To Tell the Truth

Darrell Case

"Yes, you did.”

“No, I did not.”
“You promised.”
“I said I might.” 8-year-old Cody said.

“Ok you two, what’s going on?” Ellyn said. Jody and Cody turned to look at their mother. Her stern expression meant it better be something important.

“Cody said if I helped him clean his room, he would give me his dessert.” Jody said defensively.

“Cody, did you say that?” Ellyn said. Cody didn’t lie, but his answers could be evasive. The twins didn’t know, but dessert tonight would be chocolate cake and ice cream.

“I said I might,” Cody shot back. He knew he was caught.

His mother folded her arms. Not a good sign. “Have we talked about this before? You don’t say something unless you mean it. Did Jody help you clean your room?”

“Yesssss.” Cody said reluctantly.

“And what did you promise her?” Ellyn said sternly.

“But mom I said I might.” The little boy looked ready to cry.

“And what was your intention of saying that?”

He got caught, and he knew it. He hung his head. “To have her help me.” He drawled.

“But mom I didn’t mean it.”

“That makes it doubly worse.” She said. “Ok. I’ll give you a chance to redeem yourself. You can clean the living room.” His face fell.

“But…but that will take forever.” Cody said, tears misting his eyes.

“And during the time you’re cleaning, you will repeat, I will keep my word. I will keep my word.” “But mom,” Cody said to no avail. His mother was gone.

His sister smiled. “I think I’ll set on the stairs and watch you.”
“You better not.” Cody, his tears spilling over.

“Come on Cody. The sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll be done.” His mother called from the bottom of the stairs.

The little boy trudged down the stairs like he was going to his execution.

For the next hour, he vacuumed, dusted, picked up and polished. Jody watched until she got bored. Several times, his mother came to inspect his work. At the end of an hour, she declared the living room clean and released her prisoner.

That night, after a good meal of fried chicken gravy, corn and green beans, Ellyn brought out the cake. She cut three large pieces, put them in bowls, and filled them with ice cream. Cody watched with big eyes, tears streaming down his cheeks. She set the bowls in front of her daughter, husband, and herself.

Cody hung his head. He heard a clink and felt a hand on his shoulder. He looked up with tear-filled eyes at his smiling mother and father. Before him, set a bowl filled to the brim with chocolate cake and ice-cream. From that day on, Cody always told the truth.


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