As the sun sets behind me, I walk up the steps of my uncle and aunt's lake home. They've asked me to baby-sit my eight-year-old cousin, Tommy, while they shop for his Christmas presents. Tommy's a smart kid, and reads people exceptionally well. As his parents pull out of the driveway, he says, "They're not really going to a party, are they?"
"What are you talking about?" I ask.
"Mommy told me they're going to a party. But they dress up when they go to parties, and they're not dressed up. So what are they really doing?" he asks.
"Eat some pizza," I laugh. "You're wise beyond your years, you know that," I say and take a bit of my own pizza. He stares at me blankly.
Around 8:30 Tommy is playing video games in the living room, and I am making popcorn. Through the calm darkness comes the sound of shattering glass. I run to the living room to see if Tommy is alright.
Since he's still playing his game, I ask, "What happened?" His glass of juice lays in a million pieces on the floor.
Tommy turns and looks me in the eyes, and with the straightest face an eight-year-old can make, he says, "I didn't do it."
"I didn't ask if you did, I just ask what happened," I correct him. "I don't care if you did it anyway ..."
"I didn't!" he yells.
"Well, if you didn't, who did?" I ask.
Tommy squirms a little. "I, uh, I don't know."
"Fuzzy Wuzzy," I say quietly, thinking aloud.
"Fuzzy Wuzzy?" Tommy asks, perplexed.
"Yeah, Fuzzy Wuzzy. Until you can tell me who did it, I'm going to call you Fuzzy Wuzzy."
"What! Why?" Tommy complains.
"Because you don't like it," I answer, with a diabolical smirk. "Lying isn't good, especially over little things." My plan is to annoy him into a confession.
"But I didn't break it," he pleads.
"Okay, Fuzzy, whatever you say," I begin to pick up the glass.
"Stop calling me Fuz ...
"Okay, Fuzz," I cut him off. "Fuzz, I kind of like that," I laugh. He doesn't find it funny. "Why don't you go grab that popcorn while I finish cleaning up. Then we can watch your movie."
Excited about watching the movie, Tommy runs to the kitchen and grabs the popcorn.
"Fuzzy! Oh, Fuzzy. Fuzzy Wuzzy, where are you, Fuzzy? C'mon, Fuzz, where are ya?"
"Stop calling me that!" Tommy shrieks, running back into the room. "Alright, I did it. I dropped the glass; now stop calling me Fuzzy!" His eyes are starting to fill with tears.
"Oh, come here, buddy," I say and pull him onto the couch. "That's all you had to say. Do you see it's not a good thing to lie?"
"Yeah," he mutters.
"Are you going to lie anymore?" I persist.
"No," he says, louder.
"Good, now let's watch this movie," I continue.
Seemingly forgetting the whole incident, a smile adorns his face and he grabs the popcorn, devouring it. An hour later, his parents return.
"How did it go?" my aunt asks.
"It went well, and I think he learned a good lesson," I reply.
"Really, what's that?" she asks.
"Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn't very funny," I joke. She stares at me in utter confusion. "I wouldn't lie in front of your son anymore, either. It's setting a bad example."
As I head out the door to the car, I pass my uncle coming in with a big bag filled with what has to be presents. When I step outside, I hear him greet Tommy,"Hey, little man."
"Where have you been? What's in the bag?" Tommy interrogates.
"These, these are, um, party gifts."
As the door closes, Tommy says, "Okay ... sure, Fuzzy Wuzzy." .
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.