The Truth Hurts

19 June 2008

What if a drunk sits next to you in a bar, thinks you are his or her close friend and starts confessing “the truth?” This week's exercise is to write about what “the truth” is in at least 200 words. Here's what I did:

The End of the Conversation
(541 words)

It was raining hard when I entered the all-night diner. The place was deserted, save for an old man quietly sitting on the counter. I sat down on the eastern corner and dropped my wet jacket on the far edge of the table. I looked out the window — on Escario Street, headlights from passing cars filtered through the diner’s decades-old Venetian blinds, their glare partially blinding me.

The old man took the seat across me and I did not notice him there until he cleared his throat and spoke.

“Have you no shame, Ben?”

“Excuse me, old man?”

“Don’t hand me that bullshit! You may think you and your goddamn uncle own this town but I know the score. I may be regular folk but I ain’t stupid. I know what’s going on. I know what your kind have been up to lately. I know the truth about you and it don’t scare me, do you hear? I know the truth so don’t give me that bullshit, kid!”

“Sorry, sir. But I don’t know what you’re talking about — ”

“Oh, yes you do. We’ve been partners in the force for how long — seven years, eight? We’ve been through so much and all this time I thought I knew you. God, how wrong I was. I’ve always thought you were clean, decent in spite of your uncle’s reputation. I’ve always thought you’d be the first in your family to lead a respectable life. Well, tell me now, kid. When you and your uncle dragged that woman out of her house, after killing her husband and her two children. Tell me — did you think you could get away with it? Did you? Sorry to bust your ass but I saw what you did. I was there and saw everything. And now you’re going down, mister policeman. Because I know the truth now. And nothing, I mean nothing will stop me from telling the whole world about the crimes committed by you and your mayor of an uncle.”

He leaned towards me, took my collar and drew my face closer to his. I could smell his stinking breath as he continued to speak.

“Do you understand what I’m saying, Ben? And when I’m done, you and your uncle will rot in jail. I personally guarantee that, pal.”

I slumped on the chair as his hand let go. He continued to stare daggers at me as he lit a cigarette.

I reached out for my jacket, my right hand digging beneath the pockets. In a few seconds, I found what I was looking for. In one quick motion, I held up the semi-automatic handgun to his forehead and fired once. The discharge emitted a soft thud, its gunfire muffled beautifully by the silencer. The old man collapsed on his seat and then slid sideways.

I stood up, took out my mobile phone and dialed. A woman’s voice greeted me on the other line. I spoke clearly and slowly.

“Liz, I have a message for Ben and his uncle. Tell them that I found the old cop and he has agreed to keep his mouth shut about the incident. Okay, thanks. Bye.”

I picked up the spent cartridge on the floor and walked out the door.


V. said...

I tried doing something like this before with my other blog marlowessketchpad but it never took off. I hated updating it after a while. I admire that you are able to keep this stuff going. Thanks for the inspiration.

monster paperbag said...

Anytime, v :). Thanks for dropping by.

ray said...

Hi ,

I was reading ur blog posts and found some of them to be wow.. u write well.. Why don't you popularize it more.. ur posts on ur blog ‘Paperbag Origami’ and others took my particular attention as some of them are interesting topics of mine too;

BTW I help out some ex-IIMA guys who with another batch mate run where you can post links to your most loved blog-posts. Rambhai was the chaiwala at IIMA and it is a site where users can themselves share links to blog posts etc and other can find and vote on them. The best make it to the homepage!

This way you can reach out to rambhai readers some of whom could become your ardent fans.. who knows.. :)


monster paperbag said...

I'm just playing around with writing exercises :). But thanks, Ray.

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