On his way to work two days later, Clement was still overwhelmed with gloom. Nothing about his world was good. He was so lost within himself, he didn’t even notice Special Ed walk up.
Ed has a wide smile on his face. “Wanna see my new phone?”
“Huh? Nice,” mumbled Clement. He didn’t even lift his eyes.
Ed was insistent. “You have to see what it can do. It’s amazing.”
“Yes, Ed. They’re amazing. We’ve all got one. We know. Welcome to the modern world,” said Clement with particular venom.
Ed recoiled. “I don’t know what he ever saw in you,” he said.
“Who saw what in me?”
“Emperor Don doesn’t help just anyone, you know. He must’ve seen something in you, but I can’t see it.”
Clement glared at Special Ed. “Are you trying to make me feel worse than I already do?”
“I’m trying to help you,” exclaimed Special Ed.
“What’re you talking about?”
“Look at my stupid phone, you idiot!”
Ed shoved his phone in Clement’s face. On it was a video of Alabama Hanna tickling Durable Mike. He was laughing hysterically, yelling ‘Stop! You’re gonna make me pee!’ Clement could barely process what he was seeing.
“Where did you get this?” Clement demanded.
Instead of answering him, Special Ed stuffed the phone in his pocket.
“Do you know what that video means?” asked Clement.
“According to my calculations, it means a couple of things,” replied Ed.
Clement looked into the eyes of Special Ed. There was a steely determination that Clement hadn’t seen before.
“This is the video that’ll save Emperor Don,” stated Ed, coldly. “I’ll give it to you on one condition.”
“Anything. Name it. Whatever you want,” blurted Clement. He leaped at the chance to get out of his impossible situation.
“Good. I’ll give it to you as long as you promise to leave the city,” said Special Ed.
Clement laughed. “You got me. Good one.”
The dour expression on Special Ed’s face told Clement this was no joke.
“Why?” asked Clement.
“Because betrayal has a high cost,” explained Special Ed.
The judgment caught Clement off guard. “Don’t treat me like I’m evil.”
Special Ed tapped on his phone. “I’m not calling you evil. I’m calling you selfish.”
The blood drained from Clement’s face. “I was just trying to protect people. I was wrong, but my intentions were good.”
“You can do all the wrongs for the right reasons and you’re still wrong,” said Special Ed.
Suddenly Clement’s eyes brightened. “You’re doing the same thing. Let me ask you. if I refuse to leave, does that mean you’re going to bury that video and keep Emperor Don locked away? Who’s selfish then?”
Special Ed shook his head in disappointment. “You don’t get it. Either way Emperor Don’s going free. The only choice left is whether you go down with George or not.”