Truth or Consequences

Written by Jeff Mills

This story takes place after Jeff's last story, Ring My Bell

(The opening scene shows Bailey, dressed and about to go to college, when he goes to wake up Charlie.
It is approximately 10:30a.m., and Charlie's bedroom door is still shut.  Bailey knocks on the door.)

Bailey: (knocking on Charlie's door) Charlie?  Charlie, are you in there?
(Bailey hears a faint voice saying "Uh huh" from inside Charlie's bedroom.  He then opens the door 
and walks into Charlie's room and discovers Charlie lying in bed, half-asleep.)

Bailey: Charlie! Do you know what time it is?
Charlie: Yeah....(rubbing his eyes and face) I already called in sick today at work so don't worry 
about it, ok?
Bailey: Why?  What's wrong?  
Charlie: (yawning) I don't know....I don't know, Bai.  
Bailey: So, what are you going to do, Charlie?  Are you going to see a doctor?
Charlie: I don't know.  
Bailey: Well, what is it, Charlie?  Are you in pain?  Is it still the food poisoning?
Charlie: Bai....
Bailey: Because if you want, I can drop you off at the doctor's office if you want....
Charlie: Bai! 
(Bailey looks surprised at Charlie's sudden mood change.)
Charlie: You're not taking me anywhere.  I'm going to be just don't worry about me, ok?  
Don't worry and just go to your classes.
Bailey: Alright, Charlie....(walks away and is about to leave when he turns around) but you know what?  
Bailey: I can't help notice that you look a lot thinner recently.  I don't know why that is, but I 
didn't say anything.  I just noticed it.
Charlie: You're very observant, Bai.  
Bailey: Well?  
Charlie: I don't know.  It is probably because I've been sick and I still am why don't you 
just let me get some rest, ok? 
Bailey: Well, who's going to take care of Owen?
Charlie: Don't worry, I asked Joe to watch him so he's over his house.
Bailey: Charlie, I know Joe's a good guy, but pretty soon don't you think he's going to get tired of 
babysitting Owen?
Charlie: I don't know.  I don't think he minds, but after today I promise I will look after him.
Bailey: Okay.  
Charlie: Now, please let me go back to sleep, ok?  
Bailey: Okay, Charlie..

(Bailey leaves Charlie's room and shuts the door.)

Bailey: (looking at the door, sadly) What aren't you telling me, Charlie?

(Opening credits.  Cut to commercial.)

(Fade in.  Reed and Claudia are walking hand-in-hand in the hallway at school.)

Claudia: I can't wait to go to the dance tomorrow night! 
Reed: Yeah....great.
Claudia: Reed, is there something wrong?
Reed: No, why?
Claudia: I don't know, but I've noticed you haven't said much all morning.  When you picked me up 
this morning, you didn't say much then either.
Reed: I don't know, Claudia, I guess I've got a lot on my mind.
Claudia: Like what?
Reed: Like this dance, like you and me?
Claudia: (smiles) I'm sorry.  
Reed: It's okay.  

(School bell rings as Reed and Claudia prepare to go to their next classes, separately.)

Reed: Well, I'll see you at lunch?
Claudia: Yeah.  
Reed: So, I'll see ya.
Claudia: Wait, Reed! Aren't you forgetting something?
Reed: Oh yeah! 
(Reed is about to kiss Claudia when he notices his friends, mostly football players, looking on with 
disdain.  He decides not to kiss Claudia, but instead say "Goodbye.")
Reed: Well, goodbye, Claudia!

(Reed runs off to his next class as Claudia stares and looks confused and sad.)

Claudia: (to herself) What is going on?

(It is now noon and Julia goes to Salingers' to visit Charlie.  While there, she notices Charlie 
isn't there, but his friend, Steve, is working.)

Julia: Steve, hi! Is Charlie around?
Steve: Sorry, Julia, but Charlie called in sick this morning so I'm working for him.
Julia: He's still sick?
Steve: Yeah.  Apparently, he has a bad case of food poisoning.  
Julia: That's strange....he didn't call me or anything.  Did he say if he is coming back to work 
Steve: No.  He didn't really say that.  I couldn't really tell ya.
Julia: Yeah, well thanks, Steve.  
Steve: No problem.  Have a nice day, Julia, and tell your brother I hope he feels better.
Julia: I will.

(Julia walks out of the restauraunt and thinks about Charlie, concerned about his health.)

(Bailey is at the library looking for Michelle.  He looks around and notices she isn't at the 
counter, so he decides to patrol the library and search for her.  While there, he overhears a couple 
kissing and talking to each other by one of the shelves in the "drama" section at the library.  Soon, 
he sees the couple and it is Michelle and another man.)

Michelle: Bailey!
Bailey: Michelle!
Michelle: Bailey, what are you doing here?
Bailey: I was about to ask you the same thing.
Michelle: Uh...well, this, this is my...friend, Todd.
Todd: Friend?  
Michelle: I mean, my boyfriend...
Bailey: Boyfriend?
Todd: Yeah! Boyfriend! Are you deaf?
Bailey: Michelle?  
Michelle: Uh, Todd, can you excuse me for a moment?

(Michelle walks away from Todd and her and Bailey walk over to a secluded area of the library.)

Michelle: Bailey, I'm sorry....I really like you, I really do...but me and Todd have had some 
problems, and we broke up for a week.  Then yesterday, we got back together.  I'm so sorry.
Bailey: So when did you plan on telling me this?  Why didn't you tell me you had a boyfriend, 
Michelle: He wasn't my boyfriend when you asked me out, but we've been together for two years and I 
love him, Bailey.  I'm sorry I didn't tell you, but I never meant to hurt you.
Bailey: Well, I'm sorry, too, Michelle, but it's a little too late for that.
Michelle: I know it's hard to understand, Bailey, but I'm sure that if you had a girlfriend and you 
guys split up, and then you found someone only to still be in love with your ex you would understand.  
And if your ex-girlfriend told you she still loved you, well, I know I don't make any sense....

(Bailey listens to Michelle and thinks about all that she said, realizing that she is right.  He 
immediately understands.)

Bailey: No, Michelle, it makes perfect sense.  Uh, I better leave you alone.  
Michelle: I'm sorry, Bailey.  
Bailey: Yeah, I'm sorry it didn't work out between us, Michelle.  (smiles) You take care of yourself, 
Michelle: (smiles) Bye, Bailey. 

(Bailey walks out of the library and has a sad smile on his face.)

(Claudia and Reed are in Reed's car eating lunch.  She notices that he looks frustrated and confused.)

Claudia: Reed, what's bothering you?
Reed: Nothing.  Nothing, Claudia, ok?
Claudia: Well, you sure have been acting strange.  I mean, this morning you didn't kiss me like you 
normally do.
Reed: So?
Claudia: So why didn't you?  And like this whole week you've hardly talked to me.  Ever since we have 
been going out you hardly talk to me much, so why is that?
Reed: I don't know.
Claudia: I don't know either.  What, are you embarrassed to be with me or something?

(Reed's ears prick up and he suddenly turns quiet, like a nerve has been hit.)

Claudia: That's it, isn't it?

(Reed still is quiet and looks ashamed and guilty.)

Claudia: I don't believe this.  You're ashamed of me!
Reed: I'm not ashamed of you!
Claudia: You are so! I see it, Reed! Your friends and their opinions are more important than me and 
my feelings.  
Reed: That's not true.  I like you, Claudia, and I care about you.
Claudia: Do you?  Then why don't you act like it?
Reed: Because you're not popular, Claudia, and I am, and I don't like it, but the fact is ever since 
we went out none of my friends talk to me anymore.
Claudia: Well, then they're not really good friends to begin with, aren't they?  
Reed: I guess not.
Claudia: (angrily) Fine.  So now you'll have to deal with one less friend.

(Claudia opens the passenger side door and slams it as she walks out of the car.)

Reed: Claudia, where are you going?
Claudia: Never mind, I'll walk back to school because it's only five minutes from here.
Reed: Claudia! 

(Claudia storms off angrily and starts to cry as Reed is in his car, punching the steering wheel.)

Reed: Damnit! 

(Fade out into commercial.)

(Fade in.  Julia rings the Salingers' doorbell and nobody answers.  She rings it again and Charlie 
comes to the door and opens it.)

Charlie: Julia!
Julia: Charlie! Wow, you look awful!
Charlie: Well, Julia, I HAVE been sick in case you haven't noticed.  Come in.

(Julia enters the house and Charlie shuts the door.  Just then, Thurber, the dog comes in and greets 

Julia: Thurber! How you been, boy?  

(Thurber licks Julia as she pets him.)

Julia: Have you been taking care of Thurber, Charlie?  Has he had enough food and water and did you 
let him out?
Charlie: Yeah, I already did that.  
Julia: So, Charlie, what's the matter with you?
Charlie: I don't know, Jule.  I know that it isn't food poisoning.  
Julia: What do you think it is?
Charlie: I don't know.  It's just weird because Bailey said he noticed I looked thinner recently.
Julia: Yeah, you DO look thinner....but that's probably because you've been sick.
Charlie: I know....I should probably see a doctor.
Julia: You should.   Uh, Charlie?
Charlie: Yeah?
Julia: I kinda have this problem and I need to talk to someone about it.
Charlie: Well, talk to me, Jule, that's what big brothers are for. (laughs and smiles)
Julia: Well....Charlie, I don't think you're going to like it or me after what I tell you. 
Charlie: (pauses) Is it that bad?
Julia: Yeah...and promise me that what I say stays in this house, ok?
Charlie: what is it?
Julia: Well....remember the trip me and Justin went on this past summer in Europe?
Charlie: Yeah.....what about it?
Julia: Well...remember how Griffin was worried about me going because he thought something would 
happen between me and Justin?
Charlie: Yeah.....did it?

(Julia takes a long pause and sighs then starts to cry.)

Julia: We were in Paris one night and we both had a lot to drink, and one thing led to another and 
the next thing I know I woke up in bed with him. 

(Charlie is taken aback and just stares in shock.  Soon, the shock turns to anger.)

Charlie: I don't believe this! I do not believe this! Damnit, Julia, how could you be so stupid?
Julia: I'm sorry! I'm so sorry!
Charlie: Well, you don't need to apologize to me.  You need to apologize to your husband.  You're 
gonna have to tell him, Julia.
Julia: No! No, I can't!
Charlie: Yes, you're going to have to! I know you don't want to do it, but you both shouldn't keep 
anything from each other.  That's not what marriage is about.  
Julia: I know, Charlie, but if Griffin finds out then he will divorce me, and then he will probably 
kill Justin.
Charlie: I don't know, Julia, but if you really love Griffin, then you will tell him the truth.  What 
happens after that, I can't tell you.  But hiding this from him is only going to make things worse 
and I'm sure he'll find out sooner or later.  Not from me, but from somebody else.
Julia: Yeah, Justin called me recently saying that  he still loves me, wants me back and wants me to 
tell Griffin what happened.  I love Griffin, Charlie, and I love him so much that I don't want to 
hurt him like this.  
Charlie: I know, Julia, but you already hurt him when you slept with Justin.  You really screwed up, 
Julia.  And I knew this was going to happen.  What did I tell you when you said you and Griffin got 
married?  I said you two were too young, didn't I?  Didn't I?
Julia: Yeah, and you were right, Charlie, so what are you saying "I told you so!"?
Charlie: No, Julia! I love you and I didn't want to see this happen.  I didn't want to see you or 
Griffin get hurt.  And now, the worst thing possible has happened.  And I....I....

(Charlie begins to feel sick and runs to the bathroom.)

Julia: Charlie! 

(Charlie throws up into the toilet and Julia is there to comfort him, rubbing his back as he cries 
in pain.)

Julia: Charlie, that's it! You're going to a doctor!

(Bailey walks into his apartment.)

Bailey: Sarah, you won't believe what I just....

(Just then, Bailey sees Sarah kissing another guy on the couch.)

Bailey: Sarah?
Sarah: Oops, sorry! Hi, Bailey!
Bailey: Hi,  I'm sorry for interrupting you.
Sarah: No, that's okay.  Oh, Bailey, this is Eric, he's in my music theory class.
Eric: How's it going?
Bailey: Hi, Eric, nice to meet you.
Sarah: So, what were you going to tell me?
Bailey: Uh, it can wait.  
Sarah: No, really, what was it?
Bailey: I found out today that Michelle has a boyfriend.
Sarah: Wow! Bailey, I'm sorry.
Bailey: Yeah, I go into the library and hear this couple smooching and I look behind me and it's 
Michelle staring right back at me with this guy, Todd, sucking face with her.
Sarah: Oh, man! What did she say to you?
Bailey: She told me that they broke up last week, and when I asked her out they were still history.  
Then, a couple of days ago they made up and so now she doesn't want to go out with me.
Sarah: (looking sad) Bailey, I'm sorry.  
Bailey: Yeah, well, it was probably best anyways.
Sarah: What do you mean? 
Bailey: Well, there's somebody else I'm interested's just too bad she won't go out with me 
Sarah: Why won't she go out with you?
Bailey: She just got a boyfriend, too.  

(Sarah pauses and realizes that Bailey is talking about her.)

Bailey: I'm going to shower so don't worry, I won't interrupt anything.  Besides, I've had enough of 
interrupting people's make-out sessions.

(Bailey walks upstairs.  Fade out into commercial.)

(Fade in.  Claudia has just entered the Salinger's home from school.  As she walks into the house, 
she notices Julia and Bailey standing in the living room.)

Claudia: Julia! Bailey! What are you two doing here?
Bailey: Why are you twenty minutes late?
Claudia: What?
Julia: Reed was supposed to drop you off at three o'clock, and it is now twenty minutes past the hour.  
Claudia: I'm sorry, but I had to take the bus home because me and Reed broke up today.
Julia: What?
Claudia: He is ashamed of me and to be with me.  Julia, you were right about him because he is this 
superficial jock who doesn't even care about my feelings and....
Bailey: Claudia....
Claudia: The nerve of him saying that I embarrass him...
Bailey: Claudia!

(Claudia is taken aback and looks surprised at Bailey.)

Bailey: We have to talk to you.  
Claudia: What's wrong?

(Bailey looks at Julia and Julia looks back, and then turns to Claudia.)

Julia: Charlie is sick, Claud.  
Claudia: I know that...he's had food poisoning.
Julia: We think it's something else...something worse than that.
Claudia: What do you think it is?

(Jump cut to Charlie's bedroom where Julia, Bailey and Claudia are talking to him.)

Charlie: Well?  What do you think it is?
Julia: I don't know, Charlie...but those sores and scabs on your chest don't look good.
Bailey: (surprised) What sores and scabs?

(Charlie lifts his shirt and Bailey and Claudia both look in stunned horror.)

Claudia: Oh my god, Charlie! 
Bailey: Charlie, that looks really bad! We've got to get you to a doctor!
Charlie: No.  Not now, I'll go in the morning and get this checked out.  
Bailey: Like hell you will! Now c'mon, Charlie, let's get dressed and we'll go to the hospital now.
Charlie: No! 

(Bailey looks at Charlie as Charlie stares angrily back at him.  The situation instantly reminds 
Charlie of the famous "intervention" when the family tried to persuade Bailey to get help for his 
alcoholism.  Then, Bailey was the one who had stubbornly refused to get help, and even acted 
violently towards his brother, Charlie.  Now, the opposite was happening and Charlie thought about 
this and finally gives up.)

Charlie: Okay.  (sighs) Okay, I'll go now.

(Griffin walks into his and Julia's apartment, checking for messages on their answering machine.)

Answering machine: Hi.  You know what to do, so leave a message.  Beep!

(Julia's voice comes on the machine.)

Julia: Griffin, I'm sorry that I'm not home, but a family emergency has came up.  Charlie is sick and 
we all are going to be at the hospital to see what's wrong.  We will be at the St. Francis Hospital.  
Love you! 
Answering machine: Beep!

(The next and final message is from Justin.)

Justin: Julia, this is Justin.  I've had enough of you avoiding me so I'm just going to say a few 
things and then let you go.  I think that what we shared this last summer was great and Griffin 
doesn't have to know we had an affair.

(Just then, Griffin's ears prick up as Justin continues to talk.)

Griffin: Affair?  What affair?

Justin: ....I know we were drunk, Julia, and you'll probably block it out of your memory as some 
mistake, but it was great for me.  You know you love me more than Griffin, so stop lying to me and 
yourself.  Later.  
Answering machine: Beep!

(Griffin stands in total silence and shock, thinking about what he just heard.  He then looks down 
at his hand, noticing the wedding ring around his finger and begins to rub his hands together.)

Griffin: (to himself) Well, Julia, I know what YOU did last summer....

(Charlie is in the office of one Doctor Roberts, who is asking him questions.)

Dr. Roberts: Mr. Salinger, when did you start to feel sick?
Charlie: About a week ago when I was working...I felt nauseous and I thought I had "food poisoning", 
but later I noticed I was a lot thinner and these sores and marks on my body.
Dr. Roberts: Where are these sores?
Charlie: (lifts up his shirt) Right here. (pointing to the upper portion of his chest)

(The doctor examines Charlie's chest and notices quite a few sores and scabs all over his chest 
and arms.)

Dr. Roberts: Mr. Salinger....I think we need to take a blood test.
Charlie: A blood test?  For what?
Dr. Roberts: Mr. Salinger...
Charlie: me, Charlie.
Dr. Roberts: Charlie, I don't want to jump ahead of myself here and predict anything, but what you 
have looks like possible symptoms of H.I.V. and A.I.D.S.

(Charlie pauses and is taken aback by this news.)

Charlie: H.I.V.?  No, not me! I can't have A.I.D.S. or be H.I.V. positive!
Dr. Roberts: Charlie, are you heterosexual or homosexual?
Charlie: Heterosexual.
Dr. Roberts: Okay.  Have you ever done intravenous drug use i.e. heroin?
Charlie: No, never.
Dr. Roberts: Okay, good.  Have you been very promiscuous in the past?
Charlie: Promiscuous?  
Dr. Roberts: Yes, have you been very sexually active throughout your life?
Charlie: I know what it means.
Dr. Roberts: Well?

(Charlie thinks about all the sexual relationships he has been in in the past, and it finally dawns 
on him that he could, in fact, be either H.I.V. positive or have the A.I.D.S. virus.)

Charlie: Doctor, I WAS very promiscuous about a few years ago, but ever since then I have been in 
strictly monogamous relationships.  I don't understand how I could have A.I.D.S. or be H.I.V. 
Dr. Roberts: Well, Charlie, you could have the A.I.D.S. virus or be H.I.V. positive for ten years 
and the symptoms won't take effect until much later in life.  I'm not saying that it is definite, 
but what I AM saying is it is possible.  What we need to do is to take a blood test and find out 
what exactly is going on.

(Griffin shows up at the hospital and confronts Julia.)

Julia: Griffin! I'm so glad you're here! 

(She walks over to Griffin to hug him, but he refuses.)

Griffin: Get your hands off me! 

(Julia looks surprised.)

Julia: Griffin, what's wrong?
Griffin: What's wrong?  I'll tell you what's wrong.  I come home and I find out that my wife 
cheated on me with Justin last summer.  

(Julia is shocked and stunned and cannot believe Griffin knows the truth.)

Julia: How, how, did you find out?
Griffin: So it IS true?  Damnit, Julia, how could you?  (cries) 
Julia: (crying) I'm sorry, Griffin! I'm sorry!

(Bailey and Claudia overhear Julia crying and walk over to her.)

Bailey: Julia, what's wrong?  Hi, Griffin!
Claudia: Yeah, hi, Griffin! Are you okay?
Griffin: Julia, you betrayed me and you lied to me! And I want a divorce! You hear me?  I want a 
Julia: No! Griffin!

(Griffin runs off and leaves the hospital as Julia is crying)

Bailey: Julia, what the hell happened?
Julia: Oh, leave me alone, will ya? 

(Julia walks off crying, leaving Bailey and Claudia alone as they both look at each other like 
"What happened?")

(Charlie is in the doctor's office and has already had his blood test as he awaits the news on the 

Charlie: Well, doc?  How did I do?

(Dr. Roberts takes a few seconds to respond and doesn't look Charlie in the eye at first, but slowly 
begins to talk and look at Charlie with a sad look on his face.)

Dr. Roberts: Charlie....I have good news and I have bad news.  The good news is that the test results 
came back negative. 
Charlie: (smiling) Alright.  So, what's the bad news?
Dr. Roberts: The bad news is that negative doesn't always mean you are clear.  I'm afraid that we DID 
detect some H.I.V. antibodies.
Charlie: Which means?
Dr. Roberts: (pauses) You are H.I.V. positive.

(The news hits Charlie like a thunderbolt and he immediately freezes into total shock at the news.)

Dr. Roberts: Now, Charlie, I want to stress something here.  You are infected with the H.I.V. virus 
and you CAN infect others, however,  the test did not detect enough H.I.V. antibodies to provide 
accurate test results.
Charlie: Wait a minute, wait a minute.  So, what you're saying is that I am H.I.V. positive?
Dr. Roberts: Yes.
Charlie: But the test did not detect enough H.I.V. antibodies or whatever to provide accurate results, 
Dr. Roberts: That's also correct.
Charlie: So, what's the deal?  Am I going to die or not?
Dr. Roberts: Charlie, this is a very complicated issue we have here.  Yes, you have H.I.V., however, 
the test didn't detect enough antibodies to provide an accurate result of whether or not you will 
always have H.I.V. or not.  
Charlie: So, what do I have to do?
Dr. Roberts: Well, you will have to take another test six months from now to determine if you are 
positive or not.  If the result comes back positive, you are H.I.V. positive, always going to be, 
and can infect others. 

(Charlie just sits in the doctor's office and laughs silently, shaking his head in disbelief.  
Fade out.)