Self taught as a toddler to twist and turn words, aiming and firing them, her poisonous projectiles. Travesty on a tricycle caused Ruth to sustain an injury that would plague her for life. Manipulating sympathy from her mother was her plan but she was a bit too over exuberant in her attempt to deceive. Over the handlebars flew Ruth landing chin to concrete scarring her chin and biting a slit in the middle of her tongue. Many tears were shed as she bellowed all the way to the county hospital. Six stitches and a minor surgery later she was all good. The scar on her chin was permanent yet ever shrinking and fading. Her tongue was another matter. Ruth’s tongue was left forked and the divide between the two sides of her tongue seemed to grow ever so slightly every day.
This awful accident did nothing to deter Ruth from being deceptive or manipulative; instead her behavior became more extreme. Ruth always held her own truth. It may have been a mixture of the actual truth and a story she’d concocted, a half truth mixed with withheld important facts or just a plain bold face lie. Nonetheless
Ruth always had a story to tell, keenly coherence trickery. Random ruses revisited over and over again. Mother Thomas believed every word that came out of Ruth’s mouth always. Every whim satisfied and wants granted is what Ruth demanded and received daily.
Fortunately Ruth’s forked tongue did not cause her to speak with a lisp. She was an extraordinary orator. Other children had difficulty expressing themselves, stuttering with limited vocabulary. Conversely Ruth was quick witted and well spoken with an enormous list of lexis at her disposal. Every argument, debate and dispute was won by the cunning Ruth. Her truth left her forever victorious.
“But Aunt Carol, I promise. I didn’t spill the milk.”
“Enough Larry! Ruth told me everything. We don’t waste food and if we make a mess we clean it up in this house. Now, go stand in the corner until your mother gets here.”
“I said enough! Now go!”
A dejected five year old Larry Coleman walked past his conniving older cousin as she smiled then stuck out her snake tongue at him. Little Larry was furious; he cursed her under his breath. If he said it out loud he knew that she would be sure to report it to her doting mother who would surely punish him further. Ruth didn’t want cereal for breakfast so she simply poured a quart of milk out onto the floor and blamed her little cousin. For her lie and ill deed she was rewarded with her favorite, waffles and sausage with extra syrup. Poor Larry shed tears as he waited for his mother to retrieve him from mean ole Aunt Carol’s house. Carol’s single younger sister Linda showed up late as usual causing Larry to stand in the corner for close to an hour.
He was scolded again by his mother when she arrived as he struggled to walk on his now numb legs. In the car on the ride home he tried to explain to his mother but his cries and pleas fell on death ears. His childhood would be filled with these moments, him being falsely accused and his fork tongued cousin getting away with murder.
In school is where Ruth did her best work. There were more players to manipulate and a larger audience to play to. If bored she might create a bit of drama between two classmates by spreading false information and accrediting it to one of the parties. After pitting two girls against one another she would then be sure to instigate a fight by fanning the flames with untruths. She loved to stand back and watch a friendship burn to the ground. Ruth was a young relationship arsonist wearing a wicked smile, hissing with the tongue of a serpent.
“I don’t care what you say Jane I love this dress but I sure do hate your new hairdo. What is that called anyway, it’s just awful.”
“I never said anything about your dress and I like my new hairdo fatty.”
“Who are you calling fatty, bucky?”
“Bucky! I hate you Jill. I’m not your friend anymore!”
“Well good and don’t come knocking on my door to play dolls ever again. I wouldn’t play with you if you were the last girl on earth Jane.”
Ruth stood in attendance oohing and ahing at every insult. Earlier in the day Ruth spread the rumor that Jane was talking behind her best friend Jill’s back. According to Ruth Jane went on and on about how ugly Jill’s new dress was. It got back Jill by mid day and at lunch they had it out. With that argument a best friendship was annulled never to be reconciled. Ruth had no reason for causing so much trouble between the two friends; she just enjoyed controlling people and watching a good fight. The two ten year olds would remain rivals throughout high school never realizing how they ever became enemies.
In middle school Ruth wanted to be on the volleyball team but she had marginal talent at best. She and another girl, Paula Preen, were battling for the last spot on the team. Paula was obviously a little better and was far more likeable than the messy little Ruth. Ruth knew that she was at a disadvantage so instead of practicing harder to become better she figured she’d do what she was best at and sabotage her opponent.
In the girls locker room she waited for Coach Miller. As the girls filed out after practice Ruth asked Paula to stay behind so that she could talk to her. Ruth made small talk while listening out for the coach.
“So Paula how do you get down and dig the ball out like that?”
The helpful Paula demonstrated for Ruth. Ruth thanked her then changed her line of questioning.
“So between me and you what do you think about coaches short shorts? I mean hello, no one wants to see your old lady camel toe. I mean I’m afraid a grey pube or two might pop out, gross!”
The girls laughed together. Ruth encouraged Paula to give her opinion.
“What do you think? C’mon just between friends.”
Ruth smiled, gaining Paula’s trust. At that moment she could hear Coach Miller approaching. Paula giggled before chiming in.
“Well, I guess she should dress her age. I mean you can see the bottom of her butt when she bends over.”
“Yes coach. She’s doing a little too much for a woman her age. If I were her, I’d be too embarrassed to walk around like that in front of people. It is just a little gross.”
Just then Coach Carter made her presence known. Paula was mortified. She quickly piped down hoping that Coach Carter hadn’t heard anything that she’d said.
“Ruth, did you want to speak with me?”
Paula quickly quietly gathered her things and exited the locker room. On the way out she passed by the coach, red faced not saying a word. As the door closed behind her, Ruth started to praise her coach then spill her guts.
“Coach I just want to thank you for the opportunity to try out for this great team. I’ve learned so much during this process. I’ll always value this experience. But there is something that I wanted to share with you.”
“What is that Ruth?”
Ruth paused for effect before continuing on.
“A player on the team that will remain nameless has had some very unflattering things to say about you. Normally I wouldn’t be a snitch but I respect you and all authority figures in general and I don’t think we should be insulting you or any other coach for that matter. I don’t want to drop names but I don’t want to be around the negativity either.”
Ruth paused and looked down as if she was torn about having to squeal on a peer. Coach Carter walked over and patted Ruth on her shoulder in an effort to comfort her.
“It’s okay Ruth. I appreciate you sharing this with me but I heard Paula as I walked in here. I don’t think we need that on this team. We are to be united and respectful of one another and that is what we will be.”
Coach Carter took time to gather her thoughts before confiding in Ruth.
“Ruth, between me and you. I believe we have a spot on this team for you. I respect loyalty and honesty and you have displayed both to me. Welcome aboard.”
Ruth jumped up to her feet and gave the coach a hug. Her face offered a sinister grin behind the woman’s back. She released her embrace and pretended to wipe away a tear of joy as she looked up into the woman’s eyes.
“Now, I’m going to need you to keep this between me and you until I make the announcement to the team.”
“Thank you coach, I won’t let you down!”
Coach Carter patted Ruth on the shoulder then exited the locker room. Ruth turned her attention to a score she had to settle now that she was officially a member of the team. She rushed out to catch up to a neighborhood rival of hers. Jenny Jacobs was an experienced volleyball player, one of the best on the team. She never got along with Ruth and wasn’t very happy when she saw her nemesis trying out for the volleyball team. She told Ruth that there was no way that she’d ever make the team. Ruth knew that she was right so she had to tip the scales in her favor. Now it was time for payback.
“Jenny, Jenny wait up.”
Jenny and her friends turned to see what the irritating Ruth wanted.
“What do you want Ruth Thomas?”
“Well I just wanted to talk to you about the volleyball team.”
“You mean the team you have no chance of making?”
Jenny and her girlfriends shared a laugh at Ruth’s expense.
“Well that’s just what I wanted to talk to you about. You don’t believe I can make the team and I’m sure I can so how about we make a little wager?”
Jenny scoffed at Ruth’s challenge.
“What do you want to bet?”
“Well how about if I don’t make the team I’ll give you twenty bucks.”
Jenny gave a skeptical frown.
“I know you won’t make it but what do I owe you if you make the team?”
Ruth pretended to be thinking something up.
“How about you have to kiss Gregory Gore if I make it.”
Jenny was repulsed by the thought, as were her friends.
“Ewe! Boogery Gregory.”
Jenny pretended to stick her finger down her throat to induce vomiting.
“He is so gross, his breath smells like snot. I want to throw up just thinking about it.”
“So are you chicken or what?”
Ruth put Jenny on the spot in front of her friends; she had to take her up on her bet.
“Sure, you’ve got a bet. Now beat it lizard lips.”
Jenny’s friends found her comment quite funny. Ruth just smiled to herself and walked off in the opposite direction towards Gregory’s house. She walked up and knocked on the door. Gregory opened the door, surprised to see Ruth standing on his door step.
“Hey Gregory, how’s it going?”
“Good and you?”
“I’m doing well; it’s good to see you.”
Gregory didn’t trust the girl.
“Why are you here Ruth?”
“We’re neighbors; I can’t just stop by to say hi?”
“You never have before.”
“Well, you’ll be glad I did today.”
“What do you mean?”
“Do you still have a crush on Jenny Jacobs?”
Gregory gave a shy smile.
“Sure I do. She’s dreamy.”
Ruth rolled her eyes at him.
“Dreamy, really? Well look, I wanted to make a little bet with you.”
“I bet you fifty bucks that I can get her to kiss you during lunch the day after tomorrow.”
Gregory almost jumped for joy.
“Really, how you gonna do that?”
“Never mind that, do we have a bet or not?”
“Sure, sure we have a bet. I don’t want you’re money I just want to kiss Jenny.”
Just then Gregory sucked up some snot and swallowed it. Ruth got a shiver just watching him and hearing him swallow. He was repulsive; she couldn’t wait to see them lock lips.
“Okay just bring your fifty bucks to school and I’ll be sure you get your kiss.”
Over the next day and a half Ruth discretely promoted the event and informed Jenny of when and where she would have to kiss Gregory, AKA The Booger Man. Just as she planned, the names of the people who made the volleyball tam was posted and she was on it. Poor Paula had to endure two more very uncomfortable practices with Coach Carter. She was almost glad to not make the team. Eventually the moment of truth came. Ruth walked over and slapped the list down in front of the jittery Jenny and her friends.
“It’s time to pay up girlfriend.”
Jenny gave her a scowl but she couldn’t back out; the whole school was watching. Ruth led her to the front of the cafeteria where she was joined by Gregory who slipped her a fifty. She stepped away then pulled out her camera. Poor Jenny thought she would die. She just wanted to make it as quick as possible.
“Alright Gregory, let’s get this over with.”
She leaned in to give him a peck on the lips. As soon as their lips touched, he thrust his tongue into her mouth. She tasted his boogers and snot. It quickly made her nauseous; she literally could not contain herself. Puke poured from her lips and onto Gregory. The disgusting little boy was so infatuated with her that he didn’t even move. It was he highlight of the school year. Students were equally amused and disgusted so much so that two other students lost their lunch as well. Ruth was sure to record it all.
This was one of the greatest moments of her life and she wanted to relive it over and over again. Boogery Gregory was on cloud nine and Jenny had never been more repulsed in her life. It would take her until high school to live the horrible experience down. Ruth smiled on so proud at the havoc she’d caused. She had her cake and ate it too. She embarrassed one of her enemies and was even paid to do it.
A week later Ruth quit the volleyball team. She never wanted to play in the first place. She just wanted to torment Jenny. Just another one of Ruth’s truths.