The Unreliable Narrator

Prompt: Try and create a story in which the main character is lying about what actually happened. Be sure to ask yourself why the main character would lie about it and how the reader might be able to tell it is a lie.

Edgar rushed in through the front door of his house, stopping short when confronted by the sight of his wife standing there. He offered her a wan smile. “Hello, dear.”

Louise glared at him in reply, arms folded across her chest as her foot tap-tap-tapped against the floor. “Where have you been?” she demanded heatedly.

He didn’t answer immediately. Instead, he stalled by removing his coat in slow motion, then headed to the closet to hang it up. Every movement was slow and deliberate before he finally retraced his steps to stand in front of her.

He looked like an errant schoolboy, being reprimanded for losing his homework, as he looked down at the floor and scuffed his foot against the carpet.

“Weelllll, you see…. I ran into Bob… you remember Bob, doncha?” He broke off to look at her hopefully. “Well, umm.. he asked me to have a drink with him, and he wouldn’t take no for an answer.”

He folded his arms behind him to twine his nervous fingers together out of her sight. “Why, he even took my phone from me when I tried to call and let you know I would be late.” He didn’t say he was going to ask permission. He knew that’s how it would have happened, but a man was entitled to some shred of dignity.

“So we went to this bar to have a beer, only the waitress slipped and spilled a whole tray of drinks on him. So we went to his house so he could shower and change, but then he got in a fight with his wife. She was mad because he made the whole house smell like a brewery.”

He rambled on, including way too many details, and avoiding her eyes. “So finally, we got out of there, and we went to a steakhouse. It was dinner time after all. Only he saw some other people he knew, and we ended up being a large group of people. And it took forever for us to be seated.”

Pausing, he nervously cleared his throat. “Service was just lousy. The food was slow in coming, and poor Bob had to send his back several times. Then it took forever for the waitress to bring the check, and on top of that, she had lumped everyone in together when we’d specifically asked for separate tickets.”

He heaved a sighed and cast a glance at her. She didn’t look convinced. Sure enough, he was soon tossing and turning on the too short sofa in the living room. He cursed, knowing that he’d not get any sleep that night. And it was likely that he’d been sleeping on the couch for the next week.

It was almost enough to cause him to cancel the surprise he’d been planning for Louise — the celebration of their 15th wedding anniversary he’d been trying to spend the night planning with Bob and his wife.