Saturday, February 2, 2008

Two Lies and a Truth

THE EXERCISE: I think this exercise comes from the book What If, by Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter. I've seen it several places. The idea is to write three statements or anecdotes, one of which is a lie. Try to make the lie as detailed and believable as possible. At the same time choose truths that seem quirky and unbelievable.  Here goes.

1. I once had a cat named Stinker, who loved water. He lolled in puddles, played in the rain. Most cats hate water; it creeps them out. Stinker was no different as a kitten. Unfortunately for him, my cousin, Brian, often came to visit, and when he did, he liked to grab little Stinker and throw him into out above-ground pool, usually while I stood by, shrieking. I don't know how many times that cat almost drowned before he gave in and made his peace with being wet all the time. (Brian eventually grew up to be a very bad man. Torturing cats was just the beginning for him.) Later we moved and gave the cat to my aunt, who said that for the first six months, Stinker was continually scaring the bejesus out of her. She would find him sitting in cold dishwater, or laying in the tub as it filled with hot water, two eyes glowing up at her through the rising bubbles.

2. I have accepted an assignment to cover a weekly sporting event in Times Square, one frequented by Broadway stars and crews. Among them will likely be the actor Larry refers to as Mr. Flapjack Tits (or Mr. FT), because he bowls. He's an Irishman who bowls.

3. Professional wrestler Killer Kowalski once kissed me on the mouth. This happened in the middle of an interview. He looked at me with sudden anger at something I'd said, and then he grabbed my face in both hands and planted one on me. A nice one, no tongue. Because I'm from Nebraska, I pretended nothing had happened and the interview went on as usual.

The answer? As my three-year-old would say, "Tricked ya!" They are all true. Clearly I need more practice with this lying business. No wonder I struggle as a fiction writer.

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