“Yeah, it’s delicious.”
Andrew Herbert wasn’t necessarily a man known for his honesty, but this may have been the biggest lie he’d ever told. As he sat looking at the decrepit and atrocious excuse for a meal in front of him, he repeated once more, “It’s absolutely delicious.” He then added an “I love it,” in for good measure. Andrew of course meant no harm by this little white lie, but it’s effect would be detrimental.
The lies Andrew continued to spout off for the next several minutes were directed at his dear friend, Michael Drammer. Michael was a tall, slender man who was in the process of growing a handlebar mustache. A mustache that Andrew had told him was coming in rather stylishly, while in reality, its current appearance was just rather off-putting. The reason Andrew was lying to Michael about the sickening lump of undercooked meat daring to present itself as a steak, was because Michael had cooked it, and rather than hurt his friend’s ego, Andrew decided it was just best to tell a little fib. A white lie in the name of friendship. It certainly seemed like the right thing to do. After all, Michael seemed so proud of himself, and he was truly such a nice guy.
“I’m glad you liked it man, I wasn’t sure. I’ve never really been much one for cooking.”
“Well, you should keep it up.”
With that, it was settled, Michael would indeed keep it up. He was clearly a natural, if what Andrew said was to be believed. Perhaps, he was even the next Gordon Ramsey, though with this thought Michael realized he couldn’t remember whether Gordon Ramsey was actually a great cook, or just someone who yelled at people for being awful ones. Doesn’t matter, he decided. The truth remained the same, Michael Drammer was an excellent cook, and soon the whole neighborhood would know.
Andrew went to bed that night feeling great, he had spent some quality time with a friend, and even helped give him a confidence boost along the way. Sure, he had to scarf down some raw cow carcass, but no evening is perfect. He woke up however, feeling awful. The food must have caught up with him. He got out of bed and practically sprinted towards the bathroom. After creating something somehow even worse than what he had ate the night before, Andrew went back into his bedroom and checked his phone. He suddenly felt much sicker than any lousy steak could make you.
Andrew almost dropped his phone when he read the text, he was so shocked. It couldn’t be true, it mustn’t be. He read it again to make sure. Hey everyone, throwing a little neighborhood get together at my place tomorrow night, starts at 7. Hopefully it won’t be too little, LOL. I’ll be cooking up some steaks and fish, just call me chef Drammer. Make sure to RSVP. This was bad, this was real bad. A wave of thoughts surged through Andrew’s head, the most prevalent of these he muttered to himself, “Shit.” Why didn’t he just tell Michael his cooking was horrendous, he would’ve gotten over it. It’s not too late, Andrew thought to himself, I’ll just walk right over there and tell Michael his cooking sucks. Hell, I’ll make him come smell my bathroom if I have to. Andrew knew he wouldn’t do any of this, and lying to himself would do no good, look how that turned out with Michael.
No, Andrew would not tell Michael he hated his cooking, and he would certainly not tell him to call his party off. He would do the only logical thing and lie once more. Just a small one, one that both prevented Michael from having his feelings hurt and Andrew from ending up in the ICU. Andrew sent Michael a lengthy text explaining that he would not be able to make it to his party, as tomorrow was his mother’s birthday so he would be visiting her then. Problem solved.
The day went by, and as it did, Andrew’s phone went off again and again as more and more people volunteered to be victims of Michael’s cooking. By night, practically the entire block and then some were coming. Michael’s cookout was shaping up to be the party of the year and he couldn’t wait. Andrew on the other hand, couldn’t sleep. His guilt kept him up until the wee hours of the night. Once he did finally fall asleep, he found himself atop a gigantic pile of dead bodies. Alongside him on this mountain of decay, his dear friend Michael. Andrew awoke in a cold sweat and prayed it was not a premonition.
Morning turned to noon, noon turned to evening, and before Andrew had realized it, it was almost 7 o’ clock. The party would begin soon, and Andrew sick from both Michael’s food and the idea that he would be serving over a dozen families tonight, shut off his phone, turned off the lights, and decided to call it a night a little early. In the morning, he thought to himself, it will all be over, and my conscience will be wiped clean.
Andrew awoke the next morning, a little later than usual and surprisingly refreshed. While he assumed he would not be able to sleep, what had actually happened was quite the opposite. Andrew had slept a good deal better than usual; his stress having surely been relieved by going to bed after the party started. It was all over now, a new day had begun, and before jumping out of bed, Andrew decided to indulge in a little TV.
His television light flickered on, and as it did, the face of Alexandra Ramirez, a local news reporter, appeared on the screen. She was describing some sort of event that had happened in Andrew’s neighborhood last night, she was calling it horrific and shocking, yet she was too vague to describe what it was exactly that was so horrific and shocking. Below her the headline read, ‘A TRAGIC DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD.’ Andrew was freaking out. What could’ve possibly happened that was so awful? He needed answers, so he began to turn his phone back on. As his phone was starting, he heard a knock at the front door. Throwing a shirt on, Andrew walked to the front of his house. As he approached the door, he looked down to see he had 18 messages and 34 missed calls. He would deal with that later, right now he had to see who kept knocking. He opened the door to see two men in uniforms.
“Are you Andrew Herbert?” the one closest to him asked.
“…Uhmm yes, I am.”
“We’re going to need you to come with us son.”
“May I ask why?”
“Son, 62 people in this neighborhood we’re poisoned last night, 41people are dead, 9 of them being children. We believe you have something to do with it.”
The next few weeks would be a blur for Andrew Herbert. His life became a routine of questioning and mental stability checks. Somewhere in between all of this he learned he’d be going to trial as an accomplice to a mass murder. As his court date approached, he could barely make sense of what his life had become. He knew one thing for sure though, no matter how dark things got, no matter what the opposition had dug up on him, he’d do one thing. Andrew Herbert would tell the truth.