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Full Circle: The Lie
The unthinkable happened. I ripped my new pants.
By Maury Z. Levy

It was the morning of the annual George Washington’s birthday play, back when George Washington’s birthday was still a holiday. And I had the most important role of all. I was the kid who opened and closed the curtain.

After school, buoyed by our success of stage, we decided to play some football in the cinder yard. It was tough on the knees. Even tougher on the pants.

My mother, as was her policy, had just bought me a new pair of brown corduroy pants. She told me to wear them only for dress. I wore them for the play. I was still wearing them when we went to the cinder yard.

And then it happened. On the third play from scrimmage, I slipped. My hand didn’t break my fall. My knee did. My knee was bloodied but, more important, my pants were ripped.

As I limped back home, I realized I couldn’t tell my mother the truth. When I got there, she stared at my bloody knee.

“What did you do to your pants?” she said. “You ruined them.” I summoned what little courage I had left.

“It wasn’t me,” I said.

“Then who was it? Who ripped that hole?”

I thought as fast as my little head could. And then something just blurted out of my mouth.

“It was a dog,” I said. “A dog attacked me. It was a giant dog with great big teeth. Real sharp teeth. And I think he had foam coming out of his mouth. He growled and then he jumped on me. I tried to run away, but he bit me.”

“He bit you? Where did he bite you? My God, maybe he gave you the rabies.”

“No,” I said, “He just bit my pants.”

“He bit your pants but he didn’t bite you?”

“No, see, I punched him in the nose with all my might and he ran away.”

I could tell this wasn’t going well. She just gave me her I-don’t-believe-a-word-of-this stare.

“You’re telling me you punched a dog in the nose.”

“Yeah, mom, I punched him really hard.”

“Where was this dog?”

“On my leg.”

“No, I mean where did this happen?”

I thought real fast. I better make this far away from home. If I don’t, she’ll drag me door to door, neighbor to neighbor, looking for that rabid dog.

“It was on…Revere Street. Yeah, that was it. It was on Revere Street on my way home from school.”

“Revere Street?” She shook her head. And then she said those six words that every boy dreads. “Wait ’till your father gets home.”

My father was direct. “What kind of dog was it?” he asked.

“Umm, brown. It was a brown dog.”

“No, I mean what breed?”

“Breed?”

“Never mind. Get in the car.”

He drove the old Dodge straight to Revere Street. And then he slowed down. There were a lot of dogs on Revere Street.

“Was it that dog?”

“No, bigger.”

“Bigger? That’s a Great Dane, boy. He was bigger than a Great Dane?”

“Dad, I think he was as big as you.” And that’s where it all started to unravel. My father was 5’11”.

“I think we need to get the police on this case,” he said. “I’ll drive right over to the police station.”

Police? Oh, no. My goose is cooked, my reputation is shot.

And that’s when I gave it all up. “Dad, I cannot tell a lie. There was no dog. I fell playing football.”

There was silence all the way home.

“Did you find the dog?” my mother asked.

“Yep,” my father said. “Biggest dog you’ve ever seen.”

And then he looked at me and winked. The truth worked. Lesson learned. It would be our little secret.

February 2019
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