Wednesday, July 22, 2009


A/N: Inspired by Raksab's plot bunny in the Adopt a Plot thread at the NaNoWriMo forums.

For Neil Jackson’s third grade introduction, he said, “Hello, my name’s Edgar Moncherant, my family consists of ex-Mafia members, and I have three snakes and a zebra for pets. Nice to meet you.” For his fourth grade introduction, he said, “Hello, my name’s Alexander Christy, I’m a model and singer when I’m not studying and I’m secretly on the list for the next Grammy award.” And for his fifth grade introduction, he said, “Yo, I’m Black Jack Red, and I come from the alleys of New York City. The part you don’t even wanna know about.”

No one knew quite what to do with him. They told him lying was bad, of course, but that had no effect on him. His lying habits seemed to have no basis—he simply found lying fun. His family, a perfectly normal family, tried punishing him for lies, but that seemed to tell him only one thing: it’s only bad if you get caught. So Neil started disguising his lies with the truth, and soon even his own family couldn’t tell what was what.

He had few friends; no one liked the idea of a friend who wasn’t completely trustworthy. He had sworn a total of seven different times to seven different people that he would never tell a lie again, and proved all seven promises to be lies. And he kept lying through his teeth with a smile on his face, all the way to the beginning of his sophomore year.

Neil started the year off by responding to other students’ friendly introductions, “Hey, my name’s Neil Jackson, and oh—is that a spider in your hair?” There hadn’t been, but it had created a lot of panic and resentment for Neil in the classroom.

The next school year was going to be just like previous years, he thought. Full of gullible and uninteresting classmates.

Neil had no idea that this next school year would be stranger than any lie he could ever tell.


“Neil. Are you listening to me?”

Neil snapped his head up so quickly the teacher flinched. “Of course. Why wouldn’t I be listening?”

“I just asked you a question.”

“Oh,” said Neil. “I was trying to figure out the best answer to your question.”

The teacher stared at him expectantly. “Okay,” she said. “Tell us your answer.”

He paused. “Yes.”

“Excuse me?”

“Yes,” Neil said slowly, his mind racing back to their class lesson. What had they talked about again? “That is the answer to my question.”

“Yes,” repeated the teacher, giving him a strange look. “Elizabeth the First became queen in yes.”

A few classmates snickered.

“Yes. November 17, 1588.” said Neil.

Her lips quirked in an effort to conceal her smile. “Well, Mr. Jackson,” the teacher said, turning away from him. “I hope you’ll pay attention in the future.”

“Yes… ma’am.”

As the teacher resumed her lecture, he sat back and let his mind drift. History was easy enough if you were good at memorization. Neil glanced at his watch and sighed. Twenty-five more minutes to go.


After the class ended, Grant, a bleached blonde with thick glasses and enough personality to fill a shot glass, caught up with Neil as he was walking out the door.

“That was a close one, Neil!” said Grant. He was also arguably the only friend Neil had.

“I know!” Neil said. “If I hadn’t known the date I would’ve been in big trouble. Miss Brady has seriously been out for me ever since school started. Actually, I bet all of them are out for me,” he joked.

“Well, your lies certainly don’t help. You’ve got to admit that.”

“Didn’t you see back there? My lies saved me!”

“Sure,” Grant scoffed. “Although I bet ‘What was the question again?’ would have worked just fine, too.”

Rolling his eyes, Neil shrugged. “You know that’s not my style.”

“I do believe you have no style,” announced Grant.

“The best style is no style,” Neil said philosophically, shaking his head and trying to fight a smile that threatened to break out.

Grant laughed. “But seriously, Neil,” he said. “I really think you need to cut the lying. Or at least some of it. You’re gonna land in hot water someday.”

“As if I weren’t already?"

A/N: Definitely needs some work, but that's the beginning. Hope you liked that.

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