The Invention of Honesty

The Invention of Honesty

By Bradley Scott

Listen to this song by Franz Schubert to better set the tone of this short story


I Dr. Smith have had the luxury to experience the world for how it is. It seems we, as humans “are not what we are”. Continually, truths are hard to find as a result of the shroud of misconception we have created through human dishonesty. We seem to say things we do not mean in order to make other people happy. We even tell lies to avoid conflict and society views this as a bad thing. In some ways I have come to realize, that some truths are better left untold and the world can be a better place with the ability to lie. I have not always perceived the world under this light. There was a time not to long ago where I too, thought an honest world would prevail as a better one. I developed this thought, as the hypothesis in my study of an honest society. My question was, what would happen to the world as we know it if people had lost the ability to sanction their true thoughts. To do so, I created a machine that would make lying impossible.

After creating the machine, I did not know where to start. I ended up meeting with my best friend Mallory for drinks at my place. The moment he walked in the door I knew something was wrong.

“Hey Mallory it’s nice to see you! Mind telling me why you look like you got hit by a fucking train?”

“Well this is precisely why I came to see you old friend. I have not gotten any sleep in days.” He groaned, by the look in his eye I knew he was consumed by fury; a provoked bear waiting to lash out. I should have known what was to come but I didn’t. “My wife Cassandra, she is a god damn whore. I know she has been cheating on me! Remember our wedding day I gave her that diamond bound gold ring as a symbol of our love and she promised never to take it off. She has not worn it in weeks.”

“Mal, Cassandra would never do that to you, you know that have you been drinking?”

“Fuck she must be cheating on me man. Look, the other day I got home from work early. I needed to get on the computer to do our taxes; I came to a computer screen with her email open. I ended up reading a flirty message to my brother saying she will be their soon and that she hopes he has the ring. I will not act on this until I know for sure that she has cheated on me, I plan to confront her tonight.”

I could tell he was broken. When I looked into his eyes it was as if I could see an ocean of discontentment ready to flow over the dam of equilibrium and peace within him, a barrier that served as a last line of defense in the protection of the valleys of his heart. The relentless waters seemed determined to knock over this dam and wash away everything he had come to know. I did what I could to help him.

“Mallory we have been friends for a very long time now. I have something that can help you find the truth.” I pulled out the machine. It was smaller then a pocket phone and did not seem like much, yet its delicate platinum trim gave off flickers of its significant power. “This is the Invention of Honesty it might not look like much but it holds the power to force everybody in the room to speak nothing but the truth, all you have to remember is to flip the switch to on.”

I do not know what convinced him it would even work but I figured it had something to do with his declining mental state. But I had deceived him, leaving out the fact I had installed some recording as well as tracking properties to the device to better aid my study of an honest world.

I went home and dosed off. Luckily, I had fallen asleep with the transmitting device, which relayed every noise around the invention in hand.

I remember waking up to a car door slamming, then hearing Mallory’s voice. He was talking to a man on the street bartering for a butcher’s knife. I concluded that Mallory was going to kill his wife Cassandra if he found out she had truly committed adultery. Instantaneously, I was taken over by instinct and began sprinting out of my house towards Mallory’s apartment. I was hoping with all my heart to intercept him before he could make a mistake he could never live with.

I could not keep out the thought that if she dies I would have caused it. No, this could not happen. Ironically, everything seemed colorful and alive as I was running down the endless blocks of the city. It was as if I could see all things, things I had never seen before on the very streets I walk every day. Finally I reached his apartment and rushed into the elevator, having the device in hand. I heard Mallory begin his confrontation with his wife.

“Cassandra you know I have always loved you, I just do not understand why you have tormented me by being so insidious!” he screamed in pity as he began to cry. I wished the elevator to hurry up

“What? Mal I love you! Your scaring me.” She said in a trembling voice

“Here is your chance to tell me. Have you been sleeping with my brother”?

“Mal, never I promise never! Please.” I heard him flick the switch of the device to on. Consequently, I had begun to hope I would make it in time or that the machine would prove her innocent. I remember looking at the top of the elevator feeling as if the minutes were going by painfully slow. ‘

“Three floor’s to go ‘Damn! Why won’t this fucking elevator hurry up’ I screamed this four times at the top of my lungs and slammed the wall in frustration.

“I am going to ask you this last question and I know you will be honest this time. Did you give my brother the ring you promised you would never take off out of love?”

“Yes I did I wanted him to take care of something.” She grinned. In that moment I began running from the elevator to the door of their apartment

“You whore!”

Right then I relentlessly burst through the door as Mallory smashed Cassandra into the wall with his right arm and lifted the left. I let out a shout. “No!”

Cleaver in hand he ruthlessly tore the flesh of her stomach. I watched as the blood gushed from her veins and as fatty tissues slithered through the tormenting gash that the cleaver delivered.

“Here is your last chance before you die to admit your acts of adultery.” Mal cried in a stutter of insanity.

“I….. I’m.. Innocent.” Cassandra whispered in a last ghostly breath as blood spilled from her mouth.

Mallory’s eyes began bulging from his head; he fell to the ground as tears sprang from his eyes in the sudden realization of her innocence. He screamed, “What have I done. AHHH! My love, my dear Cassandra.”

To this day I can hardly fathom the outcome of it all and I too found myself drowning in a hole of this melancholy existence. My head at my knees I began to cry, I looked up to see Mallory standing with the cleaver in hand and watched him slowly stab the cleaver into his chest in a final attempt to seal the gapping hole within his heart. He fell to his knees and gave me one last look and whispered, “The invention of honesty?” With a chuckle he began to go, I watched the life pour out of him as he fell completely to the floor.

I stood up and went to the computer to investigate the emails Mallory had been telling me about earlier, I found out that she gave Mal’s brother the ring to have Mallory as well as her initials engraved on it to surprise him on valentines day, recreating the moment of their wedding day. Lost and plagued by the events of that night I began the journey home.

The more I seemed to walk, the greyer the world seemed. What had I done, my two closest friends lay dead and for what a misinterpretation of the truth? Maybe there is no such thing as honesty at all. Maybe a world without a distorted discrepancy on what we reveal to others and what we keep to ourselves is a purely impossible feat. I should have destroyed the machine that night and got on with my life as best as I could. A scientist by nature I kept going.

The next few years of my life I continued studying the effect of a society where people were forced to tell the truth verse the society we live in now blessed with lies. After knowing the potential danger of this device I had made sure to conduct all future research by a series of interviews with random people. Never under any circumstance would I allow anybody other then myself to access the machine again.

My practice consisted of beginning an interview with the device off, following up by turning the device on and repeating the questions in order to reveal the discrepancy on what one thinks verse what they share with others.

This takes me to today. I plan to destroy the machine and everything associated with it: the recordings, my notes, and myself. You see, I Dr. Smith have had the opportunity of seeing the world for how it is. People are truly devastating. I have seen the cruelty and lack of compassion we have for one in other expressed to the fullest extent. Life in this world is not worth living. My mind is in ruin and I have come to hate all things.  We live in a doomed existence with the sole purpose of being ruthless to one and other.

It seems over the years we have simply figured out a way to keep our hatred for one and other covered through dishonesty and deceit. Verbal discrepancies. I was once like everybody else. Somehow born into the ideology that this is all okay. We pretend that we as humans are good by nature. I guess I kind of wish that I still did. I would like to apologize to my relatives for what I am about to do. I know you could never understand but I cannot live with what I have come to know. In conclusion to my research I will leave you with this; some things are “honestly” better left unknown. Good-bye.

~Dr. Smith

The Doctor was found dead later that evening.

This Story is based off of the play Othello discussing my ideas about honesty and the affect it has on society and the character Othello. I have chosen to contrast the ideas developed in the play by arguing the opposite because the story of Othello portrays honesty as a valuable trait that would make the world a better place and is critical on lies and deceit.. My story contrasts this entirely as a series of truths lead to the misconception that causes the major conflict within my story. Please note literary use of names. Cassandra means entangler of men. Mallory means unfortunate or unlucky. 

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One Comment on “The Invention of Honesty”

  1. w5th
    March 13, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

    Enjoyed the read. Look forward to more to come. Thanks for reading my blog, too.

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