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(A short story of 2174 words)

Truth Tank

Fantasy - Sci-fi Fantasy

by Peter Jump

In the near future, telling the truth is no simple matter. The Truth Tank - ultimate confessional or portal to hell?

It was just before five and looking like a dull end to another working day when Giles clapped his hands and shouted: "Gotcha!"

"Finally found one?" said Parker, turning around on his stool.

"I think so," Giles replied. Looking at the jagged peaks and deep troughs of the graph on the screen in front of him, he could tell immediately banned substances were present in the blood sample under analysis.

"I'm always amazed that these athletes still believe they can get away with it," said Parker. "I suppose they think they're so much better than us. But muscles, stamina and a boundless ego are no substitute for a good chemistry degree and a gas chromatograph. Anyway, that's us done for the day. Fancy a quick drink before the slog home?"

Ten minutes later the pair had taken off their white lab coats, secured the small laboratory and were sat in a nearby pub. As Parker put down his bottle of beer, he blurted out, "After all these years I still don't understand how they can do it. How can they live with themselves deceiving people in that way? Surely no amount of glory can make up for the guilt they must feel at having cheated. Carrying something like that inside me everyday would make me permanently miserable."

Giles shrugged and said he guessed they just find a way of justifying it to themselves. This prompted Parker to launch into a mini-tirade on how despicable drug cheats were, until he realised he was straying into a sensitive area for Giles, namely lies and deceit...


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