The first of two 10 minute challenges from our last meetup:
Write a first person passage from a narrator who has decided to betray a close friend.
Well, that’s rather grim. Let’s see what we came up with
Lucas Orion Cain
I’m gonna eat that whole pie. That one his mom baked. It’s his favorite. A pumpkin pie that came in the mail. How long has it been since he’s seen her? One year? Two? I can’t believe how well it survived in the mail. As I opened the brown box, cutting the strapping tape with a cake fork, I knew I was in too deep. I can see that she used dry ice to keep it fresh as my senses filled with nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, and many fall days from his youth. I wish my mom was so thoughtful. Instead of care packages filled with memories, my days are filled with hash smoke and regret. Guilt is such a silly emotion. God, I’m hungry. Maybe I should just eat a little and hope he understands. Now it looks like I’m nosy and sneaky. I’ve already committed a federal crime by opening his mail. I agreed to walk his dog today and now this. I brought in his mail. He doesn’t know it’s here. I’ll eat fast. I’ll hide the evidence. He’ll never know. “In for a penny; in for a pound,” I think as I marathon through every last morsel.
I can’t even remember the last time Joseph and I really talked, to begin with. For years we’ve relied on the familiar syncopations of a time-honored give and take more than any deep conversation in the moment. We may see each other every few days, but I wonder how much distance truly separates the two of us, the chasms of choices made and lives devolved in parallel, but divergent. What is it to have known someone all of your life, as we have known each other, while trying to understand the fraying and shifting strands that connect you?
This ambiguity gives me comfort, my hand warmed radiant through the cotton at the small of her back. She turns away from the stage, face awash in tavern neon, and smiles a pardon. When she leans in close, I’m sure I don’t have a friend in the world.
I’m in pain. We’ll start there. Let’s not get too far into the blame game without having that on the table. A pained person deserves an audience, whether guilty of future crimes or not. He’s not clean. He’s not unguilty. I’ve got reasons. I love him but loyalty only serves a person so long. We are all selfish, whether seemingly selfless and devoted or not. In the end, we will choose ourselves. And so am I. So will I always. There’s no world where things are perfect. There’s no egalitarian place. That’s a dream, a distraction for those who will eventually find the knife. I will be sure to always be on the hilt side of things. I love him, I must say this again. I must not be misunderstood here. Many lives will go on. I will miss him but I will not dearly miss the leadership. I will not miss the direction of the nation. A new era begins tomorrow. Tonight I will be a demon victor for Rome. Tonight I will send Julius to his tomb, if only to buoy the republic, if only to save us all if not my own soul. The unknowing martyr. Tomorrow’s dead savior.