Afternoon Inquisition

AI: Burying Bodies

Each Wednesday’s Afternoon Inquisition is provided by the previous week’s Comment o’ the Week winner. Today’s question comes courtesy of user Mark Hall:

It’s 2030 on Tuesday evening and I’m headed to bed. I was up until 0230 on the phone with a friend, and had to be out the door by 0720 to make it to work by 0800. Thus, I am tired, a bit cranky, and a lil loopy. But, she’s a friend, so I stayed up, and I’ll likely do so again. I don’t know, however, about the old adage “A friend will help you move, while a real friend will help you move bodies.” Not sure I’ve got anyone I’d be willing to engage in necroportation for. That leads us to my actual Inquisition:

Hasta dónde ir para un amigo?

Because no one expects the Spanish Inquisition. Alternatively:

How far would you go for a friend?

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear daily at 3pm ET.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor.

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  1. Friends are, bar, say, organs, the most important thing you can have. I don’t think I could put a limit on how far I’d go for some of my closest friends, mainly because I dare say they’d say the same about me.

  2. I have very few close friends and a smattering of immediate family members. In all cases, I’d commit a felony for them. If there was a body to be buried, and that was the best course of action, I’d help. But probably not bury, because there are better ways to hide a body.

  3. My friend is a lesbian who wants to get married to her partner. Unfortunately, such practices are not legal in my state. However, I have promised her that if gay marriage is legalized, I will immediately take time off work to be her witness no matter what the circumstances.

  4. Soy capaz de ir hasta… Arizona! Que lo odio. Lo mas lejos que he ido para una amiga fue Holanda. En serio, no puedo hacer algo ilegal por un amigo si no puedo hacerlo por mi mismo.

  5. Depends on the friend, and the frequency of contact.

    One of my oldest friends has kind of sequestered himself recently, and I haven’t heard a peep out of him for a couple of years. He doesn’t answer phone calls, won’t reply to invitations to regular or irregular gatherings, and so on. In his defense, he is really busy with a new job that has buried him in work. Recently his wife has contacted me on two occasions for “do a friend a solid” kind of things (her intention was to get us to be able to spend time together, while doing work) and yet because of the recent distance, I refused on both occasions. They were both last second, highly inconvenient kinds of things, and I kind of think that he needs to build up the friendship again before I’d do something like that.

    On the other hand, another of my friends who I see at least once a week in the context of our local gaming group, can ask anything of me and I will drop what I’m doing and help, no matter how unpleasant / inconvenient. We’ve often joked about the “bury a body” situation, and I think that we would go to that level if needed.

    Not that we’d ever need to. Eh heh. Heh.

  6. If I agreed that such action was truly deserved, I’d hit someone in the face for a good friend, though first I’d encourage them to do it themselves. It’d be more satisfying for them than watching me do it, I’d think…

  7. I won’t do anything illegal, but other than I’ll do pretty much anything for a friend. Heck, I’d do pretty much anything to help a complete stranger if it doesn’t mean putting myself at risk.

    Sometimes you can make great friends by helping them through a crisis. My current best friend was only an acquaintance and classmate until she turned to me for help with a crisis.

  8. Bobby Heenan said it best – A friend in need is a pest.

    So, I guess I’d help them bury the body. Then I’d lead the cops to it a few hours later so I could claim the reward money.

  9. A Spanish Inquisition? !No lo vi eso!

    I can’t make a blanket statement about how far I’d be willing to go for a friend, nor any specific friend. If it meant me compramising my morals for them, then I’d half to part ways with them.

    Now, I’ll split hairs like hell. I will answer the question as stated. So you’ve asked if I’ve seen them. Well, I did just get off the phone with them, but I didn’t make visual contact with them, therefore, a valid answer would be “No”.

  10. @AmateurScientist: Prude :P. It’s not officially dating until the talk. And I’m not sure I would’ve had the talk before that point.

    I’m fine with illegal. Or travel, if I have enough money to afford it (not much I can do about that). All for cooperation. Otherwise, when I get my own necroportation situation, I’ll have to carry the bastard myself. Loyalty and duty, I guess.

    En todo caso, sería “¿Hasta dónde llegarías por un amigo?”. Y yo diría que muy, muy lejos. No sé si a la cárcel, pero si hay que desmembrar un cuerpo y echarlo en aqua regia, se hace. Siempre y cuando no me muera en el proceso, que después de eso no puedo ayudar a nadie (ni me pueden ayudar) . Además, como dice la canción del Gran Combo, “después de muerto, no se puede gozar”.

  11. Pretty far. Heck, I’ll go pretty far for a stranger who asks me nicely. I can’t really see any of my friends needing any necroportation-related assistance, though.

  12. Things I’ve done for friends over the years:
    Lied – done
    Stayed up all night – done
    Called in sick to work – done
    Lied to cops – done
    Steal – done
    Blow job – done
    Loaned money not expecting it back – done
    Etc, etc, etc

    Nothing truly bad, except – I do know where there is a very deep hole and all he has to do is say the word and his ex-wife goes on a permanent vacation. Bwahahahahahaha!

  13. Move bodies, hell no. They get body problems and don’t want the police involved they’re not people I want to be friends with any more. Same goes for “storing a package” or “give this to a friend of mine when you get to New York”.

    I have however helped the same friend move twice in the same summer. The second time he was desperate since all his other friends had already helped out twice and all had other plans for that weekend.

  14. I actually helped a friend move today…during a snowstorm. That’s going pretty far. No body moving, though (that quote/joke did actually come up today). Friends could probably get a lot more from me than they’ve ever asked. In general, I think more people will do more than people expect. The simple act of asking carries great social weight.

  15. @OnlyCheryl:

    You are the best. friend. evar! And my new very bestest friend!

    I have done loads for friends, including selling some of my most prized possessions to pay fines to keep them out of jail. I would totally help some of my best friends hide bodies. Actually, I’d even help them kill and dismember them. I’d even be willing to help them find a pig farm…then I’d move to Venezuela, safe from extradition.

  16. I’ve always thought your spouse should be your best friend. With that in mind, and in the vein of @emma‘s response – I agreed to get married in the Catholic Church.

    Everything else is not friendship – It’s gathering blackmail material for when you are the one in need and have to have some leverage.

  17. I tend to offend friends and don’t have a lot. But the few I have? Bury the body and drive them across a border.

    But there are a lot of mundane, everyday things I won’t do for friends.

  18. My best friend is the one who I’d do anything for. Namely because she introduced me to watching doctor who and the yummy David Tennant.
    I wudn’t kill anyone for her but I’d be willing to help her steal something for her art school art project or travel many hours to do our related halloween costumes (silent hill! me as rose, her as cybil) next year if I go to school in Boston.
    I’d give her my own shirt if she somehow lost hers so that her giant boobs wouldn’t cause car crashes.
    Oh! If I had a ticket to wales to see the filming of Torchwood/doctor who and I absolutely couldnt find any way to stow her away in my suitcase or find another seat I would give her my ticket. Unless Tennant was in that episode by some stroke of the cruel fates (i know he’s never filming as the doctor again probably, shut up). I care that much.

  19. Completely dependent on the nature of the friendship, the given circumstance and what the potential down side is for me or my family. I expect I might do any number of things for some family members or close friends, but the notion that one should do something can lead to all kinds of problems that may not be worth the risk. If a friend or family member committed a crime against a person such as an injury hit and run, don’t tell me because I’m quite likely to turn your sorry ass in.

    As for moving, I stopped helping people do that over ten years ago. Seriously, my back is more important than saving someone the bucks to hire a mover or a hungry college student to move stuff. I do have a truck I’ll loan if you ask nicely and put some gas in it.

  20. For my children I would do essentially anything that I didn’t consider unethical. For a SO I would do essentially anything that wasn’t unethical and didn’t jeopardize the welfare of my children by risking the health/life/freedom of their parents (including me, their dad). For a friend I would do essentially anything that wasn’t unethical and which didn’t jeopardize me or my relationship with my SO. For an acquaintance I would limit what I would do to stuff that didn’t cost too much or take too much time. I would help an acquaintance move. I would not help a stranger move, but I would still do things for them, I donate blood regularly which goes to strangers and it costs me to drive to the blood donor center. I would donate bone marrow and am signed up for it. I am an organ donor in the case of my death. I would be a live organ donor for one of my children and maybe for a SO, maybe not for someone who was just a friend.

  21. I have different levels of friendship with people. Many of the people who believe they are my friends are not, and its a fiction I don’t correct because it is convenient for me.

    But my handful of true friends? I’d say conspiracy and felony are totally reasonable.

  22. What kind of friend would ask you to commit a crime for them? My best friend is my dog and I spend all day with her and go on regular walks (she is impressed even it you aren’t). I help people all the time, I am the go-to guy for anything that needs to be fixed or emergencies but, sadly, I have no human friends.

  23. @Niffer: The old joke goes, “a friend is a person who will help you move, a good friend is a person who will help you move a body.” Seems a lot of people here have a lot of good friends:-)
    I’m not so sure I have have any friend “that good.”

  24. I have a few friends I’d move bodies for, and I think they’d move bodies for me.

    Illegality wouldn’t be an issue, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have limits. I can think of only a few friends on the “Blowjob-Level” and that’s only if it meant saving their lives or something. I’d be hesitant to donate any vital organs, but if I only had a minute to make the decision, I might do so. In a non-life-threatening situation, I wouldn’t do anything involving large spiders or any sort of dangerous animals.

    Those are just a matter of my comfort zone. In principle, I don’t think I’d do anything that harmed another person directly. So, I’d help bury the bodies, but I wouldn’t get involved with the murder. I’m sure the courts will believe me if I say that.

  25. I’ve yet to have a friend ask me for something that I wouldn’t (and didn’t) do. I don’t think I have a friend that I haven’t helped move. I’ve loaned some of them thousands of dollars.

    Move a body? Probably (though as someone noted above, there are better ways to get rid of one). Organ donation…probably not.

  26. I used to think I’d stand up for my buddies no matter what. And then I found out that I couldn’t.

    Case in point, a friend and I were working together in South Korea and she was arguing a lot with our boss. I stood up for her a few times, smoothed things over etc. But one time when they were arguing I could see she was being completely unreasonable and just couldn’t support her in her arguments.
    She seemed pretty pissed off at me for a while ( a lawyer by training, I think she may have thought the truth was expendable as long as the point was won) but we both worked out our contracts and still keep in touch.

    My point, if its ethical I’d do anything, nevermind this law-of-man bullshit.
    If a body needed burying, count me in. If you a blatant psychopath on a killing spree, drop me off at the next intersection!

  27. It really depends on how good a friend I have.

    There’s only two I know in person. Although I don’t see them much since I moved back home, I do still feel a connection.

    I do know this; I believe that I would give my life if it would save theirs.

  28. Hmm, I don’t really have any close friends anymore. Theoretically I would commit a crime for a friend, but it’s going to take some serious convincing to get me to participate in the burial of an innocent person, unless maybe it’s Scott Stapp. But then, as far as I’m concerned that man has blood on his hands… the blood of all the good music which was destroyed by his mere existence.

    Now where was I? Ah yes, would I take a bullet for a close friend? Certainly.

  29. @Imrryr: Scott Stapp. Argh! I would bury him in a second, whether a friend asked me or not. Throw in Kirk Cameron and you’ve got two-for-one deal.

    I have a few close friends who I’d do almost anything for, short of murder, and I have. But, just in case anyone on this site is in law enforcement, I plead the fifth.

    The psychologist William Damon distinguishes between a Level II and Level III friend: Level II is based on *trust* and any betrayal of that trust ends the friendship, but Level III is based on *loyalty* and intimacy. I like to say that a Level III friend “knows where the bodies are buried.” I’ve got at least two of those…Level III friends, I mean. Heh, heh. ;-)

  30. As long as I did not completely disagree with what they were doing, I would do anything for a best friend. Crimes really don’t bother me as long as they are justified.

  31. It really does depend, but I truly think I would dispose of bodies if necessary. However, I have a feeling I’d be the one calling in that favor first. :)

    Now, I wouldn’t help a friend dispose a body of somebody random that they just snapped and decided to kill for no apparent reason. I should think, however, that any of my friends would have a very good reason to get themselves in that kind of mess.

    I think my friends are such because they would never ask me to do anything ridiculous…

  32. The people I consider “real friends” (Damon Level III, thanks garrison22) are people who I trust that if they had a body that needed burying, they’d also have a damn good reason behind it.

  33. I have a friend who suffered postpartum depression, and when she went to her doctor for help, he instead gave her meds, talked her out of going into therapy, and seduced her. She told her husband two weeks later, and the doctor blamed everything on her. The medical board slapped him on the wrist, and everyone in town hates her.

    I have told her I will gladly go to his house, and fork his entire yard.

    She, being equally a good friend, has offered to help me pop the inflatable Jesus of my “Christian” neighbor who was spreading lies about my son being crazy. Yes, the bitch is so evil she is spreading gossip about a 7 year old suffering from anxiety.

  34. @heidiho: Heck, I’m not even your friend (currently) and I’d do those things in a heartbeat. There is nothing worse than a professional, in whom we put our trust, acting in such a despicable manner.

    Fork it!

  35. She should sue his ass off. There is no justification for a therapist and patient in that situation for the therapist to have a sexual relationship with the patient.

    His insurance company will settle because they know they will lose in court.

  36. Does “burying bodies” even go far enough? I have an agreement with one of my best friends that if I’m ever being kept alive purely by machines, brain dead with no hope of recovery, he’ll end me.

    On the other hand, if he was lying, I guess I’d never know it. Maybe that’s his out.

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