And I didn’t even get convicted


Convicted for saving the world

I had borne guilt and despair about the fate of our over-populated and polluted planet for many years. Then in a waking moment, I saw how I, a lowly middle-aged nobody, could save the Earth, her people and all her precious life.

A gathering of world leaders was my chance. I would evade the security cordon, infiltrate their private meetings and convince them of the need for urgent action with scientific facts and figures and impassioned speech.

Yes, there would be consequences. I would be arrested, convicted and spend, long lonely years behind bars. And I would not see my children grow into adults. But the conviction and jail term would be worth it to know that I had saved the planet for them. And their children and their children’s children.

I smiled and made my plan.

Yet when the day came, I did nothing. I watched the world leaders on the TV news, pledging more “economic growth” and “security cooperation”. But with no mention of poverty, pollution or climate change.

I lay in bed that night, sleepless, still wracked with guilt and despair. I didn’t save the Earth that day.

And I didn’t even get convicted.

© 2014 Robert Fairhead 

N.B. You might link to read more of my microfiction on Tall And True. And listen to this story on the Three Minute Microfiction episode from the Tall And True Short Reads podcast.

This short story on “guilt” was written for a competition run by my local public broadcaster radio station. It had to be 200 words or less and end with the line, “and I didn’t even get convicted”. I received a warm thanks for story, but I didn’t even get selected!

Share Your Writing on



Welcome to the blog posts and selected writing of Robert Fairhead. A writer and editor at the Tall And True writers' website, Robert also writes and narrates episodes for the Tall And True Short Reads storytelling podcast. In addition, his book reviews and other writing have appeared in print and online media, and he's published several collections of short stories. Please contact Robert for further details.