The pretender1

Yesterday I was walking at Aspiration-Ground. Then I decided to walk back to my house. It was around half past four in the afternoon. On the way, I saw a little boy coming out of his house. Very fast he ran out and then he deliberately fell down in the middle of the street. He was lying down, pretending that he had been hurt by a car and he was dying or dead.

I was only ten metres away from him, so I saw the whole thing. As I came closer, I saw another boy of his age come running out of the house. This boy was calling, "George, George, George! What has happened? Has anything gone wrong? Are you hurt?" He thought that some serious accident had taken place and George was severely injured. Although it was only half past four, it was quite dark.

When I came near the boy who was lying down, I said to the second boy, "Nothing is wrong. He is all right."

This little boy, George, who was lying down, looked at me and put his finger on his mouth, asking me to keep quiet. So I kept quiet. Then I saw that the boy who had followed him was still worrying. He was sincerely concerned to know what had happened and why George was not talking. He kept asking, "George, are you hurt? What happened? Was it an accident?" All kinds of things he was saying. He was terribly afraid that George had been hit by a car.

At last I said, "Nothing is wrong. George is only pretending."

Immediately George stood up, smiling, and said to me, "Mind your own business!"

I said, "Sorry, sorry, sorry! You are right, you are right!" What could I do? George was only five or six years old. He could not have been eight. He had to say, "Mind your own business." So I said, "Sorry, sorry, sorry."

I did not know what to say. That street is not properly lit. If a car had come while he was lying down pretending to be hurt, he would have been in serious trouble. And the concern that his little friend was showing was so sincere that I felt sorry for the one who came to his rescue. Alas, why did I open my big mouth?

  1. WCB 78. 12 October 1998