The Lying Day
1) Today is a school holiday. A whole day for playing. Except you never can tell with my mother. Usually she asks me what I want to do, and we do it. But sometimes, she decides to do chores, which I hate.
2) "Chester," my mother calls. "Have you cleaned your room?"
"Yes," I say. But, I'm lying. I really pushed everything under the bed. I don't want today to be a chores day.
3) "Knock. Knock." My mother knocks at the door. "May I come in?"
"Yes," I say. I just know she'll say something nice about my neat-looking room.
She opens the door. "How neat your room looks!" she says. I smile, but I don't feel proud.
4) Then she walks over to my bed, lifts up the bedspread, and looks underneath.
I get a tight feeling in my stomach. I just know she's going to yell at me. And I hate it when she does that.
5) But she doesn't yell. She puts the cover down again, looks at me, and says calmly, "Your room isn't neat at all. Your toys are all under your bed. How did that happen?"
"Aliens put them there," I say. I know this is another lie, but I hope she'll believe it and feel sorry for me. If she's feeling sorry for me, I never have a chores day.
6) My mother's expression doesn't change. She doesn't look sorry for me. But she doesn't look angry, either, like she does when I've been bad.
"Oh," she says, still calmly. "The aliens put them there."
"Yes," I say, hoping that repeating my lie will convince her it's true.
7) "In that case," says my mother, "I think I'll take you to Cinderella this afternoon, instead of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
"But I want to see Indiana Jones!" I yell.
"You couldn't possibly want to see Indiana Jones," says my mother. "You tell lies."
"I'm not lying," I shout. "I want to see Indiana Jones."
8) But my mother acts as if she didn't hear me.
We get in the car, and we drive right by the movie theater with Indiana Jones. And she takes me to Cinderella. I have to sit through all that gushy stuff with the singing mice, which I hate.
9) Afterwards, my mother takes me to the ice cream parlor, like she always does after a movie.
"I want pecan fudge!" I say.
"Then I'll order strawberry for you," says my mother.
"But I want pecan fudge!" I yell.
"You couldn't possibly want pecan fudge," says my mother. "You tell lies."
10) I eat the strawberry ice cream, but I don't like it. Strawberry ice cream is boring. It doesn't crunch like pecan fudge.
11) I look at the clock. It isn't even 4 in the afternoon yet. I don't want my mother to get any more weird ideas for how to ruin my day, so I say, "I want to go to the park." There isn't anything I don't like to do at the park. If I say I want to swing and she takes me to the slide, I'll still have fun.
12) My mother says, "I'm taking you to the department store, where you can try on new shirts."
"I want to go to the park!" I yell. "I don't like to try on shirts."
"You couldn't possibly want to go to the park," says my mother. "You tell lies."
13) We drive right past the park on the way to the department store.
"Let's stop and swing on the swings!" I yell. Usually my mother likes to swing on the swings.
My mother acts as if she doesn't hear me.
14) I think about telling her I want to go to the barber shop, which I hate even worse than trying on shirts. But she might take me to the barber shop. And then I'd have to get my hair cut. Today is even worse than a chores day.
15) When we get to the department store, my mother makes me try on white shirts. That's the color I hate the worst.
"I want a red shirt," I say.
"You couldn't possibly want a red shirt," says my mother. "You tell lies."
16) I am getting angrier and angrier. This is no way to spend a school holiday. There has to be a way to get her to listen to me and do what I want.
"When can we go home?" I ask.
"Do you want to go home?" asks my mother.
17) I am so angry I can barely talk. I say, "If I say 'Yes, I want to go home,' you'll say I couldn't possibly want to go home.
You'll say I tell lies. But if I say 'No, I don't want to go home,' then I'm lying. How can I tell you what I really want?"
18) "You'll have to tell the truth," says my mother.
"How will you know it's the truth?" I ask.
"Let's practice," says my mother.
"Okay," I say.
"Is your room clean?" asks my mother.
"No," I say. "I put everything under the bed."
19) "Why did you do that?" asks my mother.
"Because I didn't want today to be a chores day," I say.
"That sounds like the truth," says my mother. "Now, do you want to go home?"
"Yes," I say. "I want to go home."
20) When we get home, my mother asks, "What do you want to do tomorrow?"
I say, "I want to see Indiana Jones and I want pecan fudge ice cream, and I want to go to the park."
My mother says, "Now I know you're not lying. If you clean your room, we'll do that."
21) "What if the aliens come and put everything under my bed?" I ask.
"If they do, I'll believe you," says my mother. "I know you won't tell lies again."