The Truth As he Sees It--A Guiltiest Man Tale

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Another Guiltiest Man tale!

Submitted: May 02, 2012

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Submitted: May 02, 2012



The Truth as He Sees It

By Mike Stevens

A Guiltiest Man Tale

It was the way he remembered it; or was it? Danny Pretest knew he was remembering the conversation exactly right. Why did he do this to himself? He always started to torture himself with the absolute worst things he may have said, when he knew damn well he would never say those things, even if he was thinking them. He always had to drive himself nuts imagining things that never happened. He was once again unable to sleep because he was imagining terrible variations on the actual conversation he’d had with his grandfather earlier in the day. It had gone exactly like this:

“Hello, Grandfather, I’m just calling to wish you a happy birthday!”

“Oh thank you Danny, that means a lot to me.”

“I’ll be coming up there next week and I’ll give you your present then.”

“Don’t you worry about a present, just seeing you will be present enough.”

“Well, that’s kind of you to say, but I really want to give you a present.”

“If that’ll make you happy, Danny, then I’ll be looking forward to both the gift, and seeing you!”

“Okay, Grandpa, I love you and I’ll see you then.”

“I love you too, Danny, and I’m looking forward too it.”

“Goodbye Grandpa.”

“Goodbye Danny.”

That was the way Danny remembered the conversation going, but his sleep-deprived brain was screaming at him; what if it went like this instead:

“Hello Grandpa, I’m just calling to wish you happy birthday!”

“Who in the hell is this?”

“It’s Danny, your grandson.”

“Oh yeah, hi.”

“I’ll be coming up there next week and I’ll give you your present then.”

“What did you get me? I sure hope it’s better than the absolute crap you got me last year!”

Embarrassed, Danny then tried to change the subject. “So, what’s new with you, Grandpa?”

“Well, let me see; nothing’s new in my pathetic life, and it pretty much sucks!”

He didn’t know what to say. “Gee Grandpa, try to keep a stiff upper lip.”

“At least that way something about me would be stiff! Your grandmother has been compla—”

“Well Grandpa, it’s been so nice talking to you. I just remembered, I have something important to do next week, so I won’t be up after all. I’m afraid I’ll have to mail your present to you. I’m very sorry!” There was no way he was visiting his grandfather, and listen to embarrassing comments like that.

“Gee, that’s too bad Donny.”

“Eh, it’s Danny!”

“Yeah, right, I guess if you have something more important than visiting us older relatives, then I guess you do what you have to do!”

“Goodbye grandpa; I love you!”

“See you around, Donny!”

“That’s Danny, Grandp---” The line went dead; he had hung up.

Danny shook off the guilty feelings. Thank goodness the conversation with his grandfather hadn’t gone like that, that would have been so embarrassing! Or had it and he was just trying to block it out because he couldn’t deal with it? No, his grandpa would have never talked that way, but the more he thought about it, the less certain and the more guilty he felt about the conversation. He didn’t think it had gone that way, but he really ought to call just to make sure.

The phone rang a few times before his grandmother answered. “Hello?”

“Hi Grandma, this is your grandson, Danny.”

“Danny! Thanks for calling, but didn’t you just get off the phone with your grandfather?”

“Ah, yeah Grandma, I did, but I forgot to say hi to you.”

“Well bless your heart! Hello and a big I love you right back at you.”

Danny was trying to bring up the conversation he’d had with his grandfather in casual sort of way. “Since I’ve got you on the phone, I’d just like to know if everything’s okay with you?”

“Everything’s fine.”

He had to know if he was just trying to make himself guilty, or had the conversation he’d only imagined he’d had with his grandfather actually gone in a way he was trying to forget? “I just mean Grandpa’s elevator goes all the way to the top floor?”

“What? What’s all this talk about elevators? Danny, are you sniffing glue again? Because if you are, just remember, they make recovery programs for that, and your grandpa and I would like to pay for your recovery.”

“Never mind, Grandma. I really just called to say hi to you, and tell you I love you. Goodbye grandma!”

“Well, thanks for calling, and I love you too. Goodbye!” The boy is spaced out; elevators?

As he hung up the phone, Danny still don’t know if I have anything to feel guilty about; and maybe he should call back and talk to grandpa.

“Hello?” his grandfather answered. Good, it was his grandpa. “Hi Grandpa, I wanted to make sure I wished you a good one!”

There was a confused pause, then, “Well, thank you again, but you didn’t have to call me back, its long distance.” Millie was right, the boy is sniffing again!

Danny tried to think of some way to innocently find out if he’d only imagined the offensive conversation. “I know, but I forgot to wish you a super-duper birthday!”

A super-duper birthday? The boy is higher than a kite right now! “Well thank you and I’ll talk to you soon.”

Oh no! “Eh, Grandpa, is everything all right?”

“Yeah, everything is a-okay.” The boy must have snorkled an extra-large tube!

“I mean, are you having any trouble keeping your hydroplane up on a plane?”

What? The boy was making about as much sense as the village idiot! “Danny, are you in some kind of trouble? I know drugs seem impossible to kick, but with the support of your loving family, you can overcome them!”

Danny hung up the phone after talking to his grandfather; well, he hoped he was satisfied, his grandparents were thinking he was huffing glue or paint fumes, all due to his being paranoid about the things he might have said, instead of trusting his recollections of the actual conversation! But what if he'd only thought he had called to reassure himself? What if it only seems like he'd just hung up the phone and he really did say something offensive, or his grandpa really does have a problem? He'd better make up some excuse for calling them back. and double-check.

“Hello?” his grandmother said.

“Hello, Grandma, this is Danny. How are you?”

There was a muffled, “S**t!”, then his grandmother said, “Danny, you need help right away; stay right there, we’re driving up the coast and we’ll be there within a couple of hours!”

The End

© Copyright 2017 Mike Stevens. All rights reserved.

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