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This is a question Overheard secrets

When I was a barman, I stood by polishing a glass as a couple had a hushed argument two feet away about what they were going to do now she was pregnant. The bloke promised to leave his wife, but subsequent hushed arguments revealed that he did not. What have you overheard?

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(, Thu 25 Aug 2011, 13:36)
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No-one gets away clean...
Apologies the length of this story. In fact, apologies for the story full stop. It may not be, strictly speaking, an overheard secret, but it does involve secrets being found out...

When I was 7 I was somewhat of a goody-two shoes. I was diligent, hardworking and strived to get the best marks I could. One day, at school, my teacher set a test we had to do. I can't remember what the topic was but it was in a area I was weak in. Suddenly, panic set in! "Don Draper getting bad marks?! I wouldn't live it down!" What was I going to do?! Fate offered me a life-line. The girl sitting next to me WAS very strong on this subject. So strong in fact, I copied her answers. To the letter!

When the teacher handed out our results she compliments the girl on her high marks and also compliments me, too for "my" high marks. She even commented on how we both stumbled on the same question. Was I in any danger of being caught? Nope. I was such good boy I was above suspicion. But not above the suspicion of someone else.

After class was over, someone (let's call him "David") came over to me and said "I saw you copying the answers! I'm going to tell the teacher!"

"Don't do that!"

"What's it worth?"

I put my hand in my pocket and offered him a shiny £1 coin. I'd sunk to a new low in the same day. And it didn't end there. For the next 6 weeks, I had to hand over all manner of crisps, chocolate, drinks and money in order to prevent him from telling anyone (let alone the teacher). And for 6 weeks, I went home and either did one (or more) of the following):

1. Sobbed my eyes out.
2. Sit on the stairs in a catatonic state.
3. Vomit due to the stress of the situation.
4. Lie in bed with my stomach in knots.

The torture I went through those 6 weeks was akin something out of Guantanamo Bay. One day, I went home and nearly had a nervous breakdown. This was noticed by my mother.

"What's wrong, Don?"

I couldn't hold the secret in any longer and confessed to the lot. The cheating, the lying and the blackmail by David. Mum's face turned from sympathy to outright anger. I was scared I was going to be punished for my misdeeds. But she wasn't angry at me. As she put it "Those 6 weeks were punishment enough for you. You've learn your lesson." No, she was angry at David. So angry in fact, she phoned David's parents. I never heard the other side of the conversation, but I did hear raised voices. After my mum hung up, she comforted me and said "Don't worry about David. He's taken care of." She sounded like a mafia boss. "But don't you ever cheat again!" Trust me, I learnt my lesson! So did David, apparently. I'd heard that David's parents were a little less liberal than my mother. I'd heard through the grapevine that David got a beating of such epic proportions, he didn't speak about it for two days!

Now let's fast forward 20 years. I'm now 27 and working at a sweet little gig for a chemical company. I was a chemical engineer and got to do what I like doing the most (OK, what I like doing SECOND most. Possibly third...) I got to play around with chemicals. The pay was good, too. And the people I worked with were great. Well, all except for two people. The first was one of the managers. Actually, he wasn't that bad, but I didn't like him. The second was, by far, the worst. Lisa (not her real name, obviously). A simpering, stuck-up, prissy motherfucker whom I despised with a passion. My main reason for hating her was mainly how she looked down on me like I was a guest on "The Jeremy Kyle Show". Another thing I hated about her was the way she used to shoe-horn the subject of her boyfriend into every conversation (I once overheard someone talking about drinking Lucozade and she STILL managed to convert that into talking about her boyfriend! That took some skill, I grant her!).

Anyway, I generally stayed out of their way as, I've pointed out before, I don't really like confrontation. Fate had other ideas.

One day, I received a phonecall from my boss. We were on the verge of securing a contract with a new company and that could I whip up a test batch of a particular product so they had something for the customer when they came around next week. Simples enough. After 15 minutes, I'd written down the ingredients I needed to make this product. I'd managed to secure all of them except one. Potassium Dichromate. We didn't really have any knocking around. Until I remembered the Shed! The shed was an old building which kept chemicals from products which had long since been made obsolete and were awaiting disposal. There was bound to be some Potassium Dichromate there!. So, I set off towards the shed. The shed was on the other side of the plant and took a while to get there. When I arrived at the shed, I put the (supposed only) key in the lock and opened the door. I turned on the light and there standing before me was the manager I didn't and, more importanly Mrs Simpering I've-got-the-IQ-of-a-roof-slate! They both looked at me like deer in headlights. Deer in headlights with their arms around each other. Turns out, the manager had made a copy of the key to the shed and was using it with Mrs Simpering-idiot to conduct a bit of clandestine affair! I was stunned, but nowhere near as stunned as they were. I'd got them bang to rights. God (if he exists) had gifted me an opportunity to not only take down 1 but 2 of the people I really didn't like!

Suddenly, I had a very vivid flashback. I went back to when I was 7 years old. The time I was being blackmailed. This was a memory I hadn't given a second's thought since I was 7. It was now coming back to haunt me in spectacular fashion. Why now? Because my brain wanted me to remember one aspect of that incident. The utter torture I went through when I was being blackmailed. The knotted stomach. The vomiting. The anguish. The lot! It was terrifying to relive that memory again. Especially when it was compressed into a few seconds. Like a short sharp shock. I came back to the present with the philanderers firmly in my view. I now had a decision to make.

Looking at it from the manager and Lisa's point of view, one second they getting up to all sorts and the next, their marriage and relationship, respectively, was on the verge of being destroyed. It's amazing how things can change in a second. But what they didn't expect was the guy who hated them (and who caught them inflagrante) walking straight up to them, walking straight past them, picking up a tin of Potassium Dichromate, walking past them again and closing the door. But before closing the door he muttered "I didn't see anything..."

I remembered what it was like to be blackmailed. There was no way I was going to inflict that on someone else. Even those two. I don't know how long they carried on their affair, but I wasn't going to stoop to the level David stooped when I was 7. I was determined to get away clean...
(, Thu 25 Aug 2011, 15:19, 20 replies)
Good call sir.
I shan't post this as a story, becuase it's far too good to be true, but I once went to the office on new years day to collect something I needed, and found our accountant (a rather scrawny middle aged bald guy) trying to hide in a cupboard. This because he was wearing a wig, dress and rather fetching high heeled boots.

I think I said almost the same as you - picked up what I wanted from my desk, walked out and just quietly said 'This is your thing, I didn't see anything'.
(, Thu 25 Aug 2011, 15:28, closed)
I have a similar attitude
a friend I used to know got up to lots if things he shouldn't have but I didn't think it was my place to make any comment to anyone other than him. He was a cheat but he also knew that if he were ever caught out he would get no sympathy from me.
(, Thu 25 Aug 2011, 15:48, closed)
You got the dichromate
so it wasn't a wasted trip. I got some of that on my skin in a lab once, but didn't notice. My fault for not wearing gloves I suppose.
(, Thu 25 Aug 2011, 15:50, closed)

Good for you - were they any less annoying to you after that?
(, Thu 25 Aug 2011, 15:58, closed)
VERY good.
And after that if they gave you any stick I hope that a withering glance from you was enough to shut them up.
(, Thu 25 Aug 2011, 16:05, closed)
Fair enough
Good on you
(, Thu 25 Aug 2011, 16:08, closed)
I hope they respected you for your integrity.
As TriChloro-Phenol and others mentioned.
(, Thu 25 Aug 2011, 17:41, closed)
Bet they still worried themselves sick though.

(, Thu 25 Aug 2011, 17:49, closed)
If you've ever been cheated on, you'd hope so too.
(, Fri 26 Aug 2011, 2:48, closed)
So, the lesson you took from your childhood experience,
was that it's better for deceit to go unpunished?
(, Thu 25 Aug 2011, 19:30, closed)
The lesson learned was "Don't be a blackmailing cunt." I'd have thought that obvious.
(, Thu 25 Aug 2011, 21:45, closed)
I'm sure their partners will thank him.

(, Fri 26 Aug 2011, 11:14, closed)
One Hopes
That it was the kick up the arse they needed

Either way, the OP does NOT have the responsabilty for telling them what they can or cannot do - that is their decision alone.

well done sir
(, Fri 26 Aug 2011, 11:49, closed)
True, it's not his responsibility,
but I'm still unhappy with the implication that it's more moral to cheat (be it on an exam, or a partner) than it is to blackmail someone who's been caught cheating.
(, Fri 26 Aug 2011, 20:22, closed)
But that's the point
OP wasn't cheating, boss and Simpering Lisa were (their call, their responsibility, their consequences), therefore his slate is clean as he chose not to blackmail them - I got no suggestion/implication that he was condoning their cheating.
(, Sat 27 Aug 2011, 0:33, closed)
But he did cheat, aged 7, on a school test,
then makes out that his cheating was more morally defensible than the actions of the one that chose to blackmail him over it (when his cheating is discovered, he goes unpunished). Lesson learned? Blackmail is bad, cheating is fine, if you can get away with it.
(, Sun 28 Aug 2011, 0:03, closed)
I'm not actually sure what story you read...
... but the moral was blackmail is bad and cheating is bad. While I didn't own up, I certainly got my arse kicked for it. The 6 weeks' of hell plus the scolding I took from my mother. End result? I never cheated on an exam. What I didn't write in the story was that when my mother scolded me for cheated I could see the utter disappointment in her face and realised this was more than cheating on a test. Lesson learnt, as far as my mum was concerned. Kind of like when children go drinking and parents let the hangover teach them the lesson. Likewise, my 6 weeks' of torture coupled with my mum's disappointment taught me a hell of a lesson. I never wanted to make her feel like that again. Now if you feel I went "unpunished", then please take it up with my mother. Personally, I felt I learnt my lesson.

Now if you want to talk about the morality of how to teach children, that's another issue for another thread...
(, Sun 28 Aug 2011, 8:57, closed)
As Don pointed out -
he had learnt his lesson about cheating and resolved not to do it again. This situation has fuck-all to do with him cheating but everything to do with him applying his memory of suffering at the hands of someone else and choosing not to put 2 other people thru said same suffering. Good call on his part.
(, Sun 28 Aug 2011, 21:24, closed)
Suit yourselves.

(, Tue 30 Aug 2011, 19:52, closed)
well done that man
not a lot of people would have the integrity and sense to do that

respect due to that man
(, Fri 26 Aug 2011, 7:56, closed)
Great story well told
A winning story if ever I've read one.

Well, definitely in the top three anyway.

*click* that man for being to thine own self true.
(, Fri 26 Aug 2011, 10:17, closed)
I'll give him a click for forward thinking, or plain cold cunning though. Better to have a Sword of Damocles hanging over someone's head than to steam in and start demanding this and that. As he found out as a nipper, you can only sustain that for so long, so you'd better get what you want pretty quickly before the secret comes out or becomes redundant anyway.

Just because he said he saw nothing to them, doesn't mean he's not going to wake up one morning feeling like causing trouble, and let the cat out of the bag. They wouldn't know how good he was at "forgetting" things.They might have spent years in turmoil wondering when he was going to fuck them up by telling people what he saw.

A person with morals would have told the whole workplace without trying to gain something from the couple, it's not his problem or place to continue to conceal their illicit affair. If they didn't want anyone to know, they should have had their trysts elsewhere.

Still, I bet he got no shit from either of them again, so he wins.
(, Fri 26 Aug 2011, 10:59, closed)
Well, if that's your take...
I think it says as much about you, as it does about Don!
(, Fri 26 Aug 2011, 12:44, closed)
For the record...
...I think I made what my intentions were quite clear in the last paragraph of my post. It was done from a place of trying to be the better person and not from a malicious angle....
(, Fri 26 Aug 2011, 12:47, closed)
Yeah but
THEY didn't know that did they? My point was that you could have a nice quiet life, with no grief from that couple, just like anyone really hopes for at work, just by doing what you did.

However, the fact you just sat on the knowledge of that affair possibly caused more stress and turmoil than if you had just tried to immediately profit from it. You might have been able to squeeze them for a few quid, but, as you had found out when you were a kid, payment doesn't buy peace of mind. If anything, the truth then pops to the surface quicker because of the type of stress you had suffered, even after coughing up.

The thing is that most people being blackmailed don't realise that their dirty secret is quite possibly not going to mean the sky will fall in if it leaks out. When they cave in and confess, or the secret is blabbed, they are relieved, and the consequences are rarely as dreadful as they had feared, however bad they may be. They get dealt with, and the people move on.

So you felt your conscience was clear, good for you, but I'm pretty sure the couple would have been waiting for the Sword to fall, and that tension could have lasted as long as you worked there. They possibly didn't have the impetus to confess all to their partners, nor to stop their trysts, but I bet they fretted about just how much of a cunt you might be, should you put your mind to it. They'd have been caught like rabbits in headlights.

It's not a criticism of your moral principles, you obviously inadvertently and unkowingly held the threat of leaking their affair over them.
But, like I said, THEY were the ones up to no good, you can't be blamed for catching them at it. When someone asked where they were, you could have just casually said "Shagging in the shed, again", safe in the knowledge you were lying to no-one. You would neither be covering up for them, nor maliciously profitting from their deceit. There'd have been a nice level playing field between you after that too...
(, Mon 29 Aug 2011, 20:18, closed)
I respect what you're saying, there's no malice here, just a difference of opinion....
....but I'm fairly sure that if they were THAT worried, they would have spoken to me in private for clarification. The fact they didn't, tells me that they understood my "I didn't see anything..." comment as I won't tell anyone. Frankly, I didn't care whether they felt they had a sword of Damocles hanging over their head or not. The point was, I had an opportunity to take the pair of them down and I didn't take it because the ends did not justify the means. How they chose to interpret it was their concern. I wasn't condoning their behaviour by no stretch of the imagination....

But thanks for your comments. Always nice to look at it from another angle. :O)
(, Mon 29 Aug 2011, 20:32, closed)
No no no
That's not the way things are done around here, far too civil. You are supposed to post something like "Your a dumb cunt", then we post and trade insults for a while and stick each other on "Ignore".

(, Tue 30 Aug 2011, 0:27, closed)

"You're a dumb cunt"
Please don't stick me on Ignore ;-(
(, Tue 30 Aug 2011, 4:05, closed)
Your a moran.
So there.
(, Tue 30 Aug 2011, 23:04, closed)

You're lucky they didn't try to sabotage your career 'cos you knew too much.
(, Sat 27 Aug 2011, 0:07, closed)
He was too busy sabotaging some poor cunt's hand.

(, Tue 30 Aug 2011, 17:06, closed)
I don't get this Don, because if the story you sold your ex-wife is to be believed you were flying helicopter gunships for the SAS at this stage in your illustrious career with the MOD

(, Tue 30 Aug 2011, 18:03, closed)

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