“I’d be okay if you’d get your shoe out of my mouth.”
The Studebaker pickup lay on its right side – the two uppermost tires slowly spinning.
The poor headlights had failed to alert the inexperienced driver (me) in time. The sharp bend in the gravel curve took me by surprise (the road was named Sharp Road for a reason). I braked hard, swinging the steering wheel leftward. In the time it could take to say mishap I capsized my dad’s hay truck. It lay there immobile, like a roped calf waiting for the cowboy to bind its legs.
My heart and head churned. I slowly exhaled. His saucy tone aside, my friends’ response comforted me. David was okay. I wriggled up and out the driver-side window. David followed.
Without comment we scanned the shadowed form. Crouching beside the vehicle we grabbed hold, unthinking. Adrenaline took over and power beyond that of our boy-man bodies kicked in. In a moment it was over. The tires bounced once. Shaking still, I wondered about any telltale damage along her faded blue side. But the pickup sat erect under the night sky and that was the main thing. I turned the ignition. It fired and we drove away. With our latest experience. And our secret.
Next evening at supper I scrambled for a response to dad’s offhand question. I’d been dreading such a moment. He directed the question casually to my brother Tim and me.
Would you boys have an idea about the sun-visor on the Studebaker? The visor was metallic, fitted to the outside, above the windshield. Since the previous night on Sharp Road the sun-visor featured an obvious new dip along the passenger side.
Tim – able to honestly plea ignorance – looked puzzled.
Following a pause I attempted a detached tone that I hoped would convince.
Maybe a bale dropped onto it when we were loading hay from the barn loft.
The answer seemed to satisfy my unwary dad. He would learn of his overturned truck when I broached the topic years later – when the risk of forfeiting my driving license was long past.
Deception (Merriam-Webster) – the act of making someone believe something that is not true; the act of deceiving someone.
Character flaws display themselves in different ways. Generally – thanks to values my parents and other responsible adults drove home – I was a fairly honest kid growing up. But my deception limp surfaced periodically, no question.
A missing soda, an unapproved relationship, a shotgun episode.
Other demonstrations of a flawed character.
I needed help.
© 2015 Jerry Lout