Is it possible to start writing a story, put it aside for a bit, and then mostly forget you wrote it in the first place? If this tale is any indication, the answer is “yes.”
As far as I recall, “The Good Person” had no particular inspiration. I vaguely remember starting it, but I don’t recall why or even when. I do know what I wanted to say: When we convince ourselves that we’re “essentially good,” we tend to hand-wave away the ugly truths, the dark secrets, that every person has. We shouldn’t dwell on the ugliness, but we ought to face it and deal with it.
Somewhere along the line I started to tell this story, grew disinterested, and put it aside—until I started perusing my stories for Random Precision. I stumbled across this one, read what I’d abandoned, and was drawn back to it. What if the dark side of ourselves challenged the “good” side overtly? What if we came to realize, as Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor opined, “life is a pile of good things and bad things,” and we need to face them both to fully understand who we are.
“The Good Person” takes a beat from “The Enemy Within,” an episode of the original Star Trek. A transporter accident splits Captain Kirk into good and evil versions, and they both learn that they cannot exist apart. Admittedly, that probably doesn’t reflect a Christian view—Christianity is about being redeemed from the darkness. But what I do think tracks with the faith is the idea that one must recognize, confess and deal with it.
This story asks some hard questions of the reader. Maybe too hard. Maybe that’s why my early memories of this story are hazy—perhaps deliberately so.