The Price

He sat on the rooftop looking at the amber colored city street. The rain came down nosily but still granted him enough visibility to watch a scene happening below. Standing near a street light was a couple. The woman suddenly shoved the man next to her who previously had his arm around her. Her stifled scream of anger was followed by the snap of skin hitting wet skin as she slapped him. She turned away from him and walked a few steps before turning back to face him and screamed the word ‘LIAR’ at the top of her lungs. The Observer could not hear the obviously fierce words that she let loose on her companion. She got close to her companion and gave him a hard shove and he fell to the ground with little dignity. She turned and flagged down a lone taxi. The street was largely empty save the Liar that sat there in the rain.

The Observer watched the cab drive off and then watched the man on the ground. Quietly making his way down the fire escape, he could finally see Liar’s face clearly. There was a gloss to his eyes that only alcohol could provide. The Observer merely nodded his head to himself and silently made his way behind the Liar. The Liar pulled himself up to his feet. The Observer stopped just of the man’s left side. The Observer felt the Liar deserved to be told the Secret. Looking around the quiet street, he could feel its emptiness. With the exception of the endless tapping of the falling rain – there were no cars or pedestrians. He gripped the Liar’s shoulders and leaned in close. Speaking with a calming tone, “In vino veritas means in wine there is truth. When you are honest – it can hurt someone else as much as it hurts you. However, it is clean and there are no misconceptions. At least they can say that you were honest about it – which is more than others have done in the past.

The Liar caught his breath, but the Observer continued, “When you lie – you only hurt yourself initially. You suck it in and smile because someone, sometimes you – gets what they want. Then when the truth comes to light – because it will – the pain hits the other person tenfold. It is not clean. It is messy. It is black and sometimes bloody. When it is all said and done, there is a smell of finality that bears the same scent as tainted, rotted meat.”

The Liar sobbed softly, but the Observer held his grip and continued, “Once you’ve learned to stop lying, being that honest hurts so much more to the point where you consider lying again. With lying, you can extend the time with another lie and another. In reality, the potential for that pain will grow exponentially. You should remember that for the next around.”

The Observer turned and walked away. Taking out his cellphone, the Observer replied to waiting message, “Done for the night”. He always liked when it rained in the city. There was a cleansing smell in the air that did away with all the grime and dirt.  There had been a few times when he considered moving to the northwest part of the country. Yet, those precious few times that it rained here made them more enjoyable. He loved his city and tried his best to keep it clean. Turning the corner, the Observer faded into the night with the rest of the city’s denizens.

The Liar stood for a moment and shivered. It had gotten colder he noted and then fell back to the ground. The rich hue of blood diluted in rain water. The amber color from the street lights gave it an even darker tone.

The vibrant fluid of life was nothing more than gutter water.
Image from Regulus Star Notes

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