Khloe had always liked making things up, and loved all sorts of stories and tales;
She thought often of hunting with ogres, or having tea with the old Prince of Wales.
She would picture herself surrounded by gemstones and treasures beyond all compare,
Or utterly penniless, drifting ashore on a deserted island somewhere.
She daydreamed so often of wild events that her real life could seem rather dull,
So sometimes, in small ways, she would exaggerate the details when there was a lull.
The changes she made were always minute and would often go quite undetected.
If she’d seen three geese, she might just say nine -- which was slightly more than expected.
She liked to impress; she loved to surprise; she enjoyed the attention of interested eyes;
She craved the applause that performance provided and simple reporting denies.
This sometimes led Khloe to slip on the line that divides an untruth from what’s real…
The temptation to lie when the telling was good was an urge that she often could feel.
On her walk back from school, as she crossed through the park, something caught Khloe’s attention.
From the dirt she picked up a blue five dollar bill, and looked around with apprehension.
No one was near -- no soul in sight -- so she put the blue bill in her pocket and zoom!
Up and down streets she ran all the way home, then quick as a flash she went into her room.
Her heart was pounding with pleasure and fear as she stared at the sapphire paper;
Who would she tell first? How to celebrate? ...Should she even confess to the caper?
As Khloe’s mind stewed over the issue, her imagination started to spin.
Before an hour of time had collapsed, the little blue note had developed a twin.
Not five in her head but ten had she found lying under the swing, lost and alone,
Which is what she told Jessie and Eddie next morning, when they caught up on the phone.
“It was there on the ground,” Khloe explained, “I noticed the colour purple. Quite bright.”
“You’re lucky,” sighed Jessie. “You’re rich!” Eddie cried, both girls assuming the sum to be right.
All the legends and myths that Khloe had read began crowding and clouding her thoughts;
By lunch her blue five had become a green twenty, and her tummy was turning to knots.
“You found twenty dollars right here in the park?” Kaleb asked, as if in a trance.
“Maybe there’s more! I’ve got to get looking!” and he leapt up to seize on his chance.
Kaleb found Nick and they dug ‘round the swings for a while before Nick came to the source.
“Kaleb says you found twenty?” And she nodded assent. “You boys are on the right course.”
Khloe stayed in the park all afternoon and told her tale to all that would listen.
At some point the bounty she found swelled again, and her eyes would sparkle and glisten
As she filled the air talking of polymer treasure, and whether to save it or spend...
But somewhere deep down she knew it was false and the truth might come out, in the end.
By the time Isabella showed up at the park, the swing sand had all been removed;
And a dozen young people were mining for gold in the place that Khloe’d approved.
“Fifty bucks!? A red bill!” Isabella exclaimed, “I’ve never seen that much in one place!
Can I see it, just to hold it a minute?” she asked. And then Khloe went red in the face.
And just at that moment, who would walk up but Jessie and Eddie, girls side by side.
“Good timing!” said Isabella, “now Khloe can show everyone what she found by the slide.”
“By the SLIDE!?” shouted Nick, “but you said by the swing! Why did you let us dig the wrong spot!?
If the twenty was there, I’ve been wasting my time! Nice, Khloe. For real, thanks a lot.”
“No, it was ten,” Jessie told him. “The bill was bright purple. She told us this morning.”
Eddie nodded, but soon the other kids came as a mob without any warning.
“It was green, twenty bucks,” Kaleb argued. “I thought she said brown…” said Lysander.
And as tempers grew short and accusations grew thick, the air filled up with slander.
Oh, how her insides wriggled and squirmed when Khloe thought of her coming confession!
Never before had she been caught so deep inside an elaborate invention.
“Stop!” she hollered. “Stop,” she whispered. “It was only blue… it was only a five.
The truth got away from me. I'm sorry I lied. It was foolish for me to contrive
A story that was more than what happened. I didn’t want anyone to feel hurt.”
And she brought from her pocket the sapphire bill that she’d actually found in the dirt.
Her friends looked with pity at Khloe’s blue bill and decided that day to be gracious.
And Khloe committed to truth after that… at least, her fictions were far less audacious.
She still likes inventing and making things up, but the lesson she learned really took.
With the five bucks she’d found, she bought writing paper, and now she is drafting a book.
There is space in this world for daydreams and phantoms, for goblins and fairies, too,
But speaking the truth in real life is important if keeping friends matters to you.
When you cross paths with three geese, you should say so; when you find a blue bill, celebrate --
Then write up a story about nine blue-billed geese! I bet you that tale would be great.