What sort of person would lie about their parents being involved in a fatal car accident?
I can tell you exactly what sort of a person - a 20-year-old Christchurch man called Tyler Stokes.
Stokes had signed on with a Talley's fishing boat last year and on December 18, the Amaltal Columbia set sail from Port Nelson on a five-week fishing trip.
I have absolutely no doubt it would have been a tough five weeks. Working the trawlers, I am reliably informed, is hard, physical work with long hours and uncomfortable living conditions.
But surely you would know that when you signed on.
Four days into the trip, Stokes had had enough. He told the skipper that his parents had been involved in a serious car crash, that his father had been killed in the accident and his mother was critically injured. He needed to get back to see his mum urgently.
To the captain's credit, once he'd rung Stokes' girlfriend and confirmed Stokes needed to get home, he swung the boat around and headed straight back to port.
Stokes was placed on compassionate leave immediately and given $1000 to help with the cost of getting to his mother's bedside.
Jolly decent of Talleys, and they continued to be supportive employers by following up with Stokes and his girlfriend, to check on his welfare and that of his family.
Of course, Stokes and his girlfriend Monique Carlaw are not the brightest bulbs in the chandelier, here.
It didn't take long for their deception to be uncovered - and hell hath no fury like Talley's trying to make like good employers and being taken for a ride.
Stokes and Carlaw were charged with deception, causing a loss of more than $173,000 to Talleys - the amount it cost to return Stokes to port.
The gruesome twosome pleaded guilty in court this week to the charges, the first decent thing either of them has done in this matter, and are now awaiting sentencing.
There is no word on the state of health of Mr and Mrs Stokes. I hope they are both in rude good health - although I hope they're also doing some soul-searching as to how they turned out such a nasty little liar as young Tyler.
After news of Stokes and Carlaw's court appearance was broadcast, my radio co-host and I were wondering aloud how anyone would have the temerity and stupidity to invent such a terrible story, simply to slither out of a contract?
The stories that came flooding in were incredible. Stokes and Carlaw are not alone when it comes to telling dirty little lies.
The gruesome twosome pleaded guilty in court this week to the charges, the first decent thing either of them has done in this matter.
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One woman was married to a man whose first wife had died in a terrible car accident.
He was wearing his wedding ring when she met him and only took it off when he took her as his second wife. He kept a photo of his first bride on the sideboard at his new home with his second wife's blessing - until the day she discovered it was all a lie.
He'd made it up. There was never any first wife. He'd never been married before. Nobody had died in a car accident. He was simply looking for attention. She divorced him and to this day, he still feels a bit put out about it, she says. He can't understand why she was so upset.
Another man told us his young bricklaying apprentice said he couldn't work for him any more as his grandmother was dying and the family was holding a vigil at the hospital.
The apprentice spun a long story about how much his grandmother meant to him so the bricklayer released him from his contract. He ran into the lad's father a couple of weeks later and asked after the grandmother.
"Fine" said his mate, looking a bit surprised. "More to the point, how's your business?"
The boy had explained his life of leisure by telling his dad all the concrete foundations that had been poured at the houses they were working on had been deemed substandard, that it would all have to be pulled up and it would be months before any bricklaying could be done. Until then, he was on paid leave.
One lie to dad; another to his boss (the grandmother was alive and kicking).
I have no idea what motivates people to tell such elaborate lies. I'm sure there's a psychological reason at the root of it all, but that doesn't really concern me.
Fleetwood Mac might want you to tell them sweet little lies, but I'd rather hear the unvarnished truth. Without trust and faith in one another's innate goodness, how on earth do we function as a society?
I hope the judge throws the book at Stokes and Carlaw and it doesn't take the karma bus too long to stop at their door.