Friday, April 5, 2013

The Benefits of a Lying Boy

I lied about where I lived when I was around ten-years old. I lived with my parents and four siblings in a three-bedroom double-wide modular home, but I told some delinquent classmates who road my bus that I lived in a big house, "like a mansion".

One day they came over on their bikes. They lived in nearby trailers ("nearby" can mean miles in Oklahoma). They both were muscular boys who cursed a lot. I lied to them because I was scared of them. I wanted to be impressive so they wouldn't beat me up. Mom and Dad had recently decided to stop driving us to school, which turned out to mean they had decided to stop sheltering us from public transit.

So Bob and John showed up at my house and asked if they could see it. They were obviously being smart asses because they could see it already, and could see it wasn't a mansion. I said, "Sure, but it's really far away." They said, "Okay. Let's go." Though my family lived in a modular (many just call it a trailer -- the primary difference between the two is a trailer's wheels don't come off), it was on 60 acres. There was a creek that ran through our land and a bluff with caves on the back 20. I picked the least bike friendly path to my fake house: on top of the bluff. They said, "Okay. Let's go."

We started walking toward it. Bob was tall with long blonde hair and a boxer's build. John looked like Jesus from The Big Lebowski, but with worse facial hair. They were both 12-years old.

We were getting close to the bluff where I knew I was going to be caught, made fun of, and likely beaten, when I realized I was taking them to the best place to hide a beaten boy's body. Luckily, I was good at being nice and began talking to them about sports, school, and fireworks. They especially liked talking about setting things on fire. We crossed the creek at the foot of the bluff, and they dropped their bikes to begin climbing. I thought: "What the hell am I doing?" and then I thought: "God, I'm sorry for saying 'Hell'".

Bob and John did poorly in school because they didn't pay attention and were easily distracted, which worked out for me because they quickly became excited to search a small cave for snakes. It was late fall, the ground was covered with leaves, and we were near a creek. I apparently wasn't too smart either because Copperheads are the notorious poisonous snakes of Oklahoma and they loved these conditions.  In fact, a friend of mine was recently hospitalized because, after sun down one night, he chased what he thought was a frog along a water's edge, until the "frog" bit him.

It was getting near dark and I knew my mom would be angry if I were late to dinner because I was out after dark on a snake infested bluff with two strange boys who could grow beards and beat up people. So I told Bob and John I was lying. I said, "Well, actually our mansion is in Texas." They didn't hear me, so I had to repeat it, "Guys, I don't have a big house on top of this bluff. My mansion is in Texas." They said, "Okay. Well . . . this was fun." I still don't know if they were stupid, or if they were just used to getting hints that they should leave.

We climbed out of the cave, down the bluff and back to the bikes, and we all went home. I had lied to try to impress them out of self defense, and it worked. They left me alone. They likely knew that I was full of shit the whole time, but luckily searching for snakes somehow saved me. And the two biggest 12-year-olds on the bus never bothered me.


  1. I love this story; it instantly transported me back to my childhood. I lied about where I lived, too. The house I pretended to live in was down the road, the nicest house on the street, set back from the road, its two stories partially obscured by perfect trees on a perfect lawn. When 'friends' dropped me off from school, I'd guide them past my run-down house with the rusted siding and cars on blocks in the yard and have them drop me off in front of The Big House. I'd wave from the lawn as they drove off, then walk back home.

  2. I really like this--I don't think I've seen this kind of essay/memoir-ish type writing from you before, but you've got a real knack for it. Very funny and charming and true all at the same time.