The Fake Friend and Covid-19

Alan J. Schwarz
4 min readJun 23, 2020


When Josh Fredil was growing up his Mother often whispered in his ear ‘’You’re judged by the friends you keep, so be careful who you let in your inner circle.’’ The message resonated.

All through High School and University, Josh was extremely selective about who he hung out with. He never wanted to get involved with anyone who could cause him any kind of grief. He never did drugs, he never over indulged, and he never did anything that could tarnish his family name or his reputation.

Through the years he was friends with a guy named Noah Frankel. Noah’s parents and his parents had been friends for as long as he could remember. As kids they played together but they took divergent paths when it came to University and life.

Josh became the owner of a successful Advertising Agency and Noah went into Management at a multi-national Insurance Agency and had become a Senior Vice President.

They talked occasionally but they were more associates than friends. When Noah was getting married, he apologized to Josh saying he didn’t have enough room to invite everybody he would’ve liked.

Nine years after the Wedding, Noah contacted Josh and said he’d like to get back on the friendship track. Noah had a couple of kids and wasn’t getting along very well with his wife. He all of a sudden wanted to talk and get together with Josh on a regular basis.

At first Josh thought it was fine, but after a while he felt like his life was being taken over. Noah would call and talk about how depressed he was, and how he was not sure about his life course. He was satisfied with his corporate life, but his home life was a disaster. He once talked about feeling depressed on a regular basis and it took Josh an hour for Noah to agree to seek professional help, as he wasn’t a psychiatrist.

About a year after the intensive ‘’We’re Best Friends’’ began, Noah called to say he and his wife were doing better and he wouldn’t be calling or getting together as he was re-devoting himself to making her happy. It was music to Josh’s ears. Amazingly, Josh started achieving more and it was like a heavy rock had been lifted off his shoulders.

When Covid-19 reared its ugly head, Josh was surprised to receive a call from Noah ‘’Dude, isn’t this Corona virus ugly. Do you know how many people have died in Italy and Europe? China is a mess. ‘’

It then started everyday, Noah would call or send emails about what a disaster Covid-19 was. It was unrelenting. Mentally it started taking a huge toll on him. There was no break, Noah was like a dog with a bone, sending non-stop negative news.

Josh had time to think about things and realized that Noah was making the situation worse not better. Most of his agency’s clients were small businesses, and two thirds of them had cancelled contracts as their organizations were not able to handle demand or were closed. Financially, for Josh Fredil it was a disaster. He had no idea how long the epidemic would last, and getting new business was next to impossible.

The barrage of negative emails was starting to become something that Josh dreaded. He’d open up his inbox, take a quick look at the material sent by Noah (More people dying, Can’t stop the virus, Second Wave to be bigger than first) and he automatically hit delete.

Josh would dread opening his inbox because it would be guaranteed to have emails from Noah filled with gloom and doom. He’d do a cursory glance at subject titles. ‘’Bodies piling up in New York, Second Wave to be bigger than the first, China lied about numbers of dead and dying, North America expected to lose at least two million people to Covid-19 before vaccine introduced.’’ The emails were all filled with horrific content and Josh had enough.

He sent a note to Noah, ‘’Dear Noah, please stop sending me all the graphic and apocalyptic emails. I am able to watch the news and have processed this information and having the emails you’re sending does not help the situation. I’d be pleased to discuss normal things, but I want to stay away from the Covid shit, I’ve had enough of it.’’

Noah responded ‘’I invested in a new company with some of my friends. I’m thinking that after Covid-19 is over that I might take my family and move to New Zealand.’’

That was it, that was the last time during the Covid-19 pandemic that Josh Fredil heard from Noah Frankel. Not a ‘’How are you doing? Not a ‘’Is your business okay?’’ Nothing.

During a sunny afternoon while sitting in his backyard, Josh thought about life and about friends. He thought a lot about family and especially about his parents. They always had given him sage advice which he tried to follow. When it came to Noah Frankel he had let his guard down. He should have listened to his Mom. He allowed a fake friend or associate into his inner circle. It had been a mistake, but he wouldn’t allow himself to get duped again. He wished Noah Frankel and his family well, but as far as he was concerned they were already living in New Zealand with no way to communicate. He didn’t need bad news, and he didn’t need phonies to encroach on his life.



Alan J. Schwarz

Alan Schwarz loves life. He is the founder of JAMS Productions, a television production company based in Toronto . His passion is writing.