The Real Truth

The Real Truth

A Story by Jared Fellows

I had a prompt from a writing class asking, 'What lies beneath the pages of your book?' What she was asking for more specifically was what was the underlying truth to the story, "Catcher in the Rye."


            What I found, was a dying man, lying on the floor. He was not showing any sense of agony, but it was obvious that he was feeling pain because he was shot. The man lay on his back, issuing a red menace that could only mean certain death. He sat there trying to cover the wound with a book, a white book. Awestruck, I paced over to him. He kept his mouth closed, but his eyes were open, gazing into the sky like a newborn baby.

            “Sir, you’re bleeding,” I said to him. He just kept gazing at the sky, resting the white book on his wound with the pages open towards his chest. I took off my cotton jacket and tried to remove the book and substitute it for the jacket. However, he refused. He shoved me away and he spat at me.

            “What the f**k is wrong with you?! I’m doing it my own way,” he said.

            “Sir, I’m trying to help. Please let me help you, you can still live,” I said. He spat again.

            “What point is there to living now? There is no point, let me pass away, this world is too much to bear.”

            “Sir, did you shoot yourself?” I asked.

            “Balderdash! The world shot me. It’s vile,” he answered.

            “The world is wonderful, sir, you just might not have experienced all the great things about this world yet,” I said.

            “No, it isn’t. This, ‘reality’, of yours, isn’t reality. It is a fake. It is a lie, a cover. A shameful ‘protective’ cover.”

            “Sir, I’m sure you’ll feel better once I take you to a hospital. I’ll help you get up,” I said plainly. Once again, he brushed me off with more ferocity than before.

            “Goddamn you, I want to DIE! Do you not understand that?! If you knew my knowledge, if you knew what would come if you found out the secret, the truth, you would feel the same.” He spat at my shoes. Damn, my ex-wife, whom I miss so much, gave them to me. He suddenly gazed up at me and smiled. He shined a nice, big grin. He propped up onto his arm.

            “How old are you, boy?” he said.

            “Forty-two,” I said.

            “Never too late to learn more, now ain’t it, boy?” he said.

            “I guess that would be the case,” I said. He went back down onto his back and chuckled. It was a good, hearty chuckle.

            “Boy, do you want to know the world’s answers, the secrets, the lens they keep over your eyes, to hide reality from you? Reality isn’t what it seems. It’s like the Matrix!” and at that he laughed so hard that he brought his knees up to his bleeding chest. All the while, the clean, spotless white book was pressed against his chest. His laughter lasted a little over a minute before he calmed down enough to talk.

            “Well, boy,” he was wiping tears from his aged face, “do you now?”

            I shrugged. I was usually indifferent about these kinds of things. I thought at that point he was on drugs. To not feel pain and come up with all the ridiculous phrases is enough for anyone to think he was high.

            “Boy, don’t get started with me, do you want to know the real world behind those lens you’re wearing,” he asked.

            What? Does he mean my contact lenses? How can he tell anyway? I thought to myself.

            “Do you mean my contact lenses? I couldn’t see the world without them, “ I answered.

            “Boy,” he said shaking his head, “will you do a favor for me?” he asked.

            “Will it help you?”

            “Oh, I am sure it will help me, and I’ll enjoy it,” he said. He pulled out a revolver and shot me in the leg. I cried out and fell to the ground, clutching my leg. The something hit me in the head. It wasn’t that heavy. I reached my hand upwards and felt around for the object that dared to hit me. I felt it and pulled the object in front of my face. It was the man’s white book.

            “READ IT,” he cried. I followed his command and began to open the book.

            “NO YOU STUPID S**T!! Press it against your leg.”

            I gave him a very puzzled look, but he urged me on. I pressed the book against my leg and nothing immediately happened. But then the sky turned from a brilliant, cerulean blue, to a dab grey. It began to hail and I began to crawl into a beetle position. I closed my eyes and opened them again. A man right next to me was being murdered, stabbed repeatedly in the side and back. I scrambled backwards. I looked across the street and saw a lady being raped against the wall in an alleyway, her face showing terror and pain. I closed my eyes, I pinched myself, thought of pleasant thoughts, everything to confirm that this was a dream. I opened my eyes and the man is dead, beaten against the cement with the man running away with his belongings. The woman was still in pain. I hit myself in the face repeatedly. I slammed my face against the wall until I couldn’t take it anymore. I fell to the cement floor, cold and unforgiving, below me. A little boy was chasing after his sister with a knife. A mother was slapping her children on the balcony above. The blood from my bloody nose and bleeding forehead covered my eyes. It clung to my eyelids. I got up and staggered across the street to the hopeless victim across the way.

            “What the f**k are you doing, man? I asked. He ignored me though.

            “Sir, I command you to stop at once,” I said. He turned around and freaked out. He panicked and looked around. When he was done he returned to the woman.

            Screw it I thought and flung a punch to his lower back. It went right through. I pulled my hand back and gazed at it. I tried again and again and again, to no avail. He was as if he was a specter or more like I was a specter. I stood there gazing helplessly at the hopeless woman. The hail was really getting to me, so I decided to head back to the man. Once I crossed the street, I slouched down across from him with my shot leg outstretched. The man was sitting upright this time and shook his head.

            “What the hell have you done to me?! What is this place?” I said.

            He simply replied, “This is the real world, boy. This is not the worst of it either; you barely had the book on your leg.”

            I spun to the book lying a little farther than three feet from me. I stretched for the book and threw it at the man. It did not go through him, it actually hit him. He chuckled.

            “This is not the real world,” I said.

            “Oh, the whole world isn’t all like this, you know,” he said, ”Just some of it is and the parts that are like this get even more vile, the further you read into the book.”

            “Get me out of it! Take me away! I hate this world,” I whispered.

            “Ah, but isn’t this better knowing the truth?” he answered. I sat there breathless for a few moments.

            “This is a world you can’t leave now, it is the truth. This book is the truth. We are in this together now whether you like it or not. We are still in our world, but this is the truth. This is how the world operates. It is vile, but this book speaks the truth, it doesn’t hide it. It speaks the truth,” he said.

            “Then why did you want to die before then?” I asked.

            “This world isn’t good without a companion,” he said.

            I sat there panting for breath, a shot leg, and a senile, but logical old man.

            “My name is Jerome David Salinger,” I said.

            “My name is Holden, Holden Caulfield,” he said.

© 2009 Jared Fellows

Author's Note

Jared Fellows
What did you think about the ending? I made it that way mainly because it had to deal with the book, "The Catcher in the Rye" somehow. What did you take away from it?

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Added on December 23, 2009
Last Updated on December 23, 2009


Jared Fellows
Jared Fellows

Los Angeles, CA

my name is Pockets, and I am your storyteller. Why a storyteller instead of a writer? When Satan has dragged me to his home because of my passion for the truth, I will be a writer. When logic i.. more..