You shall not go up and down telling tales [gossiping]. - Leviticus 19:16

When injury is likely, one should not rely on a miracle.  - Talmud, Kiddushin 39b

A Story, by Alesha Singer

Winston was a professional player of tag. That’s right. He played tag for a living. It might seem a bit weird, like... “You know that game you played in 2nd grade that you frequently fought with your friends about? That’s right. I get paid for that!” But the games are actually pretty intense and really, really stressful. Although everyone still seemed to get along well. Sure, a lot of his opposing teams have been just a bit childish and taunting, but what do you expect? It’s still tag.
        But there was this one experience he’d had a few years back when he was pretty new which involved a group of other newer team members and one “friend.” It all started with Marcus, his best friend. Marcus wasn’t exactly morally inadequate, he stuck up for what was universally seen as right. But he wasn’t interested in philosophy, ethics. He was mostly interested in sports. Just sports. It was easy for Marcus to give in to a blatant lie or rumor.

So Marcus sat on a couch during a house party while Winston went to get a cup of fruit punch. A young man with a smirk on his face slid into the seat Winston once sat in. He addressed Marcus confidently, “Hey man.” Marcus glanced over at him and curtly nodded.

“Yeah, hello. Who are you?” Marcus questioned.

The stranger shrugged, “A friend of James. He didn’t just invite the team.”

Marcus scoured through his brain to remember who James was, only being here a couple of months. James wasn’t very memorable in appearance or personality. He was fine, Marcus supposed.

“Listen, I don’t wanna like...” the man glanced up at the wall as noise buzzed around them. probably to find the right words, Marcus thought. “Rat James out or anything. But what he did is like, super bad.”

Marcus’ brow rose, “What? What’s super bad?” Marcus then leaned forward with an intrigued look on his face.

“Welllll...” The “L” rolled on his tongue for the longest time, “I dunno if I should tell you. It’s like, private.”

“If it has to do with my teammate, you can trust me with it.”

“Well, okay then!” The man was quick to reply with a smile. “It’s just that I heard from a friend that James has, well. Been working with the other team. I don’t know what for, maybe like money or somethin’. I can trust you with this, right dude?”  

(to be continued....)