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Short Stories: September 28, 2022 Issue [#11577]

 This week: Tell Me Lies, Tell Me Sweet Little Lies
  Edited by: Shannon
                             More Newsletters By This Editor  

Table of Contents

1. About this Newsletter
2. A Word from our Sponsor
3. Letter from the Editor
4. Editor's Picks
5. A Word from Writing.Com
6. Ask & Answer
7. Removal instructions

About This Newsletter

Welcome to the Short Stories Newsletter. I am Shannon and I'm your editor this week.

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Letter from the editor

"A lie told often enough becomes the truth." ~ Vladimir Lenin

Every single one of us has told a lie, but some lies are bigger and more destructive than others.

On July 18, 2004, Mark Hacking   waited for his pregnant wife, Lori, to fall asleep before killing her with a .22 rifle in the wee hours of the morning. The couple was in the process of moving to North Carolina where Mark was set to start medical school, only he wasn't. He'd been lying to Lori for months. When she called university administration on July 18 they told her he was not enrolled. Lori confronted Mark that night, and it was the last interaction they would ever have.

Mark reported that his wife didn't return from her morning run, and for days thousands of volunteers searched for Lori. Her car was found in a nearby park and her body was discovered in a landfill three months later. Some people suspect that Mark wanted his wife to be proud of him so he fabricated the whole medical school fantasy. They say he couldn't stand her disappointment in him when she discovered the truth, but a motive for the senseless killings is unknown.

*Vignette5* ~

Herman Rosenblat, an 11-year-old Polish Jew detained at Buchenwald concentration camp, survived due to a young girl's kindness. The girl, Roma Radzicki, lived outside the camp and threw bread and apples over the fence, saving Herman's life. He and his three brothers were liberated in 1945 and 12 years later, while living in New York, one of Herman's friends set him up on a blind date. To his astonishment, the blind date was the same girl who'd saved his life all those years ago. He proposed immediately, and he and Roma married in 1958.

He entered their love story in a Valentine's Day short story competition and won. Rosenblat would eventually be offered a book deal, a movie adaptation, and two appearances (1996 and 2007) on the Oprah Winfrey Show.

However, historians and academics around the world began questioning the validity of Rosenblat's story.   Ken Waltzer, professor of Jewish studies at Michigan State University, said:

"In November 2008, I was contacted by two forensic genealogists who were investigating the memoir. They were able to give me maps of the Buchenwald sub-camp Schlieben [in south Brandenburg, near Berlin]. We already knew from survivor testimonies that to go to the fence was punishable by death and there was a high risk you would be electrocuted. The maps showed that the only external fence was down by the SS barracks [the other three faced inwards] and that civilians had been banned from the road that ran alongside it since 1943 so there was no way that Herman and Roma could have had a rendezvous."

The book deal was canceled, and Rosenblat and his agent were ordered to return any monies associated with it. Herman and Roma were married for 56 years until his death in 2015. When asked why he would invent such a lie, Rosenblat said,   "Why did I do that and write the story with the girl and the apple, because I wanted to bring happiness to people, to remind them not to hate, but to love and tolerate all people. I brought good feelings to a lot of people, and I brought hope to many. My motivation was to make good in this world."

*Vignette5* ~

People lie for different reasons, but sometimes small lies snowball out of control and one must tell additional untruths to maintain the ruse.

Rachel Dolezal was raised by a very religious family in a small town in Montana. When she was 15 years old, her parents adopted four black children (one Haitian and three African-American babies). Rachel says her mother suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome, leaving Rachel to become the younger children's primary caregiver. She started teaching them about black history and braiding their hair. She began to see the world "through black eyes."

She attended college in Jackson, Mississippi, joining the Black Students' Union. She began braiding her own hair and wearing traditional African-American garments. People mistook her for African-American or mixed race, and she didn't correct them. She married a black man and had a child. She applied to Howard, a historically black university in Washington, D.C., winning a scholarship and teaching position. It was at Howard that Rachel learned that racial identity is a human invention and race a social construct.

Rachel said,   "I feel like the idea of being trans-black would be much more accurate than ‘I’m white’."

She began living as a black woman, even being elected president of the NAACP's Spokane chapter and chair of the Spokane police ombudsman commission.

The police chief hired a private investigator to dig around in her past, hoping to find something that would allow him to get rid of her. The investigator found and interviewed Rachel's parents, and within days her life imploded.

If you've ever read about her life and accomplishments or heard her speak, it's obvious that Rachel is a beautiful, highly intelligent woman and artist. Can she identify as trans-black the way some biological men identify as women? The trans and black communities say no.


In 2016 Rachel changed her name to Nkechi Amare Diallo, an African phrase meaning "gift of God," and she still checks the Black or African-American box on race/ethnicity questionnaires.

As odd as this story is, it's even odder to say Rachel grew up in the same tiny Montana town (fewer than 1,000 people) where my husband was born and raised--the same town my parents moved to when I was 15 and where they lived until they died. Rachel is eight years younger than my husband and her mother, Ruthanne, was my husband's piano teacher. "I remember Rachel being in the house during the lessons," he said. "She seemed like a regular kid. Her folks were religious. They lived by the Bible as she said, but I knew them to be very kind and loving people. This was before they adopted the babies, of course. By the time that happened we were married and living in Nevada."

Small world.

*Vignette5* ~

Sometimes people lie because they don't want to hurt someone's feelings ("Does this dress make me look fat?"), and sometimes people lie for self-gratification, attention, or social gain. Some lies seem harmless while others leave a swath of destruction in their wake.

Have your protagonist's lies ruined his/her life? Does (s)he have to be evermore dishonest to maintain the facade? How has the deception negatively impacted those around them? Every registered author who shares their ideas and/or creative endeavors relating to or inspired by this week's topic will receive TWO exclusive "Master of Lies" trinkets. The images used to make these trinkets were created by yours truly. I will retire this month's limited-edition trinkets at 11:59 p.m. WDC time on Tuesday, November 22, 2022, when my next short stories newsletter goes live.

"Lying is a cooperative act. A lie has no power whatsoever by its mere utterance; its power emerges when someone else agrees to believe it." ~ Pamela Meyer

Because I borrowed a few of their lyrics for the title of this newsletter, here's Fleetwood Mac's Little Lies for your listening pleasure.

Thank you for reading.

A swirly signature I made using the Mutlu font and a drop shadow.
Newsletter Archives  (E)
A listing of all my newsletters in one easy-to-find place.
#1555482 by Shannon

Editor's Picks

I hope you enjoy this week's featured selections. I occasionally feature static items by members who are no longer with us; some have passed away while others simply aren't active members. Their absence doesn't render their work any less relevant, and if it fits the week's topic I will include it.

Thank you, and have a great week!

Monster  (18+)
If you call someone a name often enough they may soon believe it
#259585 by Andrea

The Repentant Bully  (18+)
Ron regrets bullying Samuel in high school - 2nd place What a Character, December 2018.
#2176534 by Christopher Roy Denton

 The Lie  (13+)
A short story about a marriage that was doomed to fail
#2045099 by Choconut

Mustang Blues  (18+)
A Young Couple Buy A Used Car From A Deceitful Dealer
#2030081 by Angus

Ambition, romance and cunning on a Greyhound bus headed for Hollywood.
#1343399 by laidman

Submit an item for consideration in this newsletter!

Word from Writing.Com

Have an opinion on what you've read here today? Then send the Editor feedback! Find an item that you think would be perfect for showcasing here? Submit it for consideration in the newsletter!

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Ask & Answer

The following is in response to "Is Seeing Still Believing?:

*Vignette5* ~

dragonwoman writes: I was not very aware of deep fakery so I'll have to make a character that is duped by it. How will they redeem themselves? Only the muse knows and she's not telling.

*Vignette5* ~

BIG BAD WOLF is Thankful writes: Oh, I got an item where the accused is quite literally saved by the guilty one, because this a society where humans are on the bottom of a number of ladders.

*Vignette5* ~

Jeff writes: I've never written a story about deep-fakes. I think it's a fascinating technology and one that brings with it a whole host of concerns, but it just isn't one that's inspired an idea for a compelling story or poem.

*Vignette5* ~

Ẃeβ࿚ẂỉԎḈĥMAS writes: Great newsletter, Shannon. It's so true, distrust of news sources, even videos we see have to be researched independently. There are too many fakes out there because of the advances in technology. Sometimes you must tell yourself when something seems too good or too bad to be true, it probably isn't.

So, before accepting it as fact, ask yourself— "Should I really believe my lying eyes?" *eyesl*

Thank you for highlighting my story ""I Hate Early Morning Visitors" I was pleasantly surprised. *Smile*


*Vignette5* ~

Elfin Dragon-finally published writes: So horrible Deep Fake videos have now become a fact of life. I suppose I can use this in my Sci-Fi story. In my dark world where war is a way of life and my character, whose a scientist/researcher, is looking at an anomaly on their planet. Her lover is killed and her government decides that to get her closer to the anomaly they'll blame her for the murder. Thus the misinformation begins. I haven't figured out how she gets out of the situation yet. Or if she does. I haven't quite got that far yet.

*Vignette5* ~

Elycia ☮ writes: Hey, Shannon. This is an awesome newsletter. I'm absolutely chilled to the bone by my ignorance of the deepfake technology. I mean, I've always known about the manipulation of fake videos and fake news but I didn't think that it has advanced so much to the point that we can no longer discern what is fake anymore. It's so easy to get deceived this time and day. Indeed, it would be much worse for our children and our children's children. That Tom Cruise video is absolutely scary.

*Vignette5* ~

Lilli ☕️ 🧿 writes: Now I know what they’re called - deepfakes! The ones I’ve seen are the more harmful ones than funny ones.

*Vignette5* ~

Christmas Sox writes: I had a deep fake situation in one of my books before I ever heard the term. One of my characters was deep faked into a news story that she wrote but had changed her mind about filming by an AI with questionable motives.

*Vignette5* ~

Sunny writes: I really enjoyed your newsletter.

*Vignette5* ~

MacTíre Taibhse GhostWolf writes: I for one, tend never to quite believe anything anymore until I have fact-checked it myself. I have become an online Doubting Thomas as it were. Show me the facts :P Great newsletter as always, thank you!

*Vignette5* ~

dragonwoman writes: I have not made a character that was duped by deep fake technology, but it sounds interesting enough to consider doing.

*Vignette5* ~

The following is in response to "What If?:

Elfin Dragon-finally published writes: I have so many different tales. The two strangest are from my brother's first wife and my second husband. What if you leave 4 kids at home, alone, for three weeks, in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness? In this case, they get cabin fever and start planning a bear hunt, using the youngest brother as bait. The youngest brother is the one who comes up with the plan.

What if you bring together a group of young men, of varying ages & sizes, for a party where alcohol is provided? As you can imagine, police were called due to noise; underage scattered, with amusing results, with the exception of my husband. As his friend was trying to get him to move (he's 6'2", 250) the police find them. The police try to question him, and he barks (yes barks). Perhaps the officer was amused because he and his friend were allowed to leave.

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