Marriage and Friendship
By Joseph Logsdon
Arnold Walsh had committed a horrible crime. He tried to run, but sadly, his emotional pain wouldn't allow him to escape judgment. Not knowing what to do, Arnold decided to contact his closest friend. He hoped that, with any luck, his friend would help him. One dark night, Peter Hammond agreed to meet Arnold at an inexpensive restaurant. From the beginning, Peter knew that his friend was suffering, but what he didn't know, was that he was also mentally unbalanced. Hoping to calm him down, Peter decided to pay for Arnold's drink.
"Really, you don't have to do that," Arnold stated as he slowly drank his life away.
"I insist," Peter replied.
"Do you remember what I told you on the phone?"
"Frankly, I didn't hear a word," he answered.
"You were stuttering, after all," Peter laughed.
"Peter, this isn't a joke!"
"Okay, I understand," he replied.
"I've done a terrible thing," Arnold whimpered.
"Oh, come on, I'm sure it wasn't that bad."
"I killed my wife," Arnold confessed.
"You're joking, right?"
"No," he answered.
"Well, how do you expect me to help you?"
"I didn't call you because I wanted you to help me, I called you because I wanted to say that I'm sorry," he stated.
"Sorry? Sorry for what?"
"Maybe, if we had known each other as children, we could've been better friends. As I grew older, I became very cynical, so cynical that I lost the ability to relate to people. I know, this sounds corny, but it's true. Now, just because I'm cynical, doesn't mean that I never cared about my wife. Believe me, I loved her, but that didn't stop me from strangling the life out of her. Now, you have to understand, she wasn't as innocent as she was pretending to be."
"What do you mean?"
"She was having an affair," he cried.
"I don't know, she wouldn't say," he answered.
"Well, how do you know that she was telling the truth?"
"Why would she lie about a thing like that?"
"I was just speculating, that's all," Peter stated.
"Well, the next time you speculate, make sure that you understand what you're talking about," Arnold grunted.
"Hey, calm down, I was only trying to help," Peter stated.
"I'm sorry, I've had a very bad day."
"So, what are you going to do?"
"Well, I guess I'll have to run," he answered.
"Where will you go?"
"Believe me, if I knew, I would tell you," Arnold stated.
"Is there anything that I can do?"
"No," he answered.
"Are you sure?"
"You know, every second, I feel that I'm being punished. Sometimes, it seems like things will get better, but, then again, luck was never on my side. People, at the end of the day, are very predictable. They follow the crowd, even when the crowd is wrong. My wife, believe it or not, tried to follow the crowd, but I wouldn't let her. She blamed me for being a poor, worthless loser! Finally, after years of being tortured and humiliated, I decided that I couldn't take it anymore."
"You're wrong, people aren't as predictable as they seem," Peter stated.
"What do you mean?"
"Well, for example, did you know that your wife was fucking me?"
"Peter, don't joke about that," Arnold replied.
"For the last time, I'm not joking," Peter laughed.
"Are you saying, that all this time, you were the man fucking my wife?"
"Wow, you catch on fast, don't you?"
"I'll kill you," Arnold exclaimed as he grabbed Peter by the throat.
Suddenly and without warning, a police officer entered the building. Regardless of the officer's presence, Arnold continued to strangle Peter.
"Did you call the police?"
"Yes," Peter answered.
"Just for that, I'll make you suffer twice as much," Arnold stated.
Before he could do anymore, the police officer pulled out a gun. Instead of rotting in prison, Arnold decided to die on his own terms. Knowing that he was doomed, Arnold attempted to run, but, before he could make it to the exit, a bullet entered his brain. Arnold was, without a doubt, dead.
"Well, I have to admit, he sure knew how to make an exit," Peter laughed.