The Sneeze Heard Round the World

By: Mrs. Daniels

You’ve heard of Pinnochio, right? Of wooden puppet fame? Then I’m sure you know about his little problem with fibbing. His poor little wooden nose would grow and grow the more lies he told. Well, I’ve been jealous of Pinnochio since I could speak. See, when I tell a lie, nothing on me grows… but I sneeze. Loudly and quite conspicuously. If an untruth leaves my lips, my body convulses involuntarily as if I have hay fever.


Not everyone in the kingdom is aware of this unpleasant trait, but unluckily for me, the prince (and acting king) of the land has known about me since my infancy. And as I just happen to have lived in his castle since I was born, that basically means he’s made my life a living you-know-what since Day One. Since I’m now on Day 7,185, that’s nineteen plus years of misery. Misery that has coalesced into the present, defining situation of my life.


“PEPPER MANDRAKE, YOU WILL STOP LYING TO YOUR ACTING KING AT ONCE!!”


The prince’s infuriated bellows echoed through the castle, ricocheting off of every available stone-laden surface to taunt me as many times as possible. I flinched, miserable, and tried again. “I would never lie to you, my liege.”


—ACHOO!—

Great.