Truth’s Interlude: An Excerpt from Intermezzo: The Morality Plays Interludes

Author’s Note: Intermezzo is the intermission between Masked Intent: A Modern-Day Morality Play and the story’s conclusion in Intents + Purposes. During this pause, Truth and her sisters, Accountability and Honesty, are enjoying a much-needed timeout as they enjoy the light — literally — that exposes the various lies, half-truths and deceptions that we discovered in Masked Intent.

Until now, we haven’t heard much from Accountability and Honesty (unless filtered through the eyes of Truth, that is), but that’s all about to change.

Enjoy this snippet from Truth’s Interlude, Chapter One of Intermezzo.

My sisters and I lay on the beach enjoying the heat of the afternoon sun as the sound of memories being made and shared plays somewhere in the nearby distance. We’re taking a few days away from the action in our story to relax and regroup now that it’s clear we’ll need our wits about us all too soon. I love this private spot of ours, its sands, white and pristine, the clear blue waters of the ocean kissing the shore with passionate licks. 

Any time uncomfortable truths find their way to the light, you can expect Influence to try and gain her foothold. She’ll whisper words of deception masked as encouragement, maybe even as a plausible reality. Anything to help cushion the embarrassment of failure and imperfection. I don’t intervene in her machinations. But that’s about to change. It must change.

For the moment, though, I’ll take my rest in these few precious, enlightened moments. The sun’s rays today are intense. Just as I like it. I sigh and blank my mind as my skin soaks up the comfort in the heat. I feel contentment radiating from Honesty, too, as she lies next to me, her palms facing upward as if she’s collecting the rays for later use.

The two of us are in our element. But Accountability never seems to take her rest. She can’t be enjoying this sun from under the shroud of that stupid umbrella. But she insists on stewing there, anchoring our good time with her sour disposition. She thinks our trip is premature considering all that remains untended and unaddressed. I try but fail to ignore her, imagining that I can will her voice away with the faint sounds rolling on the afternoon breeze, but she’s determined to be heard.

“Oh my God!” I snap, fed up with her fussing, “Why are you always on some Debbie Downer shit?”

I love my sister, but candidly, she’s a bit of a bore. She sees the world in such absolute terms, which I can understand these days. But, as I’m beginning to accept, she can’t seem to bring herself to accept her truth. I’m not sure she sees how nuanced and multi-dimensional she can be and that it can make her an acquired taste. For some, once she comes into view, it can take time to pull her into full focus. Accountability is a lot to handle after all. I cluck my tongue as I consider her impatience; she never has been able to wait with grace. How much less so now in the age of Influence.

“I’m telling you dreamers,” she snarks at Honesty and me, “until Mateo—”

“Don’t,” Honesty interrupts with quiet urgency, “he’ll come to all of that. And you need to let him. In his own time. On his terms.”

She props herself on her elbows, brings a hand to her head to sift through her softly coiling locks, and sighs. As she turns her head to study Accountability, she gives our sister her rare smile. It’s plain, simple, and pure.

 “Your world may still be black and white. But most of us these days,” she eases her sunglasses back up her nose and returns to continue our sun worship, “we all experiment with a little color from time to time.”

“Even when it means rewriting your own life story?” Accountability asks, her eyes wide behind her starlet sunglasses. She’s loaded for bear, and though it’s kinda fun to bring her to the edge of a hypertensive fit, I need to give her some peace. And I will. In a minute.

“Especially then,” I cosign first as I flip over to my stomach and prop myself on my elbows to ease her pique and end this snit.

“Look, relax. Mateo will reconcile his truths. And as for Hedge? Well, Hedge is gonna hedge,” I answer, referring to the shameless lout of a human who continues to hide himself away now that the truth of his nature dominates the mainstream news cycle. “We know this. So what if he doesn’t want you, Accountability? Fine. Now you know, and you can get over it, simmer down, and let the rest of this play out.”

“I second all that,” Honesty chimes in, peeking over to check Accountability’s reaction. She finds our sister sitting on her towel, her long, bronze legs crossed, her arms mimicking them as they rest under her bikini top. Her face shows little emotion, which means she’s all in her feelings over this.

“Save all that energy for when Hedge realizes what he missed out on with you,” Honesty continues to encourage her. “And for all the others out there who think you’ll tap out before they do. You know how it can get, how you can get, when you have to wait to have your say.”

Accountability huffs. She hates being ignored. Hates being silenced even more, so I have to hand it to our sister. She’s taking getting shut down – by us and by Hedge – with atypical grace.

“Don’t try to make me feel better about this, Honesty.” Accountability turns her gaze to me. “This isn’t ok. Not yet anyway. You of all people should see where this is headed, with Hedge and with your precious little love birds. She’s coming to poke her finger in your eye. She’s coming for you, Truth. You ready?”

It’s my turn now to sigh as I weigh the gravity and inevitability of her words. Sometimes Life stress tests our resolve. I take no issue with that. What I don’t need is the added chore of defusing and discrediting the doubt, deception, and disruption that Influence loves to create. So, am I ready to hear the noise she’s planning to bring? Well, no. Not really. I don’t relish this rivalry and try, for the most part, not to even acknowledge it if I’m being totally honest, which, by now, we know I am. And so, I have no choice but to bring my head from the sand and defend my borders against her.

I’ve read there’s no such thing as good influence. Once she strikes, she causes you to think outside yourself, beyond your natural tendencies, making you mimic something that wasn’t intended for you. She wields her power with pandemic precision, targeting and infecting with indiscriminate reach. That fact alone should make her shun-worthy. But, as we know, the opposite is true. She’s as insidious as she is virulent. So, for her, there is no cure. But there is the armor of conscience, kindness, and self-actualization; stitched together, they tend to limit her success.

For now, the details of my battleplan can wait. I’m determined to stay in this moment and toast the hero and heroine of our story as they finally begin embracing their truths. And I almost forgot. I need to go ahead and stuff that bee back in sister’s bonnet for her.

“Of course, I’m ready. I’m strong. I’m sturdy. I’m built to last.”

I give her my cheeky grin before returning my face to the sun and my back to the sand.

“And having you on my side is like having my own private stash of radioactive isotopes just waiting to be let loose. I’m not worried.”

“Hmmm,” she grunts before settling back on her towel. “If that’s the best you’ve got, you should probably enjoy this moment while you can. It might need to last you.”

She may be right. Influence will most certainly try to rewrite or defile the pages of our story. But for now, I’m happy to remain here, safe in seclusion as we await the next act of our saga to unfold.

Copyright ©2022 by Kimberly Greer and Words + Muses Publishing LLC

Intermezzo publishes in August 2022. Until then, meet Alexa, Mateo, and Truth. Masked Intent is available on Amazon and FREE to read in Kindle Unlimited.