Jason Lawrence Bell
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06-20-19 Truth As Compass


‘Hello from yellow.’ Read the note slipped under the door of Peggy’s apartment. Peggy didn’t notice the note until she returned from work that evening. She had no idea who the note was from, and added it to the collection of other notes, that she received over the last month. Peggy moved into the apartment two months ago, so she assumed the notes were for the previous tenant. Still, she saved the notes, and hoped someday she would know the meaning of them. The notes were always on yellow post-it’s and hand written in black ink.

One evening Peggy had the idea to write a note back and see what happened. She got blue post-its and left a message under the door, so that the note could partially be seen from the outside. That evening the blue post-it was gone and a yellow note replaced it. The note read ‘and so it begins’. Peggy was intrigued. She left a blue note the next morning, ‘what begins?’ Then came the yellow, ‘ideas are like rocks, and we are the frogs that hop on the rocks. Always looking for a better rock to hop on’. Peggy thought this was astute, because at this time in her life she was learning many new things.

Before Peggy moved to the apartment, she lived in campus dorms, until she graduated from The University with a Masters in Journalism. She got a job as an assistant to an investigative reporter, Scarlet Jones. Peggy loved the opportunity to watch a professional so closely and help any way she could.

The note situation has fascinated Peggy. She replied on blue, ‘do I know you?’ The yellow note response was waiting that evening. ‘The question is do you know yourself.’ But there was also a second note, ‘Scarlet needs a lesson in honesty.’ That note made this note business more serious to Peggy. She thought, ‘this person is watching me and knows my personal activities.’ So, she carefully responded,’ What is Scarlet’s lesson?’ The yellow note was waiting. ‘A Pulitzer won by lies creates a fall from grace.’ Then a second note accompanied it, ‘Humera does not exist.’

Peggy immediately knew what the yellow note meant. She had been helping Scarlet with an important story about Iraqi refugees, and the story of Humera’s family who created a secret pipe line to help innocent Muslims escape ISIS control. Supposedly Humera was so courageous and effective, she turned the tides of the war and weakened ISIS control and pushed their eventual destruction. The story was so incredible the bosses at the paper were going to put Scarlet up for awards. The story had not been released yet because Scarlet and Peggy were tying up loose ends.

Peggy now wondered about the story. Only Scarlet had met Humera. Supposedly only Scarlet had Humera’s trust. So, Peggy left a note, ‘how do you know Humera doesn’t exist?’ She also left a second blue note, ‘what can I do?’ That evening there were three yellow notes. First note read, ‘Humera was created from Scarlet’s lover Homa, an Iranian woman who helped Iranians escape Iran.’ Second note said ‘better story is Manu the courageous child who acted like a begging orphan, when secretly carrying messages from spies inside ISIS to American intelligence.’ The third note read, ‘Manu now lives in Los Angeles. (818)765-7778.’

This startled Peggy and scared her regarding the allegations. Does she approach Scarlet? What if all this was bullshit? Peggy decided to show Scarlet the notes about Humera. Scarlet’s reaction was strong. She became irritate and cursed at Peggy saying that she would kill her career, if she continued with these lies. Peggy apologized over and over, but Scarlet was determined to stay angry. Before Scarlet threw Peggy out of her office, Peggy said, ‘there is a better story. A true story about Manu.’ Scarlet cursed again and pushed Peggy out the door.

Peggy felt ashamed that she trusted those weird notes over a respected journalist, and thought she would probably be out of a job soon. When she arrived home, there was a single yellow note. It simply said, ‘Wait’. At the newspaper the next morning, Peggy was reassigned to another journalist who was doing a story on favorite pets. She still felt badly about Scarlet and left a blue note saying, ‘stop sending me notes!!!’

After about a week, one evening, just as Peggy was preparing for bed, she got a phone call. It was Scarlet who was obviously drunk. She started crying and talking about how hard she worked, and what it was like being a woman in a man’s world. Peggy just listened. Then Scarlet said, ‘I don’t know how to get out of this story. Everyone loves it and they think I’m brilliant. I can’t face it.’ Peggy could hear Scarlet was admitting to the fake story. And she began feeling sorry for her, so she offered, ‘What about Manu? Stall the story and let’s investigate Manu.’ Scarlet was still deep in self-pity, but was ready to try any long shot, so she agreed.

Peggy called Manu’s phone number and a young man answered, ‘Hello Manucher’. Peggy hesitated and asked, ‘Is Manu there’ and the voice answered in broken English, ‘I Manu’. He didn’t speak English well enough for Peggy to understand. Then Manu said ‘text Manu’. So, Peggy texted Manu questions. There were long waits between answers, where Peggy guessed Manu was finding translations, then getting his responses translated.

Peggy ran to Scarlet with the Manu texts and together they spent a whole day discovering Manu was the real hero. They booked a flight to Los Angeles and with a translator found a heroic story of a young boy, whose courage truly changed the course of the war. On the flight back Scarlet was overwhelmed with emotions. And thanked Peggy with all her heart.

But then came up the question of the notes. Who wrote those notes? Scarlet was convinced, it could not have been Peggy. But together they had no clue. When Scarlet was dropping Peggy at her apartment after the flight back, they both noticed under the door a yellow note. Peggy told her this was how she found the notes. Always under the door. Together they read the note. ‘Truth is the compass’. Peace***