verb, transitive. To prove or declare false; to make false by mutilation or addition, as a will; to misrepresent; to prevent the fulfillment of.
verb, intransitive. To tell lies.
Mike couldn't keep still as he waited for Mr. Hendricks to end a phone call and summon him. The hard, wooden chair was uncomfortable and he suspected that Mrs. Collier, Hendricks' secretary, was glaring at him when he wasn't watching her. He thought he had been doing well at this job and couldn't imagine why Hendricks wanted to talk to him. Had he been found out after all these months?
Mike knew he shouldn't have falsified so much of the information on his application. He should have known better. It was just that, after all the rejections he received after being truthful, he had become desperate. All he had needed was a chance to prove that he could go straight and do honest work, and he felt that he had done so at this job. What was he going to do after Hendricks fired him? All he could think of was that phrase he had read in some old classic he had been assigned in school before he had dropped out: "Woe is me." Woe is me, indeed, Mike thought in despair. Not admitting that he hadn't graduated from high school was almost as bad as not admitting that he had served time in prison. Both facts would turn up on even the most sketchy background check. What had he been thinking?
"Mr. Hendricks will see you now, Mike," Mrs. Collier interrupted his gloomy thoughts.
He stammered, "Thank you, ma'am," as he rose and entered the boss' office.
"Good to see you, Mike," the man said, gesturing toward an upholstered chair that faced him across his desk. As soon as Mike sat, Hendricks began. "I've been keeping an eye on you lately. You pay attention and work hard. You never try to short me on your hours. Do you know that you're the only man on the loading dock who goes straight to work after you clock in? The others rush to the time clock right after they enter the building. Once they're on company time, they stand around gossiping for fifteen minutes before they lift a finger. Like a bunch of high school girls!"
Mike stared at his boss in confusion as Hendricks paused after that statement. Wasn't he in trouble? It didn't sound as if he was. Why, then, was he here?
"I wanted to ask you something, Mike," Hendricks continued. "Would you be interested in supervising the loading dock? Dave Smith is leaving. He's found another job. You're the only worker I would feel comfortable promoting. If you don't want the job, I'll have to see if I can hire someone to replace Dave."
Mike felt stricken with surprise and remorse. If he accepted the offer without coming clean, the consequences would only be worse when he was found out later. If he refused the offer without explanation, Hendricks would be more likely to have him investigated, something he obviously hadn't done. He squirmed. If he was ever going to confess that he lied on his application, it would have to be now. He took a deep breath.
Definitions adapted from The New Oxford American Dictionary, Oxford University Press, Inc., 2005 (eBook Edition, copyright 2008), and from Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam Company, Publishers, Springfield, Massachusetts, USA, 1965, depending on which is more convenient to hand.