Title: Truthful Lies

Author: Frankie McMillan

In: Sport 22: Autumn 1999

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, March 1999

Part of: Sport

Keywords: Prose Literature

Conditions of use



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Sport 22: Autumn 1999

Frankie Mcmillan — Truthful Lies

page 15

Frankie Mcmillan

Truthful Lies

I'm a truthful liar, believe you me. You could cut out my heart and throw it to the dogs, but I still couldn't give you the bare facts. Ask me what I had for breakfast. Go on. I'll say what you want to hear; something ordinary and safe. Like Weetbix with chopped banana, milk and a teaspoon of brown sugar. Toast, wholegrain with marmite.

You'll understand that. You'll think I'm just the same as you.

Ask me how often I wash my hair. Go on. I wash my hair twice a week with Timoteii shampoo, Extra Mild. Yes, I feel better with clean hair. Though it doesn't happen overnight I know it will happen. Okay, now ask me something personal. Go on. Have I ever been engaged to a dwarf? No. Yes. Choose yes.

His name was Stan and he wore a black suit and had to jump for the door handle. He jumped with both feet so you could see the pink flesh between sock and suit leg. The door would swing open, and he'd march on through. The only sign he gave of this little accomplishment was in his hands. For a moment his pudgy hands would flare out like startled starfish. He could kiss. I think his tongue was thicker than normal. Ask me. Ask me what you want to know. He had special shoes made; his feet weren't long but his fat toes made them wide. Stan could have worn sandals. Get a pair of Roman sandals, I told him. No one wears brogues any more, I told him. Only dentists that commit suicide wear brogues.

Ask me about my kids. One day I'll tell you I had four kids. Another day I had three. So what happened to the fourth one. Look at me. Watch my cheeks not my eyes. See the two bright spots of colour. That's blood coming to the surface. I'll tell you I lost him. You'll think I was careless. Left bubby on the bus. Or at kindy with a stranger in a check shirt, open necked.

My baby was born in a garage. Stan and me did it up—had Frank page 16 Zappa posters on the wall, a batik cloth over the ceiling. Brown and orange colours that swirled in a disgusting way. Looking at the colours while I was pushing the baby out. Stan running for the doctor because there wasn't a phone and next door didn't want a fuckin' circus on their hands. The dog licking the baby clean and me laughing and crying and not knowing if dogs should be licking newborn babies.

You asked. You wanted to know. Anyway he died. The dog—run over by the milk truck. He was a good dog. Stan took the baby because it was the same as him. Ran off with the baby one night. It was raining. He had an umbrella. You wouldn't think a man would run off carrying an umbrella and a week-old baby boy. Stan did. My breasts leaked milk for months. The mattress smelt of stale milk; the smell followed me everywhere.

People understand lies. I lost my baby. I had a miscarriage. A loving lie gives a picture in the head. A dwarf, an umbrella, a garage will give you a headache. You will look at me sideways. You will wonder if I've lost the plot.

I lied when I told you I was lying. You knew that. I let you think that I was lying in order to lie some more, but you knew. Because you lie too. Your lies are trivial lies. Tell me you're made of truthful lies. Let me believe in the goodness of your lying. Go on. Remember the cruel huntsman and the wicked queen. Lie.

Make it good.