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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

One Secret Too Many

Secrets are funny things.

(It’s true. I’ve been on the FBI’s “Margarita Watch List” for years.)

I don’t have one of those kinds of secrets. I do have another kind of secret, a much blander and more mundane version: the “corporate secret”. In this case, a bit of news my company will talk about publicly soon, but as yet only in private board- and conference rooms.

Also, we dim the lights, and speak in hushed reverent tones. Secret-having is serious bidness, after all.

Now, of course I’m not going to give away this secret.

(Or really, “secret”, if I’m being honest. I don’t really consider an “I can’t tell you now, but I’ll tell you later” sort of thing a secret, in the strictest sense. Secrets are things you take to your grave — or at least to your poignant and highly dramatic deathbed confession.

“Really makes a guy jealous of those people who had kids no one knows about or practiced secret rituals in their basements.”

I think everyone should have one true secret, just for that contingency. We won’t all have the luxury of a dramatic deathbed reveal, of course. But if you happen to get there, and your best material is something like, “Oh, by the way, I used to pee in the shower“, you’re going to be a little disappointed in yourself. And nobody wants to enter the great unknown feeling like a doofus.

Really makes a guy jealous of those people who had kids no one knows about or practiced secret rituals in their basements. If those people get deathbeds, they’ve got it made. Lucky bastards.)

Now, this work info is not mine to give away, so I’m not going to give it. But what fun is a secret — of the non-body, non-spying, not-involving-pentagrams-or-orphaned-Thai-children variety — if nobody knows you’re keeping it?

So of course, when I learned of this super-for-the-moment-secret information, I ran right home to not-tell my wife.

But wait, you might be thinking. If there’s anyone that you’re allowed to tell, corporate semi-secret-wise, it’s your spouse, right? They already know more important and personal things about you, and hold them in complete and utter confidence. The way you slurp your soup. That dance you do in the mirror while you brush your teeth in the morning. Those disgusting noises you make when you’re asleep. Or pretending to be asleep. Your spouse never told anyone those. Surely, he or she is allowed in on a little company tidbit that’ll soon be public, anyway. Right?

Well, sure, probably. Except that it’s a secret. And nobody else on the planet particularly cares if I have a secret, except my wife. No one else would be curious, the possibilities darting through their heads, tormented by what this news could be or the impact it might have on me, and therefore on us, directly. In short, there’s no other person in existence who would especially want to know that I have this secret, and what it is.

So clearly, I can’t tell her.

And obviously, I have to tell her that I have something to tell her — but I can’t tell her. Because what’s the fun in having a secret otherwise?

So I told her — told her that I couldn’t tell her, that is — this evening. And she told me to tell her. But I stood firm. This is but the first phase in conspicuously keeping a secret — the “reveal” that there’s a secret lurking, and then weathering the initial storm of pleading and cajoling to spill the beans.

I knew this drill, and I was strong. No secrets were divulged. My beans hath not spilleth over.

To be fair, she only asked once, and then went back to reading her book. She’s playing it cool, see. She’s a crafty one, the missus.

We’re now in the second phase — the wait. This is when the desire to know is eating away at her from within. A hunger, almost literal, to gain and devour the secret is seething within her, building to a frenzy, maddening her with every second of unrevealing silence.

On the other hand, she doesn’t look particularly “seethy”. In fact, she’s dozing off right now, in the middle of an old Frazier rerun. Not really the behavior of somebody who’s haunted by an unknown mystery.

But probably, that’s just what she wants me to think. She truly is diabolical. A mastermind, I’m telling you.

So I’ll just wait her out, until the third phase — the desperate plea for knowledge. At some point, her facade will inevitably crack and she’ll come to me, begging to know the secret. Pleading. There might be crying, or gnashing of teeth. Wailing is not out of the question; I could envision a little wailing. And possibly — just possibly — moved by her consuming obsession to know, I might just relent and tell her the secret. Maybe.

Of course, she’ll have to wake up first. And show at least a tiny sign of interest. I mean, we’ve only got a month or so before everybody gets to know this thing, so, you know, you could speed it up a little over there, dear. If you can’t work all the way up to “consuming obsession”, just a moderate obsession would do. Or mild. Even a gently piqued interest. I’ll meet you halfway here.

I see. Still snoozing. Okay, take your time.

Piqued yet, honey? Dying to know? Or drooling on the couch?

Drooling on the couch. Oh, you’re good. Very good.

Look. If you don’t ask me soon, I’m going to tell everyone about those noises you make when you’re asleep. I’m serious.

(Not really. I wouldn’t do that. I can keep a secret.)

All right, sleep away, then. I’ll just sit here and watch you, knowing that inside you’re really a mass of swirling nerves, wondering endlessly about this secret. Driven mad by it. Obsessing over it. Seething…

I’ll just be here, watching. Waiting. Drumming my fingers restlessly on the chair.

Are you awake yet? No? Damn.

Now? Curious? Tormented?

Rats.

Frasier‘s off, and now she’s sleeping through Seinfeld. I’ll concede this round. I’ve got a secret, folks. And it’s going to be a looooong month.

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