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No Personal Checks, Please

I want to thank all of you for coming and I hope you lied to your family and  friends about where you were going to be tonight. I have to say this is a pretty  impressive turnout for a club that only advertises via small, classified ads. I  think you’ll soon discover that being here is one of the best decisions you’ve  ever made, because in a few short weeks you’re going to be certified to set up  your own club anywhere you want, and you’re going to be making a lot of money  and helping a lot of people at the same time. Everybody wins by you making the  right choice to be here. This is a pretty special group.

Now the very first lesson we teach you here at the Liars’ Club is to stop thinking of a lie as something that’s “deceptive” or “untrue.” Those are dirty,  vulgar simplifications that adults use to explain things to children, and we  aren’t children. The word “adult” comes from the Latin meaning “less pure,” because we as adults know the world isn’t as simple as we make it out for our kids. And that right there is an example of how most people lie all the time without even thinking about it–how we talk to our children. When our kids grow wise to all the lies we adults tell them, they become one of us, and the cycle starts all over again. Since you’re all here tonight, you should go ahead and congratulate each other for figuring this out.

And I really do mean “congratulate,” because the difference between “us” and “them” isn’t that we “lie” more often than they do or anything like that. The difference is that we just lie more deliberately, which actually makes us more honest. Think about it. When we proud members of the Liars’ Club lie, we lie on purpose. Most people who lie don’t even know it, because the first person they lie to is themselves. Ipso facto, the person you should never trust is the person who doesn’t lie. It’s just common sense. Write that down.

I say again, “adult.” Like “adultery.” To “adulterate” something means to corrupt it. In our culture becoming a mature, contributing member of society means we lose our innocence–which is a fancy way of saying “stupidity” or “harmlessness”–and that is a good thing. Go ahead and write that down, too–being an adult is a good thing to do, and you don’t have to apologize for it.

Now here is a pro tip from an experienced liar. This is what you guys are paying for, so listen up. Lean in close. Now here it is: The very best people to lie to are the ones who want to believe you. If someone wants to believe you, they will. If they don’t, then they won’t, but then the question is, “How can I make someone want to believe me?” And the answer is simple: If you give someone a reason to believe you, then they will. You hear that word I just used, “reason”? Reason is built right in to lying, because lying is a rational thing to do. Ipso facto. That’s another point that proves itself, so I won’t bore all of you to tears explaining it. You’re smart people and it’s all right there, nothing to explain.

Now for another obvious point: There is only one thing you can never get with a lie, and that is the Truth. Fortunately for us the Truth doesn’t exist, or I guess to put it more precisely: The Truth is just a lie in fancy clothes. But just like you and me, you get dressed up in fancy clothes, you’re still naked underneath.

So that’s my introduction to the course, and after the break we’ll have plenty of time for questions, but I can already see the light bulbs going off in your heads. So now I’m going to turn things over to my wife, Liz, and she’s going to guide us through the next part of this first workshop, an ice breaker activity where everyone tells us who they aren’t. It might be tricky at first but once you start I think you’ll find it comes pretty easily.

While she’s doing that, I’m going to go around the room and collect the fees for this week, and if you can afford to pay in advance for the rest of the month it would help defray some of the early overhead for us and make the rest of the course run that much more smoothly. No personal checks, please.


Robert John Miller’s work has recently appeared in DOGZPLOT, Bartleby Snopes, and Monkeybicycle. He is currently shirtless. He lives in Chicago and more can be found at

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