Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Pants on Fire

Joseph Seahorn would tell you anything except the truth.

He would tell you how he served in Desert Storm and how he killed lots of camel jockeys. He would tell you about his rich elderly relative that was going to leave him millions. He would tell you about all the celebrities he’d stumbled across and met in a variety of nightclubs in dozens of cities that he’d never really seen.

Joey, as his lack of friends liked to call him, was a compulsive liar.

He didn’t lie out of any sort of maliciousness. He simply did not know how to tell the truth. He’d been telling people outrageous lies since boyhood and he relied on his storytelling abilities to get people to give him attention.

Even disdainful attention is still attention.

Joey had one of those faces that you forget about five minutes after meeting him. Not because he was particularly average looking but because you wanted to forget ever meeting him. His problem was not just the fact that he lied all the time, but that anyone more intelligent than a brain-damaged ten-year-old could tell that he was lying.

Not only did he lie, but also he always told elaborate lies that he would lose track of mid lie. And he always looked guilty of something. Some people suspected that maybe when he wasn’t making up badly-constructed lies Joey was off somewhere doing something illegal.

Once after being told about the time he wrestled a crocodile in Florida, his younger brother James confronted him after years of angry silence.

“There aren’t any crocodiles in Florida, Joey,” Jimmy said, his face slightly flustered. “Florida has alligators. Why do you always make up these ridiculous lies? Everyone knows that you’re lying and they just don’t want to say anything. You know that right?”

Joey looked at his younger brother incredulously.

“Don’t tell me there aren’t any crocodiles in Florida,” he said with a smirk. “You’re not the one who almost lost his leg wrestling with one. I can’t believe you don’t believe me, Jimbo.”

“Goddamn, man. Crocodiles are in Australia. Florida only has alligators. Don’t you ever watch Animal Planet? The Discovery Channel? How about doing a little research if you’re going to tell massive lies?”

Joey’s face looked flushed as he said, “Then it escaped from a fucking zoo. This was a crocodile, man. Just ask Billy Davenport.”

“Billy hates you,” his brother shot back. “In fact, almost everyone hates you because you’re always telling lies. You’ve never wrestled a crocodile. Or an alligator. You’ve never put your life at risk. Ever. Dude, I’m your fucking brother. I know what you’ve done for fuck’s sake.”

Joey stood up enraged, his fists clenched. His own little brother calling him a liar in his own living room. What had the world come to?

“I should kick your ass, Jimmy.”

“You should sit down and shut the fuck up,” his brother responded matter-of-factly. “I’m trying to help you out here.”

“By calling me a liar?” he shouted.

“You are a liar.”

Joey hovered over his seated brother menacingly. His little brother sitting in his favorite chair. His motherfucking recliner. Calling him a goddamn liar.

“Get the fuck out of my house before I kick your ass,” he screamed right in Jimmy’s face.

Right at that moment the last thing he ever expected was Jimmy’s knee planted firmly in his crotch with alarming force. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what he got. Excruciating pain soon became his reality and he collapsed like a paraplegic on his brand new carpet.

Through a haze of pain he glanced upward to see his brother standing over him.

“Wha--?” was all he managed to get out before his brother’s foot met with his ribcage. Again with excessive force. The remainder of what he was going to say came out as an airy, pained wheeze.

“That’s for all the times you beat me up and tore up my toys,” Jimmy said.

Joey was petrified to see that Jimmy looked happy. He hadn’t seen his kid brother look this overjoyed since he’d gotten a train set for Christmas when he was seven. The very same train set that Joey ended up destroying out of the kind of meanness that only children are capable of.

At that moment, Joey’s alcoholic wife appeared at the top of the stairs overlooking the living room. Stephanie Seahorn had consumed her usual ten rum and cokes before bedtime and was mad as hell to be wakened at seven p.m. by shouting from downstairs.

“What the fuck are you two assholes doing down there?” she screamed in a shrill voice, her words slurring more than slightly. “Some of us are trying to fucking sleep.”

“I’m beating your worthless husband’s ass,” Jimmy responded. “Go back to bed and shut the fuck up.”

She nodded and walked back down the hallway to her bedroom. She hated her husband anyway. So after a shot of vodka in her bed she laid back down and slept better than she had in years.

After a few more well-placed kicks, Jimmy left his brother lying writhing in pain and left the house. But not before taking all of his brother’s beer and weed.

Later that night, Jimmy, after drinking twelve beers and smoking five joints, died when his small Toyota truck ran head-on into a semi-truck loaded with Budweiser beer. The semi driver, who the very next day won a ten million dollar Illinois state lottery jackpot, was completely unharmed.

Joey died of internal bleeding alone on his living room floor. His last thought was about the time he rescued one hundred people from the collapsing World Trade Center.

Stephanie found Jesus, gave up drinking, helped numerous unfortunate people through selfless charity work, and died as a result of undetected breast cancer five years later.

After Stephanie’s untimely demise, the leprechaun who lived under the stairs of the Seahorn house killed his nemesis, Stephanie’s pet cat Amen. He enjoyed almost a year of free reign over the abode before the next group of humans moved in.