Audio By
Ben Whisman

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The Secret That Wasn’t

Version History

  • Final Draft;
  • Styles Revised;

This is like listening to one side of a phone conversation, only it’s not on the phone. Try filling in what the other person said, in between when Josh, the narrator, pauses. It’s all dialogue. There are no quote marks on purpose. OK, except those quote marks. Sheesh, everybody’s a critic! Enjoy the story.


  1. Josh
  2. Duane
  3. Toph
  4. Ricky
  5. Will
  6. Josh’s Mom
  7. Josh’s Dad
  8. Ricky’s Dad

Section 1

“Hey Duane, it’s Josh. Could you come over, or can I come over and talk to you? It’s kind of personal. Yeah. Yeah, now would be cool. It’ll get it over with. Huh? No, no, of course I’m not mad at anybody. I just…I really need to talk to somebody. Thanks, I’ll be right over. See ya in a few.”

“So, yeah, you’re wondering why I’m acting all weird. Yeah, right, who could tell? Dork. Oh yeah? You’re pretty special too. I hope. Huh? Nothin’. You wish.”

“No; oh geez, no, Duane, I don’t care about the stupid short bus. I—you’re my best friend. They can put me on the short bus too. Screw them, if they think that. I don’t.”

“Look, I need to tell somebody, and you’re it. Promise you won’t tell anyone? Please? No, I didn’t rob a bank or kill anyone, doofus. Maybe I should go…. Thanks. Thanks, man. I-I hope I can talk to you about this.”

“What? You…. How did you know? Crap, is it that obvious? Oh man, what am I gonna….”

“Thanks. Thanks, bro. You don’t know how good that is. I thought no one else would want to hang around me if….”

“You’ve kinda known for a while, huh? Uh, how’d you…? Oh. OH! You mean, I…. Oh. Well, crap, does that mean now I’ve gotta wonder if Toph or Ricky know? Oh sh--, oh…. Dammit, you really got me, that time. Heh. Yeah, well, I dunno. I don’t think I wanna ask them, either.”

“Captive audience? Dude, I wish you wouldn’t say stuff like that. Besides, you’re the one who’s between me and the door. Oh. Right, well…. Yeah, so I’m a jerk. Huh? Haha, yeah, I wish somebody would. Yeah, I know. The way you look at Yvette. Oh, ‘cause that’s how I look at Will? Duane? Does everybody know but me? Thanks. Thanks, I never thought anybody would understand.”

“I should talk to Toph? Why? Do you know something? Yeah, yeah, genius. Hey, thanks. If I can ever do anything for ya….”

“Uh, okay, sure, I…. No, I didn’t think…. Duane? I really didn’t take it that way. C’mon, just tell me what to do to help. I haven’t ever done this before. Duane? How come, if you thought I’d ever try that, you’d ask me to help you in here? Yeah? But I mean, I’m g--. Yeah, hey, I guess it IS the first time I’ve ever said it. You really do? You’re not just saying that? Oh. Haha, well, I guess it would be hard to…. Oh man, you goof, I’ve gotta quit fallin’ for those.”

“Sure. Finished? Uh, you need any help? Okay, cool. Duane? If-if you didn’t need any help, how come you…? Wow, thanks, man. You’re the best. Yeah, any time you need anything. Huh? Yeah, well, I’m glad I can trust you too. I guess I hadn’t thought about that. Yeah, we both need someone we can trust with the most personal stuff.”

“Duane? Should I really talk to Toph? What are you trying to tell me? Oh. Yeah, I guess so. I just want to…. Yeah, haha, I want that too, but it’s not the main thing. I’ll talk to him. Right, don’t get my hopes up, he might not…. Right, don’t get that up either. You really are a dork, you know that? But I wouldn’t want you to be anybody but you. Thanks, Duane. See ya soon.”

Section 2

“Oh, uh, hi, Ricky. I didn’t expect you to sit here. Yeah, I kinda need to talk too. Well, what did you want to say? Oh. Oh. Sorry, I – Hey, I was asleep, how was I supposed to know? – Yes, I was asleep! OK, Fine! Say whatever you want. Don’t call me that! Just go, get the hell away from me! …Aw, shit….”

Section 3

“Duane? Hey. You heard, huh? I didn’t say anything. He sat by me in the bleachers and just…. It was awful. I guess everybody in school’s heard about it by now. Even you heard, huh? Not funny, Duane. Why put yourself down like—oh. Yeah, I guess I am feeling pretty sorry for myself. Well, what do I do? Ride it out? How can I do that? Everybody’s already gonna…. I guess you’re right, my real friends won’t believe it. You don’t think a lot of people will care? What the hell kind of thing to say is that, from a friend? Oh. They don’t know me anyway. Yeah. Great, that makes me feel sooo much better. Or they don’t care if I’m…oh, come on, Duane, who’s not gonna mind…? You. Duane, I’m an idiot, sometimes, you know that? I love you, man. I mean, I…. Heh, thanks. You sure you don’t wanna…. Ow, hey, it was a joke! Hahaha! Oof, that tickles. Dork! I gotta remember you roll fast! Duane? Thanks. I’d better go talk to Toph. I don’t want to, right now. He’s probably gonna dump me too. But I guess I’d better, before it gets any worse. Message me tonight, OK? I don’t think I’m gonna want to talk on the phone, though. Sure, I wish I could believe that. Thanks anyway, Duane. See ya.”

Section 4

“Hi, Toph. Did I wake ya? You look sorta…. Sorry, I didn’t mean to. Your mom said I could come on up. Uh, can I come in? …It’s okay, my room’s pretty messy sometimes, too. You sure you’re okay? Yeah. I wanted to talk some. Toph, I…I was gonna come over anyway. I guess you heard about today, though. Yeah, Ricky sat down by me in P.E. and said a bunch. You heard? Uh…what exactly did they say? No, I need to know, Toph. They did? They what? Aw, man, that reeks! I never…! That stupid Ricky. I never did any of that stuff they’re saying. I couldn’t have, I was asleep. Um, Toph? What do you think? You…you don’t? You do? Can I ask something? Have I ever done anything in my sleep? Please tell me. Even if it’s embarrassing. I…you’re kidding? Really? Hahah, that’s so dorky. Can I ask something else? If I ever did do anything when I’m asleep, would you still want me around? You…you wouldn’t mind? Toph, what if I was g--? You wouldn’t mind that either? That’s good, Toph, ‘cause, well, I didn’t do what Ricky and all those people are saying, but I…I like guys. I’m gay, Toph. Hahaha, I expected…I dunno what I expected, but “That’s cool” isn’t what I expected. Thanks, Toph, you’re awesome, you know that? Yeah? You think so? Huh? No, Duane and I aren’t…. Haha, he’s straight. Um, I was sort of trying to tell him I was, and he knew already. Toph…? He sort of said I should talk to you. I guess he knew you would be cool with…. Mmpf! Mmm, um, heheheh, hey! Toph! And I thought you were awesome before…! MMMM!! Oh yeah, we definitely gotta thank Duane! Right, thank him later! Mmm…you’re kinda comfy. Tasty, too. Toph? How come, if we liked each other, we didn’t tell each other already? Yeah. Yeah, I guess so. I was scared you and Duane would be just like Ricky turned out to be. Good thing we told each other now, though, huh? Mmm-hmm. Less talking. Oh, yeah!”

Section 5

“Duane! Duane, you are a genius! You rock. You roll. You…yes, thank you, I guess I am Prince of the Obvious. Know what? You are still awesome, even if you mock me. In fact, I do kinda like it when you tease me, in case I’ve never said so. Duane, that’s what I’m trying to tell ya, if you’ll…. Oh, yeah, I guess I am the one doing all the talking. Heheh. Well…Ricky may be a total jerk, but Toph…. Thank you, Duane. Thanks for being there. If you hadn’t accepted me and if you and Toph hadn’t talked—by the way, I dunno when y’all did that, but thanks!—If you hadn’t, I might never have talked to Toph and he might never have talked to me. Er, well, let’s just say, I have one best friend and one…wow, I hadn’t thought about it, but I guess…he’s my boyfriend, if he wants. I sure hope so, we sure wanted…uh, maybe I’d better not talk about that. Hahaha! Hey, careful, best friend, you pack a mean tackle. You know what? I couldn’t ask for two guys any closer to me than you and him. I don’t really care what Ricky says. Well, I do, ‘cause I lost a friend, there. But I gained a lot more. Duane, if you weren’t straight, I’d kiss you. On second thought…. Haha, sorry. I guess that was kinda out of line. Oh yeah? Thanks. Heh, I guess it does. You got me to talk. Maybe you should take your own advice, and talk to Yvette. Or do you want me to kiss you again? Hahaha! Oof, no fair! OK, OK, Uncle! Uncle, already. Yeah, thanks, Duane. Duane? What am I gonna do if my parents find out? I mean, you and Toph know, and Ricky’s shot off his mouth to the entire school, even though I didn’t do anything. I don’t get that, either. If I didn’t do anything, then why’s he so eager to say I did. I mean, won’t people…. Ohhhh. Duane, thanks for listening. Once again, you are an awesomely amazing friend, and a genius. Yeah, I know you didn’t say anything that time. You’re still a genius. See ya. No, I’m not gonna say anything tonight. I don’t think I could take any more of this roller coaster tonight. I’m goin’ home to bed. See ya Saturday.”

Section 6

“Mom, Dad, I’m home! What? No, I’m OK, I called from Toph’s and Duane’s and left messages. I’m sorry I’m a little late for supper, but I thought you’d get…. Dad, it’s OK. You’re hugging me really tight, kinda hard to breathe…. Why are y’all so worried? Why’s Mom crying? No, I said, I went over to Duane’s and Toph’s and back to Duane’s. I left y’all messages to say I’d be here a little late, but I’d be here for supper. You thought…. Omigosh! Lots of messages…. Mom, Dad, I-I-I need to sit dow….”

“Uuunnnhhh…. Hi Mom, Hi Dad. I-I guess I sorta passed out, huh? Sorry. I didn’t mean to scare ya. It’s just, it all came down at once. Did you say some people from school called? Uh…am I in trouble? Can I at least talk to you? I love you too, Mom and Dad. You…I hope you think that, after I tell you what happened. Well, can I ask what the messages said? They did? No sh--? Sorry, Mom, I didn’t mean to cuss, it just sort of—. Wow, you did, huh? Um…. Well, like I said, I went to Duane’s, then Toph’s, then Duane’s again, after school. The school even called? Duane called? Omigosh. No, it’s cool that he called. He’s great. I didn’t know he was that great. Oh yeah, what I was gonna say.”

“Uh, well, Ricky said some things at school. He said stuff I know couldn’t have happened while I was asleep, no matter what else he said. Besides, I’ve never, uh, done that. Mom? Dad? This is way embarrassing, telling you any of this. Do I have to say what he said and what other people were saying? Thanks. Yeah, it started today in P.E. Huh? No, not…um, no, nothing like that. He came over and sat in the bleachers by me between games, and he told me off. I guess some people heard, or he told ‘em, because it was all over school before the end of the day. Both Duane and Toph heard it too. No, nobody tried to do anything. I guess I was lucky. So I went to talk to them. They’re good, they were awesome. Mom and Dad? People are s-s-saying I’m gay, right? Mom? Dad? What if…? Mom, Dad? I’m gay. I didn’t do anything with Ricky. But I’m gay. I’m gay. I’m—Mom? Dad? Does this mean you really love me, or you’re going to make me say I’m not gay? Oh! No, I’m OK, I just…I was really scared you were going to hate me for how I feel inside. That’s why I’m shaking.”

“What? I—That’s—Why do you want to know that? No! Duane’s my best friend. We’ve never done anything. Not anything, ever. He’s…not like me, that way. He likes girls. And Toph, Toph is my friend too. Up until today, we were friends. Now he’s my other best friend, and he’s…we talked, today. He didn’t know about me and I didn’t know about him. He’s gay too, Mom and Dad. We…we talked and now we’re together. I know you may not like it, but he’s my other best friend and I want him to be my—boyfriend. There, I said it! Please, please don’t be mad. It’s all new.”

“Ricky’s not telling the truth. I don’t know why. But Duane is my best friend, and Toph is my best friend, and I hope a lot more. I know the timing is weird, but it’s only ‘cause Ricky’s saying stuff. I don’t know why he is. I’ve never…never done what he said. Not with Toph, either. We kissed today. I hope you’re not mad, but we did. I love you, Mom and Dad. I really do. I—What? You…did? How? I didn’t even know about Toph. Oh. You mean you knew about me? But-but how? Duane and Toph are the only ones I’ve—you don’t mean Duane told?”

“How…? Oh. Oh! Really? Can I ask you something, then? Why? Why didn’t you tell me? I’ve been scared for two years. I didn’t know anyone knew, until I said something and Duane told me he knew. I was so sca—. You-you wanted to give me the chance to tell you? But…what if I hadn’t? What if I’d never gotten the courage to tell you? What if I’d told you, and you’d hated me, like I thought—? Yes! Yes, Mom and Dad, I was that scared. I don’t know why. Maybe because of things like what happened at school today? Maybe because you didn’t talk with me, so I knew it would be OK? You were worried I might’ve run away or tried to kill myself, because of what happened today, but you didn’t realize before, how lonely and scared I’ve been, for like two years?”

“I couldn’t even tell Duane, and he’s been my best friend since we moved here. He only said, because…. You know, I’m not sure why he said. I went over to talk to him a few days ago, to try to tell him, and he told me he knew already. I—You do? You did? When? I’m sorry. I guess I just couldn’t see it before. I’m sorry I blew up, it’s just…this has been one weird day. I can’t stand what Ricky did. This is gonna be really hard to deal with. You will? You will? Toph too? You’re sure? You mean it? Duane said…?”

“Mom and Dad? I love you, and thanks. I think I need to call Duane. And Toph. Oh God, thanks, Mom and Dad, you’re the greatest. I’ll tell them. Yeah.”

Section 7

“Duane? Hi! Thank you. Why? For being you, that’s why. It was cool of you to call my parents, but they were really worried. I wish you would’ve called ‘em back to tell ‘em I was OK. You did? They didn’t say…maybe they missed it. They said the school called, and we got a lot of really bad calls from kids and a few from adults. Yeah. Yeah, it was bad. I’ve never heard my mom or dad that angry, or cuss anywhere near like that. No, not at me. Duane! I told them! They’re…they still love me. They didn’t get mad or tell me I wasn’t or couldn’t be. They…I guess they already kinda guessed. Weird, huh? Oh! But the other thing is, they like Toph, I mean, Toph and me. Duane? They said something about, you’d said something. I don’t even care what you said to ‘em. But thanks. You took a big chance. They might’ve been bad about it, to me or you or Toph, all of us. But you…you cared enough to stick up for me. Thanks, man. I really don’t know how to thank you. Huh? Hahaha! Yeah, uh-huh, chapstick. Besides, I think you’d like Yvette better. Yeah, me too. Thanks, Duane. I gotta hang up, Dad’s yellin’ about the phone minutes. Bye, see ya tomorrow.”

Section 8

“You again? Haven’t you done enough already? Do you have any idea what kinds of crap people have been leaving on my parents’ voicemail? I thought you were a friend, until yesterday. If you’ve got something to say, say it. If you want to pick a fight, the coach is right over there.—What? You called me a faggot yesterday, Ricky. You said I did things I’ve never done, ever. You said that to my face. How can I just forget about that? How?—What? It’s all over school. I dunno how many phone calls we got. You can say you didn’t tell anybody, but how can I know you didn’t, when you lied to me? It doesn’t matter anyway, all anyone had to do was overhear us, and boom, it’s all over the school. So you tell me, Ricky, how am I supposed to just forget about it and forgive you? …Yeah, I know we were friends. I thought we were. …Ricky? You’re…crying…alright, I’m listening. You tell me why….”

“Ricky? I’m sorry. This isn’t something we can just put back in the bottle or ignore. People are going to still gossip and bully me. They’ll probably start in on you, too. …Your dad did…he did…Ricky, that looks really bad.—No, yes, I’m sorry, I forgive you. Now you’re gonna go with me to the coach and the nurse, and if you freakin’ don’t…if you don’t, Ricky, do you really want to go back home to get hit like that again? No, I don’t know, but what I do know is, my folks accepted me. Duane does. Toph does. We will back you up. We were friends before. If people see we’re friends again, some of it will stop. And I know Duane and my parents will help, if I ask. All they’ve gotta do is see that, and they will. Come on, damn it.”

Section 9

“Duane! Duane! Come on, we’ve gotta go to the nurse. No! No, he didn’t; I didn’t; his dad did. Yeah, I pretty much read him the riot act. I wasn’t gonna forgive him, but then he told me what happened, and he showed me. It’s over, we’re friends again. We can figure out how to handle the other kids later. Let’s go. Thanks, Duane.”

“Toph, no, Toph, don’t! His dad…you don’t wanna see it. His dad hurt him bad. He came home and his dad had found out and…it’s really bad. He tried to apologize to me, and I wouldn’t listen, until he showed me. We’re goin’ to the nurse to report it.”

“Duane? Toph? I’m gonna ask my parents to help. I don’t know how, but somehow. I told Ricky, we’d deal with the bullies here, and…I forgave him. He lied and caused all kinds of trouble, but…nobody should have that happen to ‘em. Huh? I dunno. He didn’t say. Yeah, I told him that. That too. Yeah.”

“Dad, you’re here! Thanks, but how come they let you…? You did? You DID? Wow! What did they say? Whoa. Yeah? Dad? You could’ve said no, when I called and asked. How come you did all this for Ricky?—I love you too, Dad. Thanks. Yeah, he’s in there.”

“Dad, you mean it? That’s awesome! Thanks. Yeah, I hope he gets a good home. It’s great he won’t have to go back there.—Dad, I love you. Can the guys and I say something to Ricky before we go? Thanks.”

“Ricky? Dad told us you won’t have to go back home. He’s gonna take your case and defend you in court. I-I dunno when we’ll get to see you next, but Duane and Toph and me, we’re still your friends. Yeah, I know, but you tried to apologize, and I wouldn’t listen until I saw that. Look, I can see why you were afraid, OK? You lied and caused a lot of trouble. We’ll work that out. You didn’t deserve what he did to you. Ricky? I don’t know how you really feel. Maybe you were scared of being too close to each other. I don’t care if you’re straight or gay or whatever, alright? If you’ll be honest with me from now on, we’ll be friends again. You do, huh? That’s OK. Give it some time. You don’t have to like anybody yet. Ricky? It might be a while before you can see us again, but we’re gonna be your friends. My dad will make sure things go good for you.—Yeah, get some sleep. See you later.”

“Dad? Duane? Toph? I’m glad I have you guys. Dad? I—Yeah, me too. …Do you know when we can see him again? Really, if he wants? When will we know if they’ll let us visit? He’s gonna need friends. That long, huh? He’s gonna think we let him down. You will? Cool. OK, Dad, I’ll see you at home tonight. Duane, Toph? Thanks, guys. I couldn’t ask for better friends. Yeah, it’s not what I expected at all. This whole week hasn’t been like I expected. You know what’s funny, though? All that stuff I was worried about? It didn’t happen the way I thought it would. I thought it was all a secret, but I guess it wasn’t, at least not to my best friends. It’s even gonna turn out better for a friend I lost and gained back again. Thanks for being there.”