The Old Lie

The Old Lie

A Story by Peter Regal Whittam
"

A lie told years ago erupting in the shape of disaster.

"
The blinding spotlight bathed my face in a warm glow as the sound of applause waved in from every direction. But instead of the happiness and pride one would expect me to feel in that circumstance, I was filled with dread, dread at the fact that the old lie was surfacing once again, after all these years. A colleague rushed onto the stage, shoved a microphone in my hand and, with a wink and a smile, jumped off, leaving me standing there, dumbstruck, like an insect under a microscope about to be dissected.

My mind reeled back five years ago. The memory of that unfortunate office party played in my mind like an old movie, faded yet with every detail stored and remembered. I was only a new employee then, hired as a technical manager in a multinational corporation. Like any ordinary person new at a job, I felt extremely out-of-place in the middle of numerous established shareholders and wealthy businessman. Their topics of conversations were far over my head: gross national products, implementation of embargo, asset liquidity and complete entrepreneur liabilities among other complicated matters. The boss of our company, a mythical overlord of the corporation, seldom seen and eternally feared, seemed to sense my uneasiness - or perhaps he was testing me - and kept shooting questions at me, jumping from one subject to another without so much as an inkling of his true purpose. This carried on for the entire party before something extremely different happened at the end: before departing, when my employer shrewdly asked me about something that sounded like “solutions of BOP deficit”. I quickly blurted out a snippet of information I had picked up earlier that night:

“The BOP deficit can easily be avoided by pulling down the currency value, which will increase the aggregate demand of our products to foreign nationals,” I announced, my voice quivering.

My employer was mightily impressed by my “astute observation”, as he called it. That was when I did something that would haunt me years later - when he asked me if I had a foundation in the subject of economics, I immediately bragged that I had a strong base in that field. As I uttered the words, the voices of everyone surrounding me suddenly turned effervescent, as if we were old friends. I was treated as an equal after then, especially by my boss, of whom I had become an instant favorite. My conscience nagged me from deep within, but I ultimately brushed off the guilt, thinking, “What can possibly go wrong?”

And now, as I stood on the stage, my heart pounding out drums, I could see exactly what could go wrong. My legs wobbling like jelly, I turned to the banner behind me, which had the words “The Economists' Convention”. I had thought I was invited to the convention just because the entire employee list was. Little did I know that my boss wanted me to deliver a speech on the country’s economic problems, that too in front of a panel full of renowned economists and political experts. As I stood there, knees on the verge of buckling, I realized there was only one thing that could have brought on this catastrophe: the lie, the old lie I had told years ago, hoping it would have been buried under the layers of time. But it did resurface, in the shape of the worst cataclysm possible. As the applause died down, I took a deep breath and started to speak.

Half an hour of stammering, awkward pauses and embarrassment later, I took a low bow and practically dashed off the stage. There was only a smattering of applause - obviously the world-renowned economists did not appreciate my spewing out of high-school economics, half of which were faulty. The air in the company table was quite, somber…with a little touch of suppressed humour. It was akin to being in a funeral of someone who was disliked by everyone. I plopped down on my chair, sinking as low as humanely possible, and wished I could just disappear into nothing. Although the lesson was crude, it taught me one thing: any lie, no matter how old, will rise up from the ashes of fire and strive for your undoing.

© 2013 Peter Regal Whittam



Author's Note

Peter Regal Whittam
As usual, be as harsh as you can. Appreciate it!

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Featured Review

This was pretty funny. Your descriptions are clear enough it sounds like it might have actually happened. I especially like when you say "It was akin to being in a funeral of someone who was disliked by everyone," as well as your description of the eternal fear surrounding the boss.
it seems like a grammar error or typo prevented you from making a joke here, toward the end of the second to last paragraph,
"But it did, in the shape of the worst cataclysm possible." We don't know what it "did," but if you fix that there's room for a joke there, I think.
Overall I enjoyed this a lot, and I think it's short enough that it packs a good deal of humor in without being tiring (it would only be a problem if it were longer because most of the humor revolves around this one instance).

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

This was pretty funny. Your descriptions are clear enough it sounds like it might have actually happened. I especially like when you say "It was akin to being in a funeral of someone who was disliked by everyone," as well as your description of the eternal fear surrounding the boss.
it seems like a grammar error or typo prevented you from making a joke here, toward the end of the second to last paragraph,
"But it did, in the shape of the worst cataclysm possible." We don't know what it "did," but if you fix that there's room for a joke there, I think.
Overall I enjoyed this a lot, and I think it's short enough that it packs a good deal of humor in without being tiring (it would only be a problem if it were longer because most of the humor revolves around this one instance).

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on November 4, 2013
Last Updated on November 5, 2013
Tags: old, lie, dishonest, honestly, funny, fiction

Author

Peter Regal Whittam
Peter Regal Whittam

Chittagong, Bangladesh



About
Hello, I'm Peter, a hobbyist writer. I have always had an attraction towards what I like to call "text-based art", but my passion for writing did not bloom until recently, and it has been growing ever.. more..

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