True Lies

2 min


“Belief is a relative concept, and so is truth.”

With his signature sentence, Ernest concluded his talk on “Living a lie” to resounding applause from the motley crowd. This was his hundredth talk, and invariably the auditorium was filled to the maximum. The sounds of appreciation were potent, but the effects of the five vodka shots were fading. He needed another drink, dammit! And he needed to piss. 

Ernest was whisked away to meet the patrons of the event before he could excuse himself and run to answer both the calls of his nature.

What an absurd phrase that was, call of nature! More like an accident waiting to happen, Ernest chuckled to himself, squirming as he was forced to endure dozens of handshakes with the fools who made it possible for him to eat, drink and be merry. 

Ernest finally escaped to the restroom and relieved himself for a copious amount of time. As he shook out the last drops, whistling in glee, he heard a snicker and turned. He was shocked to see Arnold Schwarzenegger in the adjacent stall. 

Arnold Schwarzenegger? Again? Ernest shook his head, trying to clear the fog. It couldn’t be, it must be the vodka, a small part of his brain told him. Yet.

“Whoa, what are you doing here?”

“What does it look like?” Arnold grinned. 

“I love your movies, man!” 

“I love your talks, especially this Living the Lie” Arnold went about doing his job with remarkable intensity.

“Thank you so much, am honoured.”

“Tell me something, have you tried acknowledging to yourself at least, the truth? You travel around the world, talking about lies and beliefs and the consequences, but can you look yourself in the mirror without being consumed by guilt?”

Ernest was appalled as the Terminator actor bore him with his eyes.

“Mr Schwarzenegger, I can explain. It was just a joke. I once memorised a page from my brother’s diary and regaled it to my pals. They applauded, and that was the beginning. I became quite popular by copying my brother’s work. The popularity gave me a high. Agree he writes well, but I am the one who packages and presents it. People love me. I am a star. My brother is nobody. At least his work gets the recognition it deserves.”

Arnold sniggered, “Irony, isn’t it? Your guilt makes you name your talk show, such a blatant truth. You can try naming it – The importance of being Earnest, eh?” 

The sarcasm was lost on Ernest.

“I do pay my brother plenty. He is happy. There are no regrets. No one will believe if you say this truth about me.” Ernest blurted out.

“I don’t need to convince anybody. Everyone outside has been listening to you. The microphone on your tie is still switched on.” Arnold laughed and added “Hasta la vista, baby” and vanished.

Ernest’s volubility deserted him as he witnessed his life and lie crumble- the lie that was his life.

***

Photo By: Ali Tareq

***

This is an entry for #TheLie #Five00-8, a room8 writing event –in 500 words.
Check out the event guidelines here: https://writers.artoonsinn.com/room8/thelie

Room8 appreciates your rating the story out of 10 in the comments.


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