Posted: 26 August 2013 in fiction, writing
Tags: ,

I submitted the following story for an event; it didn’t make the cut but I still quite like it.

It’s a little longer than a fast fiction, around 500 words. I submitted another tale as well; I may put that one up as well; we’ll see.

In the meantime, enjoy this one.


The call from the job agency was at ten o’clock in the morning, and the interview at four in the afternoon. By five, I was employed on a trial basis, and by the end of the month, I was full time, and permanent. Well, as permanent as this job ever gets.

At first I thought they must have been desperate, but no, the skills I’d picked up in several concurrent careers as – in no particular order – a con man, a writer and a comedian were just what they were looking for. Put simply, they were after a pathological liar.

And in the nine weeks since the interview, I’ve manufactured seventeen watertight explanations for the police, written twelve newspaper features under various pseudonyms and reassured six sets of parents that their missing teenagers were in fact being employed by MI5 on matters essential to national security.

Now, the one thing you have to remember at this point is that urban legends are just that, legends. Myths. No basis in fact. None of them. You’ll remember that, yes? I mean, I’ll check later, obviously.

Yeah, it took some time to get used to the routines here. No water bottles allowed (cancer prevention); no letting the winged spiders out for a flap (we never did find that one that escaped); and no taunting the traumatised hamster by calling him ‘Richard’. That’s a definite no-no.

Fortunately, I don’t have to wear those damn cycle masks whenever I left the building (to protect against chemtrail poisoning) unlike the poor slobs in the next office; they’re the conspiracy theory builders and they sometimes get a little too involved in their work. Not giving any secrets away but if they ask you to smell something, don’t… Ever.

That’s not to say I’ve got any less tough a job; it’s not easy being a reality enforcer: dealing with the detritus of the supernatural and the just plain insane criminal, ensuring the teeming masses of humanity still believe that urban myths are just legends and shared legends are just stories to scare children with.

My predecessor? Yeah, she’s recently been promoted. She’s currently somewhere in middle America, intercepting cars before they pick up the next hitch-hiker, the one who’ll vanish from the car. You know the story. Well, of course you do.

The training? Well, usually it’s ok. One bloke though, he’s on rotation back to head office after a screw up in New York. Nothing big, at least I don’t think so, but no-one’s letting slip any details; I heard it was something to do with taking bribes and letting someone take both kidneys, or skimping on the ice. Or somesuch.

So, we’ve covered salary, holidays and perks. You interested in the job? No? Ah well, just finish your coffee, and I’ll see you out. Read the newspaper while you wait. I’ve got a piece on page 7.

Urban legends, you see. They don’t exist. They never did.

I have proof.

© Lee Barnett, 2013

  1. Yay! Thank you for sharing!

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