I’m rubbish at telling lies. Oh, I can make stuff up no problem. You know, like outrageous, astonishing stuff that could never be true – I’m a writer of fiction, after all. But when it comes to credible delivery I just freeze. I can’t get an untruth past my lips without sweating and stuttering and chewing my hair.
I learnt this lesson while still fairly young, but not quite young enough. I cringe when I remember the whoppers I tried to get past my mum and my teachers – excuses for essays not written or forgotten PE kit, croaky assertions that I was ‘far too sick to go to this week’s piano lesson’, followed by a feeble cough. I was so unconvincing I’m surprised they didn’t collapse laughing.
Teenager Verity Fibbs doesn’t have that problem. She’s an expert. She can lie with such confidence that she’ll convince you red is green, cows fly and she’s a world authority on cheese-making. So I guess it’s a good thing I’m chaperoning her at the Hay Festival this year. Yes, her mum IS the famous fashion designer, Saffron Fibbs, but Verity is NOT allowed to do whatever she likes while her mum is in New York. She DOES look exactly like her mum, but it is NOT totally fine for Verity to pretend to be her at a celebrity nightspot to impress a boy.
Don’t believe anything she says.
You have been warned.
Cathy Brett, May 2012
Catch Cathy at the festival on Friday 8 June, 3:50pm