Truth or Lie

by Sylvia K.
Truth or Lie Sylvia is 11, and she likes theater and softball.

“I have never told a lie in my whole entire life. Not ever. And I don’t plan to. I have been part of a spy agency, Spyglass, my whole life also.”

 

One

I have never told a lie in my whole entire life. Not ever. And I don’t plan to. I have been part of a spy agency, Spyglass, my whole life also.

When I was born, I joined the agency. My parents have been in it, and their parents too. So when I came along, I joined it. So did my brother Jame. When I joined, I had to take a solemn vow saying that I always had to tell the truth. That way, whatever I picked up from my spy mission, I would tell them every little detail. The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. That’s why earlier today, I was in a pickle.

Miss Gloria Cabernette, my neighbor, had asked me to water her plants while she was away. Of course I agreed. Miss Gloria is the best. She is just so nice. Anyway, she just got back today, and when she opened her apartment door, she was not happy.

“For heaven’s sake! What has happened to my plants?”

Unfortunately, I was still there.

“Lindie dear, where have you been? It certainly doesn’t look like you’ve been watering my plants.” Miss Gloria locked eyes with me.

That’s when I knew I shouldn’t tell the truth, but I had to. If I didn’t, you could tell. I’m so bad at lying. I’m just so used to telling the truth. The truth was, I was busy with spy missions and homework. I was thinking of just saying I was doing homework, but then knowing her, she’d go to a Board of Education meeting and try to give kids less homework. Plus, it would be breaking my “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” vow. So I did the only thing there was to do.

“Well, I was doing a little homework. But mostly, I… I was out on missions. Spy missions.”

 

Two

As I walked back to my apartment across the hall, I felt guilty. Not just guilty that Miss Gloria now knew my secret, but more guilty that Miss Gloria would probably keep her distance from my family, now that she knew we were spies. I felt guilty for my family.

Suddenly, I saw Miss Gloria bolt into her apartment, grab a hat and a flag, and run down the stairs. I didn’t know what was going on with her.

“Where are you going?” I called. She didn’t answer.

I walked in the door to my apartment across from Miss Gloria. Ardin, my adorable little Westie, West Highland Terrier, and Gabriela, the cutest Corgi I’ve ever seen were waiting for me. Ardin was pure snow white, and Gabriela was mostly tan with black and white splotches. Gabriela, with her short stubby legs, waddled up to me, and I bent over, so she could lick my face. Ardin followed, with more of a bound than a walk. How it was with them normally, was one would go first, and the other would follow. It kind of seemed like they took turns, like one day Gabriela would go first, the next day, Ardin.

“Hey, you guys! If I get in trouble for what I did, will you guys back me up?” I asked with puppy eyes.

They just jumped up and down and licked me.

“I take that as a yes,” I said.

Just then, Mom walked in.

“Spilling our secret is not okay.” That’s all she said. Then, she walked out.

Okay, I had to give her credit for finding out that quick, I mean, she was a spy after all. Gabriela looked at me confused. Ardin just kept running in circles. That made me laugh. I knew they would cheer me up. Even if they ate my homework, and I got an F in Math, my best subject, it would be hard to stay too mad for long. I trudged over to my room. The apartment was kind of small, but it was feasible.

Basically when you walked in, you would see the kitchen counter on your right. Behind the counter was a large-for-an-apartment kitchen/dining room. We usually ate at the kitchen counter. On your left would be the den, or living room if you please. If you walked a little bit from the front door, you’d hit the hallway. If you turned left down the hallway, you’d go to Mom and Dad’s room and then the bathroom. If you turned right, you’d go to Jame’s room and then mine. In the middle of Mom and Dad’s room and Jame’s room, was the laundry room.

Anyway, I went to my room and got out my homework. It was Saturday, but I had a project due on Monday, and I wasn’t finished yet. It was a book report. Suddenly, Jame bursted into my room.

“Dude, I can’t believe you told Miss Gloria. Mom and Dad are talking about it in the den. Mom sounds really mad,” Jame whispered the last part.

“Shut up! You shouldn’t even know! Get out, I need to finish my project!” Unfortunately, I yelled the first part. Well, I yelled the whole thing, but the first part is what would get me in trouble.

“Lindie! What was that?” Dad called.

“Uh, I said… um, um, what’s up?! Heh heh heh. What’s up, Jame?” I improvised. I sometimes tell little white lies to my parents. But you can still tell I’m lying.

“I hear it again and you’re spending the night in your room, young lady,” said Mom, indeed sounding mad.

Jame got out quick because he knew what was coming. I relaxed a bit, but not a lot.

An hour later, smells of Mom’s famous Italian dressing wafted through the crack under my closed door. Gabriela barked. She could smell it, too.

“Ruff!” said Gabriela.

“Ruff, ruff!” echoed Ardin.

I slightly opened my door. As soon as she could fit through the door, Gabriela bolted. Ardin followed. They both barked the whole way. Ardin and Gabriela love Salad Saturday. Well, they also loved Taco Tuesday. And Make-Your-Own-Monday. And Waffle Wednesday. I guess you could say they loved every night at dinner. Ardin skidded behind Gabriela, both panting. Pieces of cucumber flew out from under the knife, and Gabriela scooped them up with her very long tongue. Ardin whimpered.

“Aww, here Ardin.” I giggled, handing him a piece of cucumber.

He licked my finger. His tongue was rough and thin. Around his neck he wore one of those collars with spikes sticking out. Last Christmas, we thought it would suit him more than his old red one. Ardin pretends to be all tough, but he really is a sweetie. So when he gets all confident, he puffs out his chest with the spike collar. It’s really funny because he’s so small. It’s adorable.

Gabriela on the other hand, was all sweet on the outside, but tough and defensive on the inside, kind of like me, with a pink collar that says, Girl Power. Gabriela was a stray until the Animal Rescue Center brought her to a shelter. She has always been ready to fight. That’s why she’s the one who comes on missions with us. Ardin usually stays back with Miss Gloria. But that might change.

The seat on the counter, farthest away from the front door, is my seat. My favorite seat. So, I sat down. Ardin sat at my feet. Gabriela wandered over to Mom.

“What is everybody waiting for? Serve yourself.” Mom sounded annoyed.

We ate dinner in silence. Except for the chewing and clinking of utensils. It was like all the time on TV when the family would be having dinner, and all they did was clink their forks and spoons. The thought of our family having a TV show made me giggle. Our family was the opposite of those perfect TV families. We were apart of a spy agency, for goodness sakes! Although that would make a good plot for a TV show. I could picture it in my head. It could be called “The Watson Spies.” No, too simple. Maybe “Spyglass Presents: The Watsons.” That sounds like Spyglass is a TV show producing company. Actually, how about “Watch Out World, Here Come The Watsons.” Way too long. Yeah, I’m not too good at naming things. Oooh! How about “The Watsons in New York.”

Like I said, I’m not the best at naming things. On the other hand, I did name Ardin. I named him the day we met him. Gabriela was already named at the shelter. Not to brag or anything, but Ardin is a pretty good name, don’t you think?

 

Three

“Who would come to our door this late in the evening?” Mom muttered after the doorbell rang.

Dad was washing dishes from dinner, Mom was flipping through a magazine on the sofa, Ardin and Gabriela were with me in my room as I was finishing up my essay for my project, and Jame was reading in his room. The ring that echoed through our apartment sent Ardin and Gabriela into loud barks and fast skids.

“Quiet down! We don’t want to wake the neighbors,” I shushed them.

Mom walked over to the door, in no hurry at all, reading her magazine as she walked. Her hand fell onto the doorknob, but before she could turn it, it turned itself. In walked three men in dark suits and shades.

“And who might you be?” the man in the front of the triangle they had arranged themselves in said in a low, and might I add, creepy voice.

“How did you get in here? I’m sure I locked the door.” Mom sounded surprised.

“Well, even if you won’t tell us who you are, are you apart of Spyglass?” the man to Mom’s left asked.

“That is none of your business,” Mom snapped.

“Ma’am, actually it is,” the man to Mom’s right said in a matter-of-factly tone.

“Oh really. Well, I don’t have tell you any of my information if I don’t want to,” Mom served back as if it were a tennis match.

By then, Dad wanted to see this exchange and wandered over from the sink. He took Mom’s hand.

“Lucy,” Dad warned.

But Mom pulled her hand away.

“I don’t know who you are, so why don’t you just leave my apartment. I have kids I have to put to bed. So, toodle-loo.” With her hand moving in a shooing motion, Mom ushered them to the door because by then they had made their way to the counter and sat down on the stools.

“Ma’am. We are part of an agency that shall remain nameless. Now that you know who we are, will you please let us know who you are,” the front man asked.

“Not a chance.”

Just then, I felt an urge. So, I relieved that urge. I started to cry like a baby.

“Waaaahhhh! Moooooomy! I so tired! Mooooomy! Waaaaaahhhhh! Tuck me in! Moooomy! Kissy! Huggy! Wahhhh!” Since we were spies, I knew what to do in these sort of situations. I cry and talk like a baby. The men in our apartment were like Ardin, I could tell. Tough on the outside, soft on the inside. Soft enough to leave a mother to put her children to bed. Even though I hate comparing guys as awful as them to adorable, sweet, hilarious Ardin, I had to explain it somehow.

“Oh, you… you do have little kids to put to bed. I’m sorry to bother you, ma’am. Good night.” With that, the three men got back into their triangle position and marched out.

Once Mom could see them out the window and see that they left the building, she came into my room.

“Thanks, sweetie. You saved us. I know you told Miss Gloria the secret, but if they found out too, that could’ve been bad. It could’ve have been dangerous. I forgive you, though. Those guys kind of freaked me out, anyways. That crying trick you made up is brilliant.” Mom forgave me.

“Works every time.” I smiled.

“Going to bed soon?” Mom asked.

“Yeah, just got to finish up this project,” I answered, and Mom walked out.

As soon as she walked out, I felt tired. You know what? I’ll just finish up my project on Sunday.

 

Four

Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to leave my project until today, I thought to myself after Mom told me we had a mission.

“Umm, Mom? This might not be the best time to tell you this but, I have homework,” I kind of mumbled.

“Oh, Lin. What am I going to do with you?” Mom asked.

“Maybe you’ll let me stay home with Ardin and Gabriela and finish my homework?” I cracked.

Mom frowned. “That was a rhetorical question.”

That is how I ended up on the subway to Brooklyn at noon. President Marole Xander, the president of Spyglass, called talking about this other spy agency who was kind of on to us. They were last spotted in Brooklyn. So, that’s where we were headed.

“STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING DOORS, PLEASE,” the subway blared as we rushed out into the wintery air of Windsor Terrace.

“So, where to?” I asked.

“President Marole said the other spies headed to Prospect Park. Apparently Spyglass got a threat phone call from this rival spy agency, so Spyglass is now tracking the phone that called them,” Mom answered.

“Cool! How did they do that?” Jame asked.

“Some spy tech they used to track the phone number to the phone and… I don’t really know,” Mom said.

We happened to be a block away from the park, so the walk wasn’t too bad. Then again, we’re New Yorkers. We can handle a long walk. I saw ice cream carts who obviously weren’t getting any customers since it was the middle of winter! There were those horse and buggy things. Pretty normal day at the park, except that it was mostly empty. But then I saw something other than lonely ice cream vendors and old-fashioned carriages.

“Mom, what does that flag mean?” I pointed to the flag that was forced into a bush. The flag had a hand with about 15 fingers. No joke.

“Looks like something we should investigate.”

We headed over to the bush just to see a head with a pointy hat scurry behind a tree.

“That’s definitely got to be something,” I said.

“Follow the figure,” Dad whispered.

We sneakily followed this figure. We followed them all the way to the subway. They got on the subway we took to get home. Coincidentally, the figure got off at the stop that we normally got off at to get home. Even weirder, the figure entered the apartment building where we lived. You had to have a special card to open the door to the lobby, or a visitor needs a tenant’s permission. We followed the figure up the stairs, and when we got to floor three, our floor, the figure went into Miss Gloria’s apartment.

“What is that person doing?” Mom inquired.

“Wait, after leaving Miss Gloria’s, I saw her get a hat similar to the one that figure had on, and a flag, which is probably the one we found in the bushes!” I remembered.

“Good work, Agent Lindie.” My watch popped up with a screen with President Marole’s face on it. “Now just find a way to confront her. Good luck.”

“How are we supposed to do that?” I asked. But President Marole had already hung up.

 

Five

Monday was here, and my project was not done. Great.

“I’ve got to call Violet!”

I went to the den and picked up the landline. I didn’t have my own phone, so yes, I had to use the phone plugged into the wall. I dialed 534-890-1162 and waited for her to pick up.

“Vi? I just realized… my project is not finished! I don’t know what to do! I’m freaking out!”

“Okay, I’m coming over. We still have time. I’ll help you finish,” Violet said.

“You are a lifesaver. Thanks.”

I live a block away from school, so I can be a little late. Five minutes later, Violet rang the doorbell.

“Oh my gosh, Violet! I need your help!”

“Show me.”

I showed her my half finished book report. All I needed was my three reasons why I liked or disliked the book.

“Okay, well, did you like it?” Violet asked.

“Nope. It was horrible. So boring. I almost fell asleep reading chapter eight. No kidding!”

“Reason one, you were bored. Reason two, didn’t like genre Reason three, didn’t like plot. Sound about right?”

“Yeah. Thanks, Violet. Just, don’t consider this cheating.”

“I won’t. Anything for you, Lin.”

“Thanks. You can just stay here until it’s time to go.”

“Yeah sure.”

I finished typing my three reasons and glued them to the poster. Soon, it was time to go.

I got home with no homework and a B+ on my project. Luckily, the project wasn’t in math. I would never forgive myself for getting an B+ in math. Okay, B+ is okay I guess. If it were B- or C, that wouldn’t slide.

“So, what’s the deal with Miss Gloria?” I asked as I was eating some pretzels at the counter. “Like, is this going to be our next mission?”

“We’re waiting to hear back from President Marole.” Right as Dad said that, President Marole was calling us on our TV.

“Hello, President,” Dad said.

“Warner and Lindie. Good afternoon. Gather Jame and Lucy. I need to talk to you guys.”

“Lindie, go get Jame,” Dad told me. Then, he turned to President Marole. “Lucy is out shopping.”

“Then forget it! I’ll call you back later.” The president hung up.

“I’m going to check on Miss Gloria. Okay, Dad?”

“No. Not unless Marole tells you to.”

“But Dad!”

“No, Lindie. Do some homework.”

“Don’t have any.”

“Watch some TV.”

“Don’t want to.”

“Go to Violet’s”

“… Okay fine.” I gave up.

I called Violet on our landline. It’s so annoying. I told her I’m coming over. I went to the coat closet to grab my faux fur coat. It’s really soft. At the store they had real fur, but I like the faux one because it’s… well… faux. I put on my boots and headed out the door just in time to see a strange man in all black enter Miss Gloria’s apartment. I immediately hide behind a coat rack. About two minutes later, Miss Gloria and this strange man came out. They held up a phone and started talking.

Miss Gloria: How did I find out? She was watering my plants and then —

Wait, is Miss Gloria talking about me?

Miss Gloria: Yeah, I’m really close with the family. I always knew something was up with them. Especially the girl… No, I’ve seen her try to lie. It isn’t pretty… I don’t think they know… No one is in the hallway! Stop freaking out.

It was hard not to laugh because I was in the hallway. Unfortunately, I laughed.

“Who was that?” Miss Gloria whipped her head towards the coat rack. She lifted the coats.

Uh oh.

“Lindie dear. What are you doing out here?” Miss Gloria made her voice sound sweet.

“I heard your whole conversation. There’s no use hiding it anymore,” I said.

“Well, if you want to play like that, I can too. Take her, Alfonso.” Miss Gloria’s sidekick, Alfonso grabbed me and dragged me to the stairs.

“Let me go!” I ordered. Alfonso didn’t listen.

We got to the bottom of the stairs, and Mom walked in the lobby with her hands full of groceries. She saw me and immediately dropped everything. Literally.

“Lucy. So we meet again. Wait, this is the first time we met as spies. I mean, I’m not a — ” Miss Gloria started.

“Okay, just stop. Anyway, let her go,” Mom said.

“Ha! You think I’m just going to give her to you? She knows. I can’t just let her tell everybody. So bye, Lucy. Out of my way. Alfonso!” Miss Gloria shoved past Mom.

Mom tried to fight Alfonso. She kicked him to the ground, and I ran away from him to Mom. But Miss Gloria grabbed my hood and pulled me back.

“Uh, uh, uh. Not today. Sorry, Lindie. Actually, I’m not that sorry. That was sarcastic. Well you probably knew that it was s-OOF!” Miss Gloria fell to the floor. Behind her was…

“Violet?! But, but — ” I stammered.

“You never hung up the landline, plus your door was still open I’m guessing, so I heard the whole thing. I panicked and rushed over here. Then I came in, kicked your neighbor in the back, she fell, and now we are here. This is the right neighbor, right?”

“Violet, you are literally the best!” I ran and gave my friend a huge hug.

“Violet, thanks sweetie. Where are your parents? Do they know you’re here?” Mom asked.

“Mom is home. I told her I was coming over here. Didn’t know I would be fighting crime though.” Violet smiled.

“Well, do you want to stay for dinner, or at least for a little while? I’ll drive you home,” Mom suggested.

“Thanks, Mrs. Watson. I appreciate it.”

Violet and I headed upstairs while Mom talked to President Marole about what to do with Miss Gloria and Alfonso.

Mom: Hi, President. I have Miss Gloria, I mean Gloria Cabernette and her sidekick Alfonso. They should be knocked out for a while. Should I bring them to you?

President Marole Xander: Bring them to me. Is everyone okay?

Mom: All good. Also, Lindie’s friend Violet came in, and she actually is the one who defeated Gloria.

President Marole Xander: Who is this Violet, and when can I meet her? Would this weekend work for you?

Mom: I’ll see. But Gloria and Alfonso are coming to you. See you soon.

President Marole Xander: So long, Lucy.

Mom followed us upstairs, and when she came in the kitchen, she asked Violet if she wanted to come to Spyglass to meet President Marole.

“Are you kidding? Me, a real spy?” Violet gasped.

“Well, you would have to take the test first,” Mom said.

“I could train her!” I declared.

“Yeah! Yeah!”

So, it was settled. Violet was to be trained by me to become a real spy. Amazing.

“Training starts next week,” I assured.

 

Six

Finally, it was next week! Violet and I had it all planned out. She slept over for the week, just because it was more convenient. Also, we got to leave school early!

“Okay,” I said, pointing to my white board leaning against my wall. It was one of the ones with every day of the week. “Monday: Try Not To Laugh, for morning YouTube, Master Pools for Netflix Binge. Snack ideas?”

“Oooh, oooh! Caramel corn and chunky cookie vanilla caramel swirl! And pretzels.” Violet just said our all-time favorite snacks.

“Perfect. This sounds like the perfect day, but what are we going to do the rest of the week? We just crammed all our favorite things into one day.”

“What about Try Not To Laugh on Monday, Master Pools Tuesday, Caramel corn Wednesday, chunky cookie vanilla caramel swirl on Thursday, and pretzels Friday!”

“Okay. Now we just have to fill in the blanks. Like what will we watch on Wednesday? What will we eat on Tuesday? Think, Vi, think.”

Soon enough, our whole week of fun had been planned. And nothing would come in our way.

 

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