“Dare,” Lila says.
“Tell the truth,” we say.
She flips us off and goes to the kitchen.
“Truth,” says Ben.
We hook him up to the truth detector and ask:
“What is the capital of Kosovo?”
He doesn’t know. We laugh at him. The device appears to show he is telling the truth.
“It’s Pristina,” I tell him.
It’s Lorna’s turn. She picks truth as well; the same process with the lie detector is followed.
“Are there other forms of life outside of our planet?”
Lorna thinks about it.
“I think so, yeah,” she says. The device shows she is lying.
“Does this mean there aren’t?!”
“No, it means she doesn’t think there are, but somehow thought it important to lie about it.”
“Every time I say I don’t think aliens are real, people call me self-centred and uncreative!”
She was telling the truth.
“But the question wasn’t about what you thought. Whatever, we’ll ask again, but this time you refrain from saying what you think or not. We have to be objective.”
“Are there other forms of life outside the planet?”
The device whistled the alarming sound of a lie being detected.
“I can’t believe I was wrong,” says Lorna. The device beeps again: “I mean figuratively.”
“Huh,” says Ben. “Interesting. Guess we solved that.”
It’s my turn. I pick the truth.
“Does coleslaw taste good?” Ben asks.
“Yes,” I say. The device says I am lying.
“I told you so!” Screams Ben triumphantly.
It’s Ben’s turn again. I dare him to eat left-over coleslaw. Lila is back from the kitchen. I’m going to ask her and the truth detector if God is real (though I’m pretty sure It is in the room with us).
Beatriz Seelaender was born in 1998 in São Paulo, Brazil. She's had essays published by websites such as The Collapsar and The Manifest-Station, and her short stories can be found in Psychopomp Lit Mag, The Gateway Review and others.