I cannot tell a lie, most of the time.

There are only two reasons to wake up early on the Wednesday after Mother Nature dumps a foot of snow in your city: you have to shovel the drive, or you can’t wait to check out the word of the day.

My husband purchased a (monster) snow blower several years ago, so a buried driveway doesn’t stir me from slumber. But, the word of the day…now, that’s excitement!

Today’s word on Wordsmith.org:

pervaricate. verb intr. to avoid telling the truth by being ambiguous, evading, or misleading.

Let’s get right down to some flash fiction business.

****

Ellen had been driving Gary crazy for the past three weeks.

Her desk sat in front and to the left of his, and every time he picked up his coffee for a drink, he saw her rolling her head.

Left.
Right.
A long, slow roll to the left again.
And, hold…back to center.

On that particular Wednesday, Ellen wore a shirt with a collar that rested three inches out from the base of her neck. With her left hand, she pulled her auburn hair around to fall over her left shoulder. The right side of her bare, sand colored, smooth neck – the side facing Gary – shimmered, open and vulnerable.

He sipped. She rolled. He shuffled papers, and sipped again. The last, long roll forced Gary out of his chair. He walked over and stood at the front of her desk. And, he waited, while she rolled back to center.

“Oh! Geez, Gary, you scared me.”

He cut right to the point. “I studied Chiropractics.”

“What’s that you said?” Ellen ran her hand down the right side of her neck.

“I know the ins and outs of the neck like you know that iPhone.”

They both glanced over at the iPhone. It flashed, with a new message of some sort, Gary could only guess.

Ellen turned back to Gary. “You’re a chiropractor? So, why are you working here?”

“There wasn’t much money in my field.”

“Really.” Ellen’s face showed doubt.

Gary started to sweat.

“Your right side bothers you.”

“Yeah,” she said. “This awful kink in my neck refuses to go away, since, like –”

“Three weeks?” he finished.

“About.” She squinted.

“I see it all the time. I studied Chiropractics. I can fix it.”

“You can fix it?”

“Your neck.” His heart raced.

Ellen paused, but then agreed to stand up. She let Gary take her head and neck gently in his hands. Her hair fell around his fingers as he guided her head through another set of rolls. Then, he put his right hand on her chin, and his left around the back of her head. He twisted and snapped.

What followed was a sucession of pops and cracks.
Then, a scream.
A punch.
A gasp.

After the commotion, Barbara walked into the office and found Ellen holding the back of her neck with both hands. Gary sucked in air as he slumped over with his hands at his stomach.

Barbara sighed. “Playing Chiropractor again, Gary?”

“Playing?” Ellen looked up and muttered several obscenities.

“Ellen, you’re still new here,” Barbara said. “I should have told you this from day one. There are three things you need to know about Gary: coffee hound, neck fiend, full of shit.”

“I know Chiropractics,” Gary groaned.

Barbara rolled her eyes. “Oh. And, Ellen. If he ever mentions podiatry, keep your shoes on.”

Barbara turned to leave but looked back once more.

“By the way, I’m going for coffee. Anybody want a cup?”

“Hazelnut,” Gary grumbled, as he wobbled back to his desk.

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12 responses to “I cannot tell a lie, most of the time.

  1. Brilliant!

  2. That’s a good one, Christi! Got me laughing.

  3. I should have known the second time he said he’d studied chiropractics, but I didn’t. Very entertaining.

    And I love the word prevaricate, but you managed to make me forget the word of the day as I got caught up in the story.

    • Funny you should mention you forgot the word of the day. I woke up this morning wondering if I should post the word at the end of a story as well.

      Or maybe the word doesn’t matter in the end?

  4. Thank you for the laugh this morning. I didn’t see it coming; I thought he was a vampire. 🙂

  5. Cute! Thanks for sharing these wonderful stories.

  6. You’re welcome! Hope you’re surviving the snow in your parts!

  7. Hilarious! You weren’t hurt during the real incident that inspired this, were you?

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