That's What Friends Are For

"Hi honey," he said faking sincerity when she answered the phone.
"Hi," Kathy said, "are you running late?"
"Yeah, a little, but I've had a really rough day. I wanted to let you know that I'm going to the range for an hour or so."
"That's fine, I'll keep your dinner warm for you. Is everything all right? You sound a little strange."
"I'm fine, just a bad day, that's all. I'll see you when I get home."
"Okay, I love you"
"I love you too," Steve said with tears in his eyes. He hung up the phone, wiped his face on a towel at the bar, and left the office. He had planned to go straight to his car; however, he made his way into the little sports bar just around the corner.
"Rough day?" the bartender asked as Steve slammed back his third shot of tequila.
"Yes, it was," he said setting the glass on the bar. "Another, please."
"Okay, but four is the bar limit," he said pouring the drink. "So what's the problem? Someone run over your cat?"
Steve wasn't amused. He tipped back the shot and felt the drink burn its way down to his belly. "I found out that my wife is cheating on me."
"Damn, I'm sorry to hear that. Here, have one on me," he said pouring another shot glass full. "So what are you gonna do?"
"Thanks," Steve said downing his last drink. He was at the point where he couldn't even taste the booze anymore. "I really don't know what to do. What would you do?"
"I don't know. I'd probably kill the slut."
Steve reached down and put his hand on the handle of the gun. "What did you say? We were talking about my wife. What did you say about my wife?"
"Whoa, take it easy pal. You asked what I would do if I were in your place. I just answered you."

"But you called my wife a slut!"
"If she's cheating on you, that's exactly what she is."
Steve pulled the gun out of his waistband as he stood. He chambered a round and pointed it at the bartender's face. "I won't let you talk about her like that!" he yelled.
The few patrons in the bar stopped what they were doing and watched the scene unfold. The bartender took a step back and put up his hands. "Hey, I'm sorry man, really, I didn't mean it. Just put the gun down and everything will be cool. Come on, I'll even buy you another drink."
"Fuck you!" Steve screamed and pulled the trigger.
The bullet entered the bartender's face just below his nose and came out through the thick blonde hair on the back of his head. It shattered a half-full bottle of Jim Beam, spider-webbed the mirror behind the bar, and embedded itself in the wall. Blood, hair, brain, and small pieces of his skull splattered against the bottles and mirror behind him. He fell to the floor.
A woman with wavy red hair screamed and dropped to the floor. A young couple sitting in the corner booth slid down and hid under the table. Steve tucked the gun back into his pants and calmly walked out of the bar.

When Steve reached his Mercedes, he opened the door and sat behind the wheel. He picked up his car phone and dialed.
"This better be important," the voice said.
"I'm in deep shit, man. I need your help."
"Jack, who is it? Turn off the phone and come back to bed," a woman's voice said from the background.
"Steve, is that you?"
"Yeah, I just killed someone, a bartender. I don't know what to do. You have to help me."
"Try to calm down. Get to your house as fast as you can, I'll meet you there. Then we'll figure out what to do."
"Right, as fast as I can. I'll be there in about half an hour."
"I'll be there waiting"
"And Jack," he paused, "thanks again. I owe you big." Steve hung up the phone and put the car in gear.
Steve turned right out of the parking lot onto Connecticut Ave. He looked at the clock on the stereo. It was 8:10; he knew the D.C. traffic wouldn't be bad this late in the evening. He could definitely make it home in less than half an hour.
He realized that he was shaking. Taking deep breaths, he tried to calm himself. He reached down and opened his CD case. Glancing quickly between the road and the case, he flipped through the plastic pages that held the disks. He found what he was looking for, Elton John's Greatest Hits Volume One. It had always relaxed him after a hard day at work in the past. He slid it out of the plastic and into the stereo. He forwarded to the track that he wanted. The opening bars of "Your Song" came smoothly pouring out of the speakers.
As Steve relaxed he noticed that he still had the gun in his hand. He reached over to set the gun in the passenger seat. The car bottomed out in a pothole. His hand bounced off the seat, the gun popped out of his hand and fell to the floor. He checked the road and leaned over to pick it up. As soon as he retrieved it, he tried to sit up. The task was more difficult that he thought. He used the steering wheel to help himself sit up. The wheel turned. The Mercedes swerved to the right.
A homeless man was standing on the corner waiting to cross the street when he saw the car swerve toward him. There was no time to react. The bumper hit him first, just below the knees. His crotch was then slammed by the hood, making his body parallel to the hood of the car. Everything seemed to be going in slow motion. Steve watched the man carefully. He was expecting to see him curl up, bounce off the windshield, and fly over the car like he had seen so many times on television. That did not happen. The man's head hit the windshield and he speared through it. First the head, then his shoulders, and he finally stopped with the windshield just above his waist.
Steve screamed but was never able to touch the brake. He steered himself back onto the road and kept driving. He had to get home as fast as he could. He looked at the man lying half in his car. He saw the blood dripping from the gash in the man's forehead onto the light gray upholstery of the passenger seat. He saw the jagged edge of the broken glass digging into the man's belly. What he did not see was that the man was still breathing.
Steve raced home, running all the yellow lights and barely slowing to check for traffic for the red lights. He crossed the border from Washington D.C. into Maryland. With only ten miles left to go, he floored the accelerator. He drove past the Chevy Chase Country Club and turned left onto Bradley Lane, still driving faster than he probably should have been.
The man's legs shifted first to one side of the car, then to the other. His abdomen slid across the broken glass and back, which opened his belly and spilled the contents onto the floor of the Mercedes. The sharp, sudden pain jolted the man awake. He looked down and saw his intestines hanging down to a pile on the floor.
"Please mister, the pain is too much. Please, kill me," he said with a weak, shaky voice.
"Oh shit!" Steve yelled, "I thought you were already dead." He saw the heap of guts on his floor mat and vomited out the driver's side window.
"Please mister," the man repeated.
Steve thought about the pain he must be going through and put the barrel of the berretta to the man's temple.
"Do it mister," he whispered at first. Then he yelled, "Do it now!"
Steve fired, the man instantly went limp. The bullet shattered the glass in the passenger door. Small, white pieces of brain speckled the door. Steve began to shake uncontrollably.
He turned right into the u-shaped driveway of his large colonial home. He saw that Jack was waiting for him on the front steps when he stopped the car.
"What the fuck? Is that the bartender? I didn't mean for you to bring him home with you," Jack said.
"It's not the bartender," Steve said getting out of the car. "It's just some guy I accidentally hit on the way home." He looked down and saw that he was still holding the gun.
Jack looked in the passenger window and saw the man's intestines on the floor. "Oh man, that's disgusting!"
"I know, that's why he asked me to kill him," Steve said coldly.
"He was still alive? Shit, Steve, you're in some serious trouble." He walked over to Steve who was sitting on a step hugging his knees and slowly rocking back and forth.
"You think I don't know that!" he yelled.
"You're shaking like a leaf. Give me that gun, I don't want you accidentally shooting a hole in my ass." Steve handed him the gun. "What were you planning on doing with this anyway?"
"After you left, I called Kathy and told her I was going to the range. That was a lie. I was hoping she would call that guy in the pictures to have him come over," he said pulling the envelope out of his pocket. "I was going to catch them, and kill him."
"Good plan, what happened?"
"I stopped in that sports bar on the corner and had a few shots of tequila."
"Say no more, you never could handle that shit."
"Did you find out who the man in the pictures is?"
"No, I told you it would be a couple of days. But whoever it is, the guy's got money."
"What makes you say that?"
"Let me see those pictures again," Jack said. Steve handed him the envelope. Jack pulled the pictures out and leafed through them. "Here, look at this one. Look at the guy's watch and wedding ring."
Steve took the picture from Jack and studied it. He couldn't believe what he was seeing. "Did you ever see this guy's face?"
"No," Jack replied, "I only saw him from the back about 50 yards away."
Steve stepped up onto the porch to get a better look at the photo. Jack followed. In the brightness of the porch light, Jack could see the color drain from his friend's face.
"Jesus Steve, you look like you've seen a ghost."
"A ghost," he said looking up from the photo. His face turned from white to red almost instantly. "No, I haven't seen a ghost. I've seen two dead men, one of whom is still in my car. And they're dead because you're a fucking idiot!"
"Don't blame me, I ain't the one that lost it and started killing people."
"No, but you are the one that made me lose it. Take a good look at this picture," he said shoving the photo at Jack.
Jack stared at it for a while, and then he looked at Steve, who was holding up his left hand. "Oh shit," Jack said as it dawned on him.
"Oh shit is right," Steve said furiously, "that's me!"