The Liars

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Loren Jackson stopped her Jeep Wrangler in front of Erwin’s rundown one-room shack located a ten miles south of Barstow. He said the isolation helped him keep his head clear. Time was running out, and the investigative reporter needed answers, whether corroborated or not. The Senate vote to confirm was only two days away.

Over the past ten years, she had used the aged recluse to point her in the right direction in half a dozen exclusive stories. She’d even won a Pulitzer for breaking the Clinton scandal, though it didn’t garner her much favor in the eyes of her progressive colleagues. The psychic had never failed her, so she was confident he would come through this time as well.

It was still early morning and cold in the desert as her booted left foot stepped across the open threshold. He was sitting cross-legged, eyes fluttering, holding what looked like a cow’s skull on his lap.

“What the heck is that thing?”

He opened his eyes and looked up. “A symbol. They sometimes manifest when I come out of a trance.”

“What’s it mean? What did you find out? Which one of them is telling the truth.”

“They’re both lying.”

I wrote this for Week 40 of the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 200.

I know, I’m taking liberties with the prompt, but the whole Brett Kavanaugh confirmation three-ring circus hearings have been weighing heavily on my mind for a while now. I keep considering the allegations and what’s come up so far from the FBI’s investigation, tossing them back and forth in my thoughts. There are a few things.

It seems that none of the people at the party where Dr. Ford alleges she was sexually assaulted even remember being there:

Each has said previously that they do not recall the gathering Ford described. Eric B. Bruce, Smyth’s attorney, issued a statement Monday saying Smyth “truthfully answered every question the FBI asked him and, consistent with the information he previously provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee, he indicated that he has no knowledge of the small party or gathering described by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, nor does he have any knowledge of the allegations of improper conduct she has leveled against Brett Kavanaugh.”

At least one of Kavanaugh’s friends have stated Kavanaugh is an aggressive and belligerent drunk, which could support Ford’s allegations that he assaulted her while intoxicated.

On the other hand, the various phobias Dr. Ford states she continues to suffer from (including a fear of flying even though she regularly flies) have been refuted in a letter from an anonymous party claiming to be Ford’s ex boyfriend.

I know. A witness claiming Kavanaugh has a history of being aggressive when drunk and an anonymous ex-boyfriend saying that Ford isn’t claustrophobic because she once lived in a 500 sq ft apartment and lived for a time in Hawaii (and unless she took a ship, she most likely got there by flying). It’s not much to go on, but consider this.

Let’s say that those allegations are factual. It means both Kavanaugh and Ford lied under oath and are both guilty of perjury:

A person convicted of perjury under federal law may face up to five years in prison and fines. The punishment for perjury under state law varies from state to state, but perjury is a felony and carries a possible prison sentence of at least one year, plus fines and probation.

If proven, then technically, they both could go to prison. It probably won’t go that way, but even if Ford’s allegations against Kavanaugh are established to be factual, in all likelihood (again, assuming a friend and an ex-boyfriend are correct) they both did lie.

Anyway, back to the photo challenge. To read other stories based on the prompt, and so far, mine’s the only one, visit

10 thoughts on “The Liars

    • An effect of being questioned under oath is the legal consequences of lying. That said, yes the original point was to determine if the nominee should be confirmed, but things have gone way beyond that. Now it’s a political circus and everybody is questioning everybody else’s credibility.


  1. It IS possible to stay focused even when everyone else has put on their clown masks. Also, you know how you got on someone’s case because you thought he said something that annoyed you just because he could? You’ve been bringing up junk about Ford being a liar from the start — based on postulations, fabrications, or fantasies that don’t have to apply to her (and, I’d say, a misreading). No one has been able to prove what she has said, but I think you’re smart enough to know that doesn’t make her a liar or her accusation a lie. It might be true, it might be misremembering, and it might be part true and part mistaken, and it could be part lie or even all lie (which I doubt). But this stupid fixation (with desperate Republicans) on whether or not she is really claustrophobic or afraid of flying… STUPID. I developed a bit of claustrophobia when I was in my thirties. I know because I can tell the difference from how I felt before and how I feel at times later and now. But women are to be told how they feel. Right?


    • I’ve previously said that A) Ford seemed more credible testifying before Congress than Kavanaugh and B) that the odds of Ford being truthful, relative to research and statistics, indicate she is most likely being truthful. In terms of my story and the afterword, soft sources cast doubt on the total veracity of both Ford and Kavanaugh, but they are soft sources and uncorroborated. Add to that the fact that Kavanaugh is on “trial” (though it’s not really a trial) and not Ford. That said, the accuracy of the testimony of both must be evaluated. While at this point, Ford’s testimony relative to her being assaulted 35 years ago by Kavanaugh seems genuine, some of the other statements she made may not be 100 accurate or even truthful.

      That said, I’m not going after her and I’m not supporting Kavanaugh. What my wee tale is suggesting is that A) They’re both human, and B) being human, they might, just might, slant their statements in their own favor, which isn’t an unreasonable assumption.

      I’m not telling you, Ford, or women in general how to feel. I’m suggesting however that she may have exaggerated her various stated phobias for her own reasons. That’s fine and dandy as far as it goes, but when you do it under oath (and this applies also to Kavanaugh and his apparent soft soaping of his drinking behavior), it’s called perjury. My guess is that there was at least a bit of “fudging” of the truth (or more) on both their parts. Another guess, given this entire situation, is that Kavanaugh will receive greater consequences, and he should since he’s holding a position of public trust.


  2. “…for breaking the Clinton scandal.” Honestly, James, I’m not surprised you brought up “the Clinton scandal,” since that’s a Republican fallback talking point. But no “Clinton scandal” can hold a candle to the ongoing Trump scandal. And with respect to Kavanaugh, whether you believe him or Blasey-Ford or neither of them, his demander and behavior at last Thursday’s hearing should be enough to demonstrate to anyone who really cares that he is not deserving of a seat on the Supreme Court. There are other equally qualified conservative candidates for that seat who haven’t lied and whose temperament are more well suited to neon the high court.


      • Hmm. I guess that’s like the random generator for the names Christina and Chrissie and the tangent (extreme) story with another Christine and four-letter last name starting with F and including another letter in common. May your granddaughter be delivered from your sexist Republican snark.

        It’s “interesting” how you shape-shift back and forth and all around between basically saying you’re just kidding (or it’s fiction) and then saying even fiction matters because of what comes across. You know I’m not a fan of the Clintons, but your response on this betrays a lack of being genuine.


      • The Christian/Chrissie “connection” is just coincidental. I wasn’t even thinking about Ford’s name when I wrote it. That particular tale was more generally directed at the presumption that some people think without a shred of evidence, victims should be believed and the accused should summarily be demonized. We don’t treat any other crime this way. If Kavanaugh or anyone else were accused of bank robbery or even murder (for argument’s sake, let’s say the victim was a guy), it would be perceived very differently.


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