Exit: The Interview

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David returned to his parents’ condo five minutes before the time that the family had agreed to have supper.  He stumbled wearily into a chair along the side of the dining room table while his mother and father took their rightful places at each end.  It had been that way since David and Richard were kids.   Richard,  David wondered what he might be doing right now if he were still alive.  Perhaps he was cold and lonely, subsisting on the few nuts and berries one could trust in the woods.  Perhaps he was starving.  A person could survive for a while without eating, but it was a painful existence.

His mother shocked him back to reality.  “David, get some food on your plate!  Eat boy!  Eat!”  Mrs. Pringle never liked to see her children go hungry.  The food and company was also a brief distraction from the anxious situation the family found themselves in.

As they were nearing the end of their meal, there was a knock at the door.  David rushed to answer it, leaving his parents to finish their supper in peace.  He was greeted by a man in a suit.  After he entered, a burly man with a video camera followed.  Next, a familiar face for David, Gerald Hogan stepped through the door and announced “David!  I’m here so that these guys in suits don’t mess up the story as we know it so far.  I’m on your side.”

The fact that there were even sides to choose from made David feel uneasy.

Gerald greeted David’s parents and made himself comfortable in his new domestic surroundings.

The man in the suit made himself at home in the living room and said that he would like to briefly interview the parents first.  The burly man with the camera began to film the events that would transpire.

“For the record, is it true that your names are Geoff and Loretta Pringle?”  The suit clad man asked.

Both nodded.

“Can you think of any reason at all that your son Richard would want to disappear, perhaps end his own life?” The man asked.

At the thought of this possibility, Loretta wept bitterly and excused herself in order to lie down.

“It seems I have struck a nerve, or perhaps a lead,” said the man. He was gazing suspiciously at the bereaved mother.

“You will not bother my wife anymore with this foolishness!”  Geoff replied.  “We were not perfect parents, but Richard loved to visit us frequently.  He loved his job, and lives a quiet, and fulfilling life as far as we know.”

Geoff excused himself from the interview.  Only David and Gerald were left in the room with the seemingly evil interviewer.

“Well if it wasn’t suicide, perhaps it was murder.  Nobody has brought up this possibility before.  David, were you jealous of your brother to the point where you decided that you wanted to get rid of him forever?” The man inquired.  “Did you, David, murder your own brother?  I have to ask in order to cover all the possibilities.”

David rushed at the man, catching him off guard, David dragged him out of the condo.  Not bothering to close the door behind him, he screamed “No, I did not kill my brother!  I can’t prove it to you, but my brother is alive!  I know it!”

Suddenly, a nearby elevator opened.  David swiftly shoved the man inside.  Too dazed to fight back, the interviewer sat crumpled on the floor catching his breath.  The burly camera man pushed past David and gave him a crooked smile.  He had taped the entire scene. The random assault of a news reporter would be great for ratings.  The large man entered the elevator and tended to his friend.  The doors closed.  David watched as the eliminated numbers above the elevator door cycled down to the main floor.

David felt a hand on his shoulder.  He turned to see Gerald.

“That didn’t go quite as planned,” said Gerald.

“You think?” David screamed.  “You were no help at all.”  David rushed toward the stairs, he needed to leave, and also blow off some steam if he was going to have any dignity at all by the time he reached the street.

“Where are you going?” Gerald asked.

“I’m going back to the cabin.  I’m going to find Richard.” David stated.

“Didn’t you say that you checked everywhere?” Gerald asked.

“There’s always more places to look,” said David.

David started off down the stairs with more energy than he had ever had in his life.

Gerald summoned the elevator.  The doors parted and he stepped through.  At that moment he had an idea.  A plan that could give this whole family the closure they were looking for.  He cracked a smile just as the elevator doors closed.

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