Sunday, 12 March 2017


I've written before about Adam Cowie, also
known as 'Billy Liar', so time once again for yet an-
other chapter in the seemingly unending saga of the life
of a fantasist.  Adam Cowie isn't his real name, but it's
close enough for those who knew him to know who
I'm referring to should they ever read this.

I'd not long turned 16 when the tale I'm about
to relate occurred.  Adam, being around 3 and a half
months younger than me, was about due to turn 16, or
had maybe just celebrated his 16th birthday relatively
recently.  Anyway, I chapped his door one evening to
be met by a woman by the name of Mrs. Pert, who
announced that Mrs. Cowie had just died.

Adam appeared behind her at the door and I ex-
pressed my condolences.  I decided to return home
and leave him to his grief, but he said he'd accompany
me part of the way as he wanted to call in on another of
his pals to see him about something.  As we walked, he
asked me not to tell my parents that his mother had
died as he "didn't want anyone to know", which
puzzled me, but I agreed to his odd request.

(Turns out, as I later learned, that he'd only visited
his pal to inform him of Mrs. Cowie's death and soak
up some sympathy.  So much for not wanting anyone
to know.  His lie made sense to me later though.)

At least a week had passed, maybe a fortnight,
when a mutual friend asked me if I'd heard that Mrs.
Cowie had recently passed away.  I was surprised, and
said "But how did you know?  Adam wanted to keep it
quiet."  "Everybody knows" he replied.  Well, if every-
body knew, I saw no reason not to tell my parents
and duly did so that very same evening.

In the fullness of time, Adam visited my house
one day and was made a fuss of by my mother in the
way that only women can.  (I'd told him that my folks
knew as there had seemed no point in keeping them in
the dark, seeing as how it was common knowledge.)  As
I studied Adam, it seemed to me that he was enjoying
being the centre of attention and lapping it up, like
an actor relishing playing a starring role.

It was only then I realised why he'd asked me
not to tell my parents of his mother's death - he'd
wanted to retain the 'element of surprise' and thereby
increase the drama of the situation.  It has far more of
an effect on those offering condolences if they haven't
been forewarned of your bereavement.  You may think
that fanciful, but he admitted to it when I broached the
subject a couple or so years later.  I'm not sure how I
feel about that - is it a natural reaction of a teenager
to exploit such a sad occasion in order to revel
in the attention and sympathy it brings?

(Not much of a story there, admittedly, but I
find such examples of human nature fascinating,
and thought that the rest of you might too.)

His father outlived his mother by only around
two years, but a similar thing happened then, also.
I'll tell you all about it in the very next instalment
of Teenage Tales - right here on Crivens!


John Pitt said...

So not only was he a compulsive liar, he was also an attention-seeking sympathy-sponge and goodness knows what else? He beats the "Billy Liar" that I used to know, who was just a bit of a joke, really.
I shall eagerly await the next instalment!
Confession time, because I have been so busy ( lame excuse! ), I have completely forgotten to tick any of your boxes! I shall resume ticking immediately!

Kid said...

Yup, that was him, JP. And going by his Facebook page, he hasn't changed one jot.

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