“It’s just a means to an end, that’s all,” Ed said aloud, but more to himself than to his wife, who was sitting next to him on the sofa.
“You always use that expression and I don’t really know what you mean,” Karen responded.
“What are you, stupid or something?” Ed lashed out.
Tears began to form in Karen’s eyes. “Why do you have to say mean things like that, Ed?”
“You’re right,” Ed said softly. “I’m sorry, babe. That was a mean thing for me to say.”
“Thanks, I accept your apology,” Karen said. “Now tell me, what does a means to an end mean?”
“It means it’s something you do only to produce or achieve a desired result,” Ed explained. “It’s like when you have to work at a job you hate, but you have to do it in order to put food on the table. The job is the means and the end is that you have enough to eat.”
“Okay, I understand that, but what were you referring to just now when you said it?”
Ed sighed. “Sometimes, Karen, you gotta do what you gotta do and the end justifies the means.”
“So does that mean that a positive outcome excuses or justifies any wrongs committed in order to attain it?” Karen asked, as a concerned expression appeared on her face.
“Don’t worry, babe,” Ed said. “I’m not planning to do anything unethical, immoral, or technically illegal.”
“Then what is this means you are talking about,” Karen asked, “and to what end.”
“Well, babe, it was going to be a surprise,” Ed said, “but since you can’t seem to let this go, I’ll tell you.”
“Tell me what, Ed?”
Ed leaned in close to Karen and whispered in her ear.
Karen jumped back. “Oh my God, Ed, no!”
Written for Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt. We are asked to use the word “mean(s)” with or without the “s,” any way we’d like.