The Depressing Truth

By Joseph Logsdon

Randy Harrison was a very guilty man. He wanted to remain pure and innocent, but sadly, he didn't have the strength to resist corruption. Having no time to earn money honorably, Randy stole from his company. At first, Randy thought he was going to get away with it, but after several weeks, Randy realized that his luck couldn't last forever. One afternoon, his employer questioned him about the missing money.

"Randy, we need to talk," Joseph stated as he entered the office.

"Hi, Joseph, how have you been?"

"This isn't a social visit," Joseph replied.

"I know, I was just being polite," Randy stated.

"Well, as you know, our company has misplaced some money. Normally, in situations like this, I try to be as forgiving as possible, but you aren't making it easy, are you?"

"What are you talking about?"

"You took the money, didn't you?"

"What gave you that idea?"

"Don't play dumb with me," Joseph stated.

"Joseph, I've never seen you act like this."

"If you don't confess, I'll surprise you even more," Joseph stated.

"Why do you suspect me, anyway?"

"Because you're a liar, because you're a cheat, because you're greedy and dishonest. Now, do I paint a clear enough picture for you, or am I exaggerating?"

"I never knew you felt that way," Randy stated.

"Well, now that you know, are you going to confess?"

"There's nothing to confess, I'm afraid," Randy laughed.

"Look, if you don't confess, I'll call the police," Joseph threatened.

"Joseph, we're friends, aren't we?"

"Friends don't steal from each other," Joseph hissed.

Randy was, in that moment, out of options. Realizing that his life as a banker was over, Randy got out of his chair and walked towards the door. Despite his manliness, Randy couldn't stop himself from crying.

"You're right, I stole the money," Randy stated.

"Why? Why did you do it?"

"It seemed like a quick way to get rich, I guess," Randy answered.

"Surely, you weren't so ignorant?"

"I didn't do it for me, I did it for her," Randy stated.

"What are you talking about?"

"You see, a few months ago, I learned that my wife was dying of cancer. Since we didn't have enough to pay for her treatment, I decided to steal from the company. You have to understand, I never planned to keep the money. As soon as she got better, I was going to pay it back. I know, it sounds like I'm lying, but I promise you, I'm not."

"You should've told me," Joseph stated.

"I didn't think you would understand," Randy sighed.

"Well, just because I'm a wealthy man, doesn't mean that I can't feel sorry for other people. Now, even if your story is true, I still have to call the police," Joseph stated.

"Why?"

"You stole from me, that's why," Joseph answered.

"I swear to you, I'll pay it back," Randy pleaded.

"Sorry, I can't trust you," Joseph stated.

"If you turn me in, I'll kill myself," Randy exclaimed.

"Don't be so dramatic," Joseph laughed.

"I'll do it," Randy whimpered.

"Go ahead, it won't bother me," Joseph laughed.

Randy cried as he left the room. That night, around midnight, Joseph learned that his friend had made good on his threat to commit suicide. The following morning, Joseph visited his friend's grieving wife. The house was an empty, broken shell as Joseph headed for the living room. Once there, he found the grieving widow. Determined to make things right, Joseph placed his hand on her delicate shoulder.

"Do you need anything?"

"I'll be fine, thank you," she answered.

"Randy was my best friend," Joseph stated.

"Why did you treat him like that, then?"

"You mean, you know about the stolen money?"

"Last night, before he shot himself, he told me everything," she stated.

"I know it might be hard for you to understand, but trust me, in a few months, you'll know that I was right."

"No matter what you say, Randy will always be pure in my eyes," she stated.

"Tell me, Mrs. Harrison, are you dying of cancer?"

"You know, in a way, I'm almost glad," she stated.

"Glad? Why would you be glad?"

"Just think, soon I will be reunited with him," she stated.

"You're making me feel like an awful person," Joseph stated.

"Look, I know my husband wasn't perfect, but what you did was unforgivable. Hopefully, someday, you will realize that Randy was twice the man you were. To be perfectly honest, you deserve to be dead, not my husband," she hissed.

"You know, now that I think about it, you might be right," Joseph stated.

That night, Joseph couldn't get Randy out of his head. No matter what he did, no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't find peace. The guilt, though subtle, was slowly killing him. After many hours of mental and emotional pain, Joseph realized that he was responsible for his friend's suicide. Unable to live with that fact, Joseph Newborn placed a rope around his neck. The following morning, his body was discovered.

The funeral was painful and full of sadness. Mrs. Harrison wanted to hate Joseph, but instead, she felt sorry for him. Returning home, the grieving woman entered her bedroom. Once inside, however, she saw something that she didn't expect to see. At first, she couldn't believe it, but eventually, she had to accept the fact that Randy Harrison was, indeed, alive and well.

"Hello," Randy stated.

"How is this possible?"

"I'm a murderer," Randy stated.

"What are you talking about?"

"I killed my own brother," Randy stated.

"Are you saying, that all this time, your brother was the man in the casket?"

"If I had told you, my plan would've been in jeopardy," Randy stated.

"What was your plan, exactly?"

"I knew that I was going to be arrested, so I decided to fake my own death. That way, I could escape the law."

"Why have you returned?"

"Because I can't live without you," Randy stated.

"Joseph's dead," she stated.

"Well, unlike me, he actually had the courage to go through with it," Randy laughed.

"So, what are we going to do?"

"Honey, have you ever been to Hawaii?"

The End