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Drama Suspense Friendship

“Are we really gonna do this?”

Donna’s camera was finally on, and everyone could see that she was still finishing up her lunch in her kitchen. David had decided that he missed his friends too much not to continue with his old habits; their old habits (he did not forget that). Both Sally and Mark were ready – appropriate since they were married – but in separate cities. David did not bother to try and get in touch with Lisa. That was over, right? Could he…?

“Hello, Earth to David. Are we doing this?”

“Yes, we are. Everyone up and at ’em?”

“Yeah, coach, I think we are.” Sally dazzled them all with her smile (was she still at work?).

“Just wanted to see who I could get today. And you know why we are all here, right?”

Nobody needed a cue.

“Truth or Dare!”

Good, thought David as he recovered his hearing, everyone’s microphone was on.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve seen each other, and with C-19 everywhere, we cannot have the usual get-togethers and hang-outs like before, so we have to use tech today. Everyone ready?”

Donna smiled.

Sally smiled.

Mark tried to smile.

“You aren’t going to wait a bit?”

“Mark!”

Sally was trying to save her husband from an embarrassing moment, but it was already in the air. Donna looked confused.

“What’s going on?”

“Donna, you know…”

“No, Sally, I do not know. I have not developed psychic abilities in the middle of all this. What happened?”

“Okay, since it is my romantic life that we have turned into an elephant in the chatroom, I have to tell you: Lisa is a done deal.”

“A done deal?” Donna drank down some of her coffee and stared hard at her screen. “Over?”

“Over.”

“And that is just fine. Now, let’s move on…” Sally had some tact, thought David. How did she end up with his idiot friend?

“Truth or Dare?”

Mark shouted at his screen, and Sally and Donna looked him up and down.

“We haven’t started…”

“David, y’know and I know that eventually I am going to ask about it, so I may as well get it out of the way now. And I think Donna wants to know, right?”

Donna did nod her head, but it was more of a response she could not control.

“Mark, you just…”

“Sally, please. This is the game. You can pick a dare if you like, or just tell us the truth. So, one more time: truth or dare?”

David let his body relax in his ergonomic chair. Mark was one of his oldest friends, the one who became a roommate he could stand and act as wingman when they both went after girls at campus bars; the one he introduced to Sally even though he really wanted to ask her out after hearing her give a presentation at a shared lecture. Even became the best man at their wedding and promised he would be up at the altar one day. That was Mark. That was a friend.

“Truth.”

“We are really doing this?” Sally was not going to go next.

“Sal, let’s hear it out.” Donna was into the game.

“Tell us the truth. Why is it over?”

“Because she cheated on me.”

He did not even pause enough to make it seem dramatic. The drama was in all of their faces, like he had just slapped them or punched them without a chance to avoid the blow.

It was a moment before anyone could think to speak.

“What the hell?”

“You sure, bro? You really sure?”

“David, I am so sorry.”

The only one who spoke that David did not want to hear was the second speaker.

“Yeah, I am really sure…bro.”

Timing was everything at this point.

On the screen, with a very quick flash, was a page that he took some time editing and pasting onto a Word file.

“Look familiar?”

He clicked on the link to see all of their faces and got what he expected.

“The fuck…?”

“Sally…Sal…”

“You don’t call me that again until you tell me what in the actual…”

“David! What the hell is…?”

“It’s the truth. Remember? That is why we play these games. Seems like the one I called my best friend was playing games behind my back.”

Mark’s eyes were cold.

“You mother…”

“Go ahead. Say it. And then tell me that I am making this all up. All those messages you sent to her that you thought were private ending up on my phone. No, wait, let me rephrase that. Our phone.”

Sally’s eyes were red and hot.

“She let me see it. She actually did not care enough to hide it from me when she said that she had something to talk about. I even told her about our little game nights and she said, ‘Well, if you are going to do it, may as well be when we’re all together.’ Not that she wanted to join in. She just wanted to let me see that she knew. And all with a nice little hashtag: #truth.”

Silence really can be deafening, thought David. Mark could not speak; Sally was all red and weepy. No surprises there. But there was still Donna.

“Why me?”

“Truth or dare, Donna.”

“Game’s over, man! Why am I here?”

“Because you are involved in this, too.”

Again, there was a lot to be said about timing.

The second page David put up was not a series of text messages. Instead, it was a photo. 

“Really, Donna? You wanna play the innocent? Truth or dare?”

Donna’s eyes were wide and raw.

“You have just lost your best…”

“Friends? Please. I need new ones if these are the ones I have ended up with.”

Mark kept staring. He had to know.

“You and my wife?”

Donna was silent.

“You were fingerbanging my wife?”

David almost laughed at the phrase.

Sally wiped her face and tried to talk.

“It was a one-time…”

David put up another photo. And then another.

“No, no, Sally. It was not. Look at these. Do they look like they all come from the same day? I have more if you like.”

“Fuck you.”

“No, bro. I am not the one fucking anyone. You can see clearly that you all have been fucking in circles. Or is that a triangle?”

Sally switched off her camera.

“Sally!”

Donna did not want to have to explain this without her.

“Bitch…”

“She was unhappy, Mark. For a very long time. She just needed to see or be with someone who would listen and not judge.”

Mark left the chat.

David did wonder what Donna would say next, and he was not disappointed.

“Well done, sir. We knew you had the photos but we did not know how you would use them. At least you had an out.”

Neither of them spoke for a moment.

“Truth or dare?”

Donna looked up. She was actually smiling.

“Oh, I think that we have had all the truth we need today. Maybe we need a good dare.”

“Maybe.”

“I dare you to have another truth or dare night again.”

“What?”

They had both forgotten that Sally’s microphone was still on.

“What the hell is wrong with you two?”

“I accept the dare.”

“Hello? Hey, are you listening…?”

“Good.”

David left the meeting. Donna and Sally could talk all they wanted to without him. He knew enough truth for now.

August 20, 2021 23:24

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4 comments

John Hanna
00:30 Sep 09, 2021

This is a good story. I sure hope that I never have to be a character in it! I feel sorry for almost everybody and glad I didn't hear anything about kids. Keep them coming, he?

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Kendall Defoe
16:28 Sep 09, 2021

Thanks. I also had an idea for a play based on Zoom meetings. May pursue it...

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Jude S. Walko
08:25 Aug 27, 2021

Whoa this is brutal. What a clever way to make it relevant today, but also throw in the harrowing twist of a love triangle... or is it a rectangle at this point? Got me thinking of how it would have been to be one of the characters in story, both the cheaters and the cheated on. Short and sweet, great use of the short story as a tool to get a point across.

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Kendall Defoe
00:35 Aug 29, 2021

I am also convinced that this has probably already happened somehow somewhere. And this was actually a test to see if I could write something longer based on the same idea. Stay tuned... And thanks! Rectangles are a good image, BTW...

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