The Northville Review
an online literary journal
Inside Joke, Explained: Water World

Jason Joyce

Dear Mr. Bath,

I am writing to apologize on behalf of my friends and me for ruining your son’s recent trip to Water World. In honesty, we were intentionally trying to be overheard by strangers, but did not anticipate that your child would be directly affected by our extravagant lie.

Believe me, this was not the first time we have done something like this, though, so we were by no means targeting your son. We’ve been telling Jeff, as he continues to recover from the assault, that it was all a misunderstanding, a case of wrong place, wrong time.

We started with more personal lies like, “my friend John was mauled by a bear, but his family wants an open casket, so they asked me to help figure out how we can lay out some of his pieces to somewhat resemble a person”. We realized if we stood close enough to people in malls and spoke loud enough, most would show noticeable reactions to our seemingly true and casual conversations about inane situations.

And then we realized that if we incorporated celebrities into our lies, people would show no remorse for eavesdropping. They’d turn around and start asking questions as if they’d been in the conversation the whole time. So we’d say things like, “Can you believe they found Larry Bird [the retired Boston Celtics basketball player] dead in the woods behind his house yesterday? They said he was covered in leaves, except for his Reebok Pump shoes, and the police suspect foul play.”

And we found this all quite entertaining, so it became a game we’d play in public.

Now that I’ve given you some background, you can see that this was not, as you said to us at the water park, “a grossly negligent attack on a teenage boy’s feelings”.

Furthermore, it is quite preposterous to assume that we knew that your brother is in fact Will Smith, and it was a completely lucky guess that he happens to be dually filming Men In Black 4 and 5 this summer. So you can understand our own shock when you pulled my friend from the Wild Wave Pool and started demanding answers.

I can’t imagine the shock your son must have felt when he overheard us talking about how his (Uncle) Will had fallen to his death while filming a scene atop the Statue of Liberty. For this, we are truly sorry. But teenage boys these days, they have to be resilient.


Jason Joyce

About the author

Jason Joyce graduated in 2009 from the University of Wyoming and is now living in Los Angeles, working in event planning at Loyola Marymount University. He plays keyboards in the band The Rubbish Zoo, co-owns the clothing company Weekend Society and is working on his first full-length collection of words. You can find out more about his writing and published works on his blog at