of the Secret Santa brigade. “Let’s see. Okay. It’s Kellen.” He looked over and gave me a moment to set down my glass before tossing my gift across the room.

I caught it then paused to look around. Everyone was seated in a circle.

All eyes were turned on me.

I removed the wrapping paper slowly so as not to offend my anonymous giver (he or she was watching, after all). And from the bowels of that cheap colored paper slithered a heaping collection of world cinema onto my grandfather’s shag rug.

Three discs in plastic casing–all foreign.

“Movies!” yelled one of my cousins cheerfully. A few others clapped and the older ones in from college gave their perfunctory oohs and aahs.

And then my Santa came forward.

“It’s from me,” said Annie. Her mother, who was at the moment casting a knowing smile at me over her daughter’s shoulder, had taught Annie Spanish and French at a young age. So her precocious choice of film came as less of a surprise.

“This is really something Annie,” I said, then nodded to her mother (Le SamouraïY Tu Mamá También and Amélie had to be her work).

Just then my uncle stepped into my line of sight to corner me with his digital camera. I held my gifts up and smiled for the picture.

That was when it happened.

When it was finished, and the heat was off me, I reached for my glass of boxed wine.

These better be dubbed, I thought.

I hate subtitles.

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8 Comments

Filed under Flash Fiction, Wednesday Write-In, Writing

8 responses to “Wednesday Write-in #19: A Liar Like Me

  1. I feel how uncomfortable he is, what’s great about this story is that people can relate to it; it depicts real well.

    At the start where he’s talking about lying, is this in anticipation that he’s going to have to attempt at lying again in regards to liking the gift he receives in the Secret Santa? Perhaps, as Sarah says, you could bring the story back around to the lying again.

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    • I think that is my “in” into the recounting of a specific moment in which a lot of lying is happening. Gift exchanges have always been awkward and comical to me, mostly because of all of the lying and superficiality that goes on (not that it isn’t fun and enjoyable!).

      For me, there is a definite moment when the lie happens, but the lie is part the whole thing too.
      Perhaps I could have made that more clear.

      –AM

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  2. Elaine McKay

    I liked the ringmaster image. I find those situations uncomfortable and that image summed the feeling up well.

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  3. I really liked the set up for this, particularly when you threw us into the secret santa scene. I’m a terrible liar, I’m dreadful at hiding my feelings in any situation. But with this guy, it felt more calculated, like he’s always trying to lie (even if he isn’t very good) – did I read that right? I also felt the lying got lost a bit at the end, that you didn’t tie it back when he opens his own gift. I wondered if he needed to say something aloud, maybe to do with the subtitles. Eh, just speculating. Enjoyed this one, thank you 😀

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    • You read it right. I tried to be explicit about the picture being the moment of the lie, but maybe that moment wasn’t strong enough for the set up in the beginning.

      I always feel like I’m lying whenever I get photographed with a gift from someone else.

      Thanks again.

      –AM

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  4. Warren Kistner

    You too, huh? I’ve never been very successful at lying…even when it’s the “kind” thing to do. Don’t get me wrong…I do it. Interesting “slice of life” piece. Not sure if that was what you were going for but that’s how this old guy read it.

    Happy Holidays Martin. And keep writing!

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