There are three rules that every liar should follow. Rule number 1: Always be confident. Rule number 2: Maintain a certain level of ambiguity. Rule number 3: A spoonful of the truth will go a long way. Obey these rules and you'll soon have the world at your feet. Of course, it is the unspoken fourth rule that is most important; don't get caught.
Being a professional liar is hard. It takes sharp wits and a sharper tongue. You can never stay in one place too long, so you're always trying to build up your clientele without attracting too much attention. After all, if everyone knows that you lie for a living, no one will trust what you say. And if you're fingered, the best case scenario is usually jail. That's why, when Tercelin Andrews walked into my life, I demanded payment up front. He was a politician, the mayor of some shit-hole town nearby, and very good at spinning any story that might hurt his career. I was confused at first. Why would a politician need a professional liar? That's when I found out about his side job.
Terc had managed a small business that sold contraband under the table. Drugs, weapons, even people. Now that his face was plastered all over the news over some political scandal, the business wanted him. Thankfully, I was able to contact them before things got out of hand.
"Mr. Spitz," the sharply-dressed man said. I had to correct him.
"Please, call me Ben."
"Mr. Spitz, do you mean to tell me that Tercelin Andrews is not Daniel Barryl, the same man who walked away with 100 grand ten years ago?"
"That's precisely what I'm saying," I told him. Terc opened his mouth to talk, but I quickly interrupted him. "Ten years ago, my client was a student of law at a prestigious university."
"Which university? Where?" asked the woman next to him.
I did not hesitate. "The Martin Institute in Jefferson, Georgia."
"We have found no records of such a place," the man said.
Terc again tried to speak, but a quick kick under the table silenced him. "Of course not. It burned down years ago. Sadly, the fire was started in the records department by a disgruntled student, so all the records were lost."
The woman pulled out her phone and started to type. The internet, both an ally and a foe. The man continued. "That may be, Mr. Spitz, but we have analyzed photographs of Mr. Andrews next to photographs of Mr. Barryl and the two match to an accuracy of one in 500 thousand. How do you explain that?"
"There are 300 million people in the United States alone. That means 600 Americans would also fit your profile." I hate being on the defensive, and statistics is the worst kind of lying. It was time for offense. "Why are you after this Mr. Barryl?" I asked. "If he owes you that much money, surely you would have requested police presence."
"That is not your concern, Mr. Spitz. Your only concern should be proving that your client is not Daniel Barryl. Onto the next item," he said. "We have copies of Mr. Andrews' campaign finances and the numbers do not add up."
Easy. "Mr. Andrews has received numerous donations from anonymous sources. Now, unless you have some real evidence, we will be leaving. Any further accusations will be met with appropriate-"
"Sir, the Martin Institute did burn down," the woman said. "In 1942." All eyes turned to me.
"Well I…" I had no words. Instead, I jumped to my feet and pulled Terc to the door. We had made it outside before a large hand pushed me to the ground. Terc just kept running. Another hand raised high in the air and slammed down into my back hard. Soon the image of Terc getting into his car vanished into stars. Another heavy blow. Tires screech as they pull out of the parking lot and down the road. Again, the hand starts to descend.
"Woah, woah, woah! Hold up there, Ted! I think he's gone!" The hand stopped.
"You alright, Stan? I didn't mean to hit you so hard."
"Yeah, I'm okay. God you're strong. But it looked good , right? Sure convinced me," I said as he pulled me off the ground and helped me stand. After rubbing my back, I pulled off the prosthetic nose and brow.
"Oh yeah, he's long gone. I doubt he'll be looking for you anytime soon." The man and woman joined us outside.
"He's our man, alright," she said. "As per our agreement, we'll give you a week to get out of here before we act."
The man sniggered. "Even if he pays us, we'll probably still release the story. No one crosses us and gets away with it."
"I'm glad I was able to help your business. Sorry, but my friend and I better get going. Our flight is in an hour." Without a further goodbye, we walked away from the pair and around the corner.
A police cruiser passed by, then another. Soon sirens were blaring at the old office space behind us. He grinned at me as I took out my contacts, turning my eyes blue. The both of us started shedding our clothes as we walk. His hair came off, followed by a false chin. I gave a sigh of relief as I reached under my shirt and finally unbound my chest. Padding slipped out and fell to the ground. "Well that was fun. Who are we going to bust next?" I asked in my real voice and took off my wig. It felt wonderful to let my hair down.
"I dunno, dear. Maybe we should lay low for a while. I'm tired of all this subterfuge."
I looked up at my husband and elbowed him. "You're such a bad liar."