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Veritas in Dubium

by Jordan Ramsey

You wake up and already your Verum Anniversarium letter is in your inbox. For twenty years you have waited for this letter, a glimpse into your future…well, probably. Most likely. Eighty-twenty. For weeks now you have been preparing yourself for this moment, deciding what you were going to believe. In just three hours, the truth serum-truth pill, actually-will be administered and you will either live the rest of your life in the sublime world of the plainspeakers or down in the dregs with the falsetongues. They warned that the letter you receive can play an enormous role in your final decision, and it may not even be the truth. But what do you care; you get to hear about your future today, and that’s all that matters.

The letter sits there blinking on the screen. You take a shaking finger to the glowing monitor and the message pops up in a flash.

Dear Rebecca,

It’s from thirty years in your future that I now write to you. First let me just say that you took the pill on your Verum Anniversarium, and your life was not better for it. Yes, I received all the perks associated with taking the pill. I now have a good home and quiet family, and a substantial bank account. The positions offered to plainspeakers far outweigh those given to the falsetongues. There’s no doubt as to why: who would want a falsetongue in charge of the financial markets or as the country’s Prime? Also, in case you were wondering, you have a son who has also chosen to follow in your footsteps and become a plainspeaker, though I had my objections.

As I said before, your life is good. There’s no doubt about that. But I feel that I missed out on a great many deal of things. Never once have I been able to spare your husband’s feelings when a little white lie would have made all the difference. Never once had I had the thrill of “trying to get away” with something. I remember our teenage years fondly and how exhilarating it was to come home late from a night out and trying to talk our way out it. Lying adds to our humanity; it does not detract. Our life is just boring now. No thrills. Just plain speak.

So here’s what I implore you. Don’t take the pill. Live a life worth living. Now I know there’s no way to tell if I am in fact a plainspeaker giving you the facts, or a falsetongue speaking in lies. Thirty years can change a person. Just know this. There is no destiny. We have known that for years. What you choose to do today will ultimately lead you to write this letter, be it truth or not.

Carry on and follow your feelings.

Verum in Dubium,


You close your screen and sit back. Hours pass and your brain is swimming in thought. You put on your robes and head to the ceremony. It’s frightfully dull and leaves you bored. When the time comes for you to take your seat in front of the directors, you sit upright and face them head-on. You take the pill in your hand and put it in your mouth. It sits under your tongue and dissolves slowly. You swallow hard and begin your life as a plainspeaker.

At least that’s what you tell people, anyways.

Jordan Ramsey received his Master’s in Professional Writing at Southeast Missouri State University. He has a Bachelor’s in both Creative Writing and English Literature from the University of Illinois. His works have appeared in The Piker Press, The Big Muddy: Journal of the Mississippi River Valley, and The Southern Illinoisan. Jordan’s current interests (of the day) include mainly science fiction, especially sci-fi flash fiction, and is currently working on a novel-length short fiction collection. He finds his best writing comes after a pot of coffee, a handful of gummi worms, and a nice cigar (not necessarily in that order).

Lead image: “His and Hers” *with edits* (via Flickr user Matt)

One Comment

  1. Toni Toni

    I love the ending! Great story.

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