Limbic Limbo by Ian Willey

Someone I knew obliquely through work got married and I was invited by default to the reception. I was standing off to the side by myself waiting for the right time to leave when a man who looked like the head waiter came up to me and asked if I’d seen the second appetizer selection and I said no so he ushered me to a door attached to what looked like a cloakroom and said back this way please. I stiffened and said no, under no circumstances am I going through that door. I think you’re planning to knock me out and tie me up, or worse. The man held up his hands and said oh no, why would we do that but his eyes went up as he said it telling me he was lying and I said so, you’re lying sir, your eyes just went up I can tell. Some other men came over as the head waiter tried to explain that their intentions were not ill but his body language screamed I am lying I am lying so I said no, no, no, I am not going in there. There is no way you can make me, and I can tell that these guests are unaware of your activities because you’re trying to be quiet. Being quiet is good manners, sir, said the head waiter. Now you are not lying, I said. That was a normal response. How is it you are so adept at reading body language? he asked. Because I was once in the FBI, I said. I think you’re lying, he said. You’re right, I said. But I read a book written by a guy who was in the FBI and he explained how our non-verbal reactions are expressed by our limbic brain, our reptile brain, while our words are controlled by the pre-frontal cortex, the lying human part. This is why people’s words and body language do not match up when they tell a lie. Well, said the head waiter, and we all stood there awkwardly. At least you could think of a better lie, I said. Secondary appetizer selection? Come on. The man didn’t respond. I could tell the party was going to get even more awkward the rest of the night. Why I come to these things I have no idea.

Ian Willey is a communications specialist residing in the inland sea area of Japan. He has published hundreds of short-form poems and his somewhat longer work has appeared in Dime Show Review, One Sentence Poems, and Mobius.

Photo by Lianhao Qu

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