by Bob'n Around
Invisible matters of the mind turned real into the written word.
|One thing Jerry Adams knew was when someone was lying. It was an instinct he’d always possessed. You learn early when you are different. Get treated like a misfit and wapped over the head with it when you're but a child, guess what? You’d hide the offense as well as you could.
Jerry Adams soon kept the knowledge to himself. He breathed better that way. No startled grunts of abused grown up anger with hands trying to pull your tongue from your throat. No widened eyed looks of feminine dismay followed by one’s ears being twisted or worse.
Those were the grown-up responses to his calling untruths out. Kids just beat him up or left any friendship squandered behind. Left to his own devices and a cruelly state of non gratis pariah, Jerry Adams learned to keep his mouth shut, though he had to bite his tongue a lot.
Truth has a way of wanting to be told by those few who recognize the rareness of it.
It made him strange bedfellows with other outcasts. His knee jerk position of trying to eat his own tongue when hearing a common courtesy, such as “I’m well. You look good, yourself,” isolated him from anyone else.
His parents farmed him out to a military academy to get away from the side effects of being near him. “That boy of yours, will be the death of you, if you can’t control him,” was whispered as a threat. Within the first year, he’d been cast out of the third such establishment and was left on his own.
Ace Parker, liar extraordinaire, and proud of it, was the street dweller who took the desolate waif under his wing. “Seen you, I did, looking bewildered and all. Hard not to, with your kind of blunt talent. I kin make use of you, I can.”
Being cold, hungry and destitute, young Jerry Adams recognized the truth in what the man was saying. It was the first time he’d felt valued in his entire life. “Yes, sir. How, sir?”
“Go ahead. Just be yourself. Let it loose, kid. Then watch me perform my magic.” Ace Parker was a conman to the root. Where Jerry Adams was the first (and perhaps last) of his kind with his particular talent, Ace was his equal in the opposite direction. He could lie the paint off a barn, turn truth on its head and make a believer out of anyone he met. At least long enough to score.
It was the aftermath of when that ‘someone’ caught up with him that earned Ace Parker his own share of wrath. One bum leg, a patch worn over an eye, and the permanent streaks of the lash on his striped back were justice’s proof of that.
With trepidation, Jerry Adams allowed himself to be pushed in position within bragging rights of a set of outdoor restaurant tables. Ace Parker sat across from him in the next chair, a broad, happy sneer on his face. “I’ll order. You look like you haven’t eaten well in too long.”
A feast was spread before them along with a sheaf of green backs fluttering on display. That truth won Jerry Adams as a convert to Ace Parker like nothing else could. The con man disguised his uneasiness at conning the boy with truth by digging into the repaste. There was a lie behind the truth of his words far deeper than the lad could detect.
In truth, Ace Parker was a user. It was enough to let truth become an unsuspected and unspoken lie. He was that glib, inside and out. “Listen to that banker, bragging about his last stock market killing.”
Ace Parker waited for Jerry Adams to swallow his last mouthful. “Go over and do your thing, kid. I’ll protect you. He deserves what he’s going to get.”
Both got up at the same time, chairs shifting to make way through the woven path leading to the bankers table. “Pardon me, sir. I couldn’t help overhearing,” Ace Parker nudged the lad at his side.
“You lied.” Jerry Adams blurted, unable to swallow anything but the truth. “You didn’t make all that money betting your own money, you bet your firms. Doubled and lost it all.”
“Kid doesn’t know what he’s talking about. You can prove him wrong, can’t you?” Ace Parker swung his mouth in on the act. “Recognized you, first thing, from where we were sitting.”
Ace Parker swung a chair around to join the new table and startled occupants, spinning his comforting lies so sure, fast, and accurate they spun a web around the glazed faces they met. The spider had caught his fly and the next meal of many to come.
The other men at the table began nodding. The victim dabbed beads of sweat from his brow, gulped his adams apple down his throat and sat stunned as a bug wrapped up in the cocoon Ace Parker wove around him. “I have an investment opportunity you might be interested in.” He finished with that accolade and a slip of paper he scrawled his black mail demand upon.
That too, was a lie. Ace Parker willingly paid off the ransom of debt for the banker to obtain inside information and compliance for his next act. The trade was easily bought.
Fleecing others because of their own basest desires was a truth Jerry Adams learned quickly.
There are levels of lies embedded in a deeper truth. The fact became a fascination for the young boy. It loaned him a balance that led to self pride. As long as he kept his focus on wells that run deep, that pure water was easy to swallow, allowing the effluvia of lies floating on the surface go.
The ways of God are mysterious and often misunderstood. Ace Parker and Jerry Adams were unlikely angels. Their present and future fortune was so vast fishing the sea of want, greed and misguided action, the pair never went too far.
The reaction of being found out and getting away with it, if paying it forward were part of the bargain, changed the lives of many a poor desperate fool. Redeemed ruined lives became a pyramid scheme Ace Parker and Jerry Adams still rule over, as one lie catches another and the truth of it is revealed.
Fortunes are made and lost by less auspicious means, but not so well. Jerry Adams can twist the heart right out of a man’s chest with a few simple truths. Ace Parker can put it back again, less shriveled and wrung out than it was.
The surgery happens so fast and with so much dexterity, it cannot be denied. Stunned with their own being found culprit and in their remorse and wanton need, the victims go reeling off as if spanked by God himself.
They are willing to pay any price to heal bruised feelings and hide their disgrace to prevent becoming outcasts. Ace Parker and Jerry Adams, knowing too well how outcasts feel, reap the reward