Earl Watson was a self-proclaimed genius that, in reality, knew nothing at all. If you asked him, he might gladly tell you of his merits, which ranged from the somewhat believable to the wholly absurd. And, according to the experienced Mr. Watson, he had just about seen and done everything one might be able to see or do on this great big planet-an African safari, a dramatic UFO hunt in Kansas (where he was abducted by tiny, green men), and climbing Mount Everest were only a few of the many daring endeavors that made up his résumé. All in all, if every larger than life story uttered by Earl Watson were true, he would indeed be a marvelous creature, unparalleled by any man or woman to date. But, considering the fact that every other word he managed to squeak out was a lie, all his deceit amounted to a much darker reputation. It was a magnificent one nonetheless and had earned him quite a bit of airtime. Yet Earl seemed somehow oblivious to the fact that EVERYONE knew he was a pathological liar.
His character was blemished seemingly beyond repair. He was branded with a reputation that would be near impossible to escape, unless he packed up and moved from the country altogether. If his stories were true, which they weren't, that venture of fleeing the US borders in the night would be a "been there, done that" situation for him. However, this personal correction would not come anytime soon because Earl still believed that he was leading people on. Perhaps it was the fact that his peers took advantage of his far-fetched fibs, making a sort of sport out of each and every one of his long-winded tales.
Then one day a fellow classmate, Hal Williams, proud captain of the football team as well as winner of the National High School Spelling Bee, baited Earl and backed him into a proverbial corner.
"Hey, have any of you guys seen that new movie..." he divulged all the details, and, as expected, Earl eagerly began to comment on how much he liked the film. He'd seen it three times. A sadistic smirk played across William's face at that point and laughter began to circulate through the crowd. Earl continued to talk, blissfully ignorant as usual. It was Davis Thompson, usually known to be the quiet and brooding sort, that rudely interrupted him-
"That movie isn't even out in theatres yet you dope!" He laughed and began to chant, an anthem that soon grew infectious and spread throughout the room, "Liar, liar, pants on fire! Liar, liar, pants on fire!" Earl was so devastated by the sudden revelation that he had been caught in the act of lying that he took off running to the bathroom. There, in a stall by himself, he cried. He cried through first period, continued crying all the way into fifth, and by the end of the day the janitors had to drag him outside so that they could clean the stalls.
Earl Watson had been exposed to the world-not Daredevil Earl, or Scuba Master Earl, or Straight A Student Earl, but the real Earl Hayden Watson. And that person scared him to death.
At home, an overly quiet Earl sat alone in his room. He no longer wanted to conjure up some incredible story to tell the next morning. In fact, he lay there with a warm cloth upon his head, hoping to fake a fever that might keep him bedridden the following day. A few consecutive nights of hot washcloths might be in order, he thought. Sadly, Earl found out that trick only worked on TV, and his mother scolded him for trying to be deceptive. She didn't know his infamous history with lies, and if she did, Earl probably wouldn't be able to sit down for weeks after she was through with him. When his mother had left, Earl sobbed a little more.
Bright and early the next morning, he was up and ready for school. However, he was totally not ready to face the leering faces of his schoolmates. He supposed he would have to tell him that he never went on an African safari, nor had he even stepped out of the country. He would be obligated to inform them somehow that he had never even seen a UFO, yet alone been captured by visitors from far away.
It was at some point during that day that Earl learned his lies had been discovered a long time ago. He tried to retreat to the bathroom again, but was intercepted mid-route by the very tall and very intimidating math teacher, former sergeant Joseph McGrady. Mr. McGrady felt they needed to have a heart-to-heart. Earl Watson felt that he needed to throw up. McGrady handed him a small, tin wastebasket and asked him to take a seat.
"Son," That firm voice had always scared Earl, now more than ever, and he brought the can closer, feeling sure it would soon be needed, "You're the worst liar I've ever met, and I've met a whole lot of them. Don't ever take up acting. I imagine you'd be just about as terrible at that."
Yes, there it was. Earl's lunch was returning from the grave,
"But you know, Earl, you're not just a liar..." He paused for dramatic effect, thriving off the boy's fear, "You're a really good, kind-hearted kid that just wants some attention. I was just like you, except I had been abducted multiple times and could communicate with the dead."
Earl was floored. Former sergeant McGrady was on HIS side!
"We live in a demanding time. Everyone wants us to be something we're not," McGrady's very voice suddenly invoked Earl with a new-found confidence, "But you have to turn to the world and say, 'Screw off!' That's what you have to do. You only have to be true to one person... and that's yourself!"
So it was that Earl Watson proclaimed himself not a genius, but an average boy. His life was fairly uneventful, and surely not the sort that exciting novels are based on. He never had many stories to tell anymore either. But, contrary to popular belief, he gained back the trust of many. Earl had arrived again-a glorious second coming.
Sometime after the new Earl resurrected himself from the ashes of the old, he confronted Hal Williams, conductor of that terrible prank that had brought Earl face to face with reality.
"Hal," He addressed him with unwavering conviction, "I'd like to thank you for what you did. It may have been meant to hurt me, but I can't think of anything better that's ever happened to me. So, thanks."
Williams was dumbfounded, stricken speechless by Earl's offering of a "thank you." He and his loyal cronies still disliked Earl, lies or no lies, and now an entirely different outlook of the boy was being forced upon him.
"Go thank someone who cares." His reply was weak and childish, but there was no taking his words back. Earl turned and walked away, forever leaving Hal behind, marked with the reputation of being a heartless bully. The tides had turned. Earl received no satisfaction in this, for he knew he had once been in those very shoes.
A request was soon put into former sergeant McGrady by Earl to have one of his famous heart-to-hearts with a certain spelling bee champion.

The moral of the story? If you have a problem, don't run away to Mexico to fix it-face it.