My job as a consultant for the police often has me listening in on interrogations, mostly so I can determine if the person is guilty. Since I can read minds, you’d think that would be easy for me. Most of the time it is, but there are other times when it’s more complicated, and I have to determine whether telling the whole truth is really the best thing to do. This puts me in a terrible moral dilemma.
Take yesterday, for example. Dimples, a.k.a. Detective Harris, asked me to listen in on a suspect who’d been accused of murder. Dimples is one of the few people who knows my secret that I can read minds. So naturally, he knew if I talked to the suspect, I’d know what really happened.
The case involved a wedding planner who was a suspect in the murder of her client, the bride-to-be, or “bridezilla,” as she kept calling her in her mind. The suspect was in a planning session with the bride when the bride supposedly lost her footing and fell over the balcony at the hotel where they were meeting, plunging to her death. The suspect claimed it was a horrible accident, but the bride’s family didn’t believe her and wanted the police to investigate.
By the time I finished hearing about the victim, and how terribly she’d treated everyone associated with her wedding plans, I had to admit that the wedding planner had my complete sympathy, and I totally understood how she could have lost her cool and pushed “bridezilla” over the railing.
That’s when it got complicated.
It turned out that the wedding planner was in the room, but she hadn’t pushed anyone. It really was an accident, only she wasn’t alone. The fiancée had joined them for a spontaneous meeting. In fact, he’d told bridezilla that, after seeing the way she was behaving, along with her mother and her entire family, he didn’t want to marry her after all. She’d taken an angry swing at him and he’d ducked, but the momentum had sent her over the edge.
Shocked at what he’d caused, he begged the wedding planner to keep his involvement a secret, especially since bridezilla’s mother would most likely accuse him of murder, and there was a real possibility he’d go to jail. He convinced her that he’d have to live with this the rest of his life, but if the mother found out, he might as well be dead.
Knowing the bride’s mother, the wedding planner had agreed with his assessment, and omitted that little piece of information, never believing that she’d end up being accused of murder. Now she was wondering if she’d done the right thing, and since she’d lied, she worried that she’d go to jail even if she did come clean and tell the whole truth.
With her dark eyes shadowed in fear and guilt, everyone in the room decided she looked guilty about something. All they needed now was a confession. They turned their gazes to me, expecting me to begin my usual tactics to get her to do just that.
Now it was my turn to squirm. Should I goad her into telling the truth to set things straight? Or was now was one of those times it was okay to let it go?
On impulse, I decided a version close to the truth would probably be best. “She’s telling the truth,” I said. “It was an accident. Only she’s leaving out one small detail. The bride didn’t trip.” I caught the wedding planner’s gaze and smiled. “She took a swing at you and lost her footing. That’s how she fell. You didn’t tell us that part because you were afraid you’d get blamed for her death.”
“Yes, that’s right,” she agreed, letting out a breath and grabbing on to my explanation like a lifeline. “That’s exactly what happened. I made the mistake of telling her that what she wanted was unreasonable, and she got angry. She took a swing at me and I ducked, but then she fell. It was horrible. I should have told everyone the truth from the beginning, but… I was so shocked that I didn’t know what to do, and I didn’t want to get blamed for her death. But I didn’t do anything wrong. She tried to hit me, and I ducked. I swear that’s the truth. It was a horrible accident. I would never hurt anyone, no matter what they said to me.”
“You’re convinced it was an accident?” Dimples asked, glancing at me for confirmation.
“Most definitely,” I answered. “She didn’t do anything wrong. You have to let her go.”
“All right,” Dimples said, assessing that the guilty look on her face made more sense now. Besides that, he believed that if she’d done it, I would have told him. “I guess that means that you’re free to go, but we’re going to have to tell the family the truth.”
“Yes, I know, but can you do that without me?” she asked. “I’d really rather not have to see them again. Her mother’s kind of scary.”
He hesitated, then agreed, much to the wedding planner’s relief. She left, thinking she’d been an idiot to help the fiancée like that, and she’d never agree to help anyone in that way again, no matter how cute, or desperate, or right they may be.
I smiled, knowing that she’d learned a valuable lesson. But where did that leave me? I hadn’t exactly told the truth either. Maybe I should have spoken up about the fiancée, but how would that have changed anything? The bride’s death was an accident either way.
See what I mean about always telling the truth? I know there are times when a satisfying lie is better than the awful truth. But was this one of those times? I rush of guilt washed over me, and I sighed. Maybe I should have let the truth come out.
After I got home, I called Uncle Joey and told him my story. He completely understood and agreed that I’d done the right thing. “I know what you mean about walking a fine line,” he said. “Sometimes life isn’t as black and white as it seems.”
I thanked him and ended the call. I felt a little better, but deep down, I knew the reason I’d called him was because I had a pretty good idea he’d agree with me. So what did that say about me? Taking advice from a mob-boss probably wasn’t the best idea, but in a way, it still made me feel better.
But next time, I think I’ll tell the whole truth and let the chips fall where they may. Unless, of course, it will ruin someone’s life for no good reason … Ugh! See what I mean about my moral dilemma?? So… tell me… what would you do??