WEDNESDAY: Friend

BY ROBERT P. BISHOP

Copyright is held by the author.

THE KNOCKING sounded again on the door. David’s mind cleared and he lifted his legs, saw he still had feet, and rolled off the couch. He looked through the spyhole in the door; Carter Jensen’s worried face, his nose magnified into a huge and ridiculous-looking blob by the spy-hole lens, stared back at him. David opened the door. Carter Jensen stepped inside.

“What the hell, Carter?” David closed the door.

Carter sat down on the couch. “Diane and I broke up. I need a drink. You got anything?”

“Wine.” David went into the kitchen and returned with a bottle of red and two glasses. He poured and handed a glass to Carter then sat down on a chair opposite the couch and waited for Carter to speak.

Carter looked at the floor. “I don’t know why we broke up. I didn’t want to but then bam! Just like that, it was over.” He took a small sip of wine then wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.

“Yeah, well, those things happen,” said David. He took a drink and set the glass next to the bottle on the table by his chair. The music of Tim Janis still played.

“I thought we had something. I thought it would last. We loved each other.” Carter gave David a weak smile.

“What happened?”

“We got into an argument. It wasn’t anything, really, just a dumb argument over that party we went to last weekend.”

“Frankie’s party?”

“Yeah.” Carter rolled the wine glass between his hands.

“It’s too bad you and Diane split. I like her. She’s a good person.”

Carter laughed. “But it’s over now.”

“Are you moving out or is Diane going to find another place?”

“I’m staying in the apartment.” Carter took another small sip of wine. “Diane already left.”

“Jesus, Carter, that was quick. I didn’t know you two were having trouble.”

Carter laughed again. “We weren’t, then the argument started.”

“What the hell, Carter?” David looked at his watch and thought about asking Carter to leave.

“Diane got too close to Frankie at his party, if you know what I mean. At least I thought so. They were all over each other, practically getting it on right there in front of everybody. It was embarrassing, David. People saw what they were doing. I couldn’t take it so I left. Frankie brought Diane home later. It burned my ass all week and I finally called her on it tonight.”

David took a drink of wine. He hated to see his friend in such pain. He took another drink before putting the glass on the table.

“She told me to grow up.” Carter forced a wry grin. “Can you believe it? Frankie’s a jerk and she tells me to grow up. Frankie would have drilled her right there on the floor while all of us stood around and watched. And she would have enjoyed it, too. They probably did the nasty after I left and before Frankie brought her home.”

“Jesus, Carter, that’s harsh.”

“I’m going to need a lawyer. How about you be my lawyer, David?”

“Well, sure, I guess, but that might not be such a good idea. It’s never smart to be legal counsel for a friend. Are you looking at a divorce?”

“Not exactly. There isn’t going to be a divorce.” Carter set the wine glass on the floor by his right foot.

“Then why do you need a lawyer?”

“Because I shot Diane right before I came here. She’s dead.”

David’s mouth dropped open. “You what?”

“Yeah, I shot her, David. In the head. She’s dead.” Carter shook his head. “Man, I really screwed the pooch on this one.” He reached in his jacket pocket and pulled out an object wrapped in a white cloth. He unwrapped the cloth, exposing a pistol. “Here,” he said, and holding the cloth, threw the gun to David who caught it with both hands. David fumbled with the gun, bouncing it between his hands several times before dropping it in his lap.

“I shot her with that gun.” Carter stuffed the cloth into his jacket.

“What do you think you’re doing. I don’t want this gun. Is it loaded?”

“Yes. You better keep it. If you don’t, I’ll kill myself.” Carter stood up. “I got to go home, David. I know I have to call the cops. I need you to be there when they show up.” He walked to the door and waited. “You better drive your own car. I won’t be able to bring you home after they arrest me.”

David put the gun on the table next to the wine bottle and got out of the chair. “Carter, I don’t believe this.”

“It’s true. I shot Diane. Bring the gun. The cops are gonna want it.” He waited patiently while David pulled on a jacket and put the pistol in a pocket. “I’m glad you’re my friend, David. Thanks for doing this.” David followed Carter out the door.

***

Diane lay on her back on the floor next to the couch. A small pool of blood and fluid had formed around the side of her head below a gaping exit wound behind her right ear. Her mouth and eyes were open, giving her a surprised look, as if she wanted to say, “Oh, my, I didn’t expect this!”

“Jesus, Carter, you really did kill her.” David stared at the body on the floor.

“Yeah, I know.” Carter shrugged.

“You have to call 911.” David sat down and listened to Carter make the call and tell the dispatcher there was a dead person on the floor in his apartment. David stopped listening to Carter. His eyes drifted to Diane then he looked away, only to look back a few seconds later. Each time David pulled his eyes away they returned to the body on the floor.

Carter finished talking to 911. “The cops and EMTs will be here pretty soon,” he said, then poured two glasses of bourbon. He handed one to David and sat down on the couch near Diane. David drained his glass and Carter refilled it. Finally, they heard the approaching sirens. “Let me do the talking, David.”

“Are you sure? I’m your lawyer. Maybe you better let me handle this.”

“No, I got it covered.”

Carter let three policemen, two in uniform and one in a detective, into the apartment. The detective introduced himself and the two other cops while they put on latex gloves.

“Her name’s Diane,” Carter said and pointed at the body on the floor. “She’s my wife.”

The detective and the cops gathered around Diane’s body. One cop knelt down and felt for a pulse in her neck. Not finding any, he looked up at the detective and said, “She’s deceased, Lieutenant.” He stood up as four EMTs entered the apartment.

“What have we got?” one of them asked.

“A probable deceased,” the lieutenant said.

An EMT crouched down, opened his tool kit and did some things to the body. “You’re right, she’s deceased,” he said to no one a few moments later. “There isn’t anything we can do except call the medical examiner’s office.” He closed his kit and made the call on his cell. “We’re leaving now,” he said to the detective. “The ME team’s on the way.” He and the other EMTs left.

“Anybody else in the apartment?” the detective asked.

“No, just me and David.” Carter nodded his head toward David.

“Take a look around,” the detective said to the two cops. “Now, who are you guys?” After Carter told him the detective asked, “What happened here?”

Carter started to say something but David interrupted him. “Let me do the talking.”

“I told you, I got this covered. Things are cool.” Carter sucked in a big breath, pointed at David and said, “He shot her. He still has the gun. It’s in his jacket pocket.”

“Jesus,” said the detective. He drew his weapon and pointed it at David. “Don’t do anything stupid!” David ‘s mouth dropped open and his eyes bugged out. His head swivelled from Carter to the detective and back to Carter. The detective shouted for the other two policemen.

“What the hell are you doing, Carter?” David demanded. “Is this some kind of joke?”

“Search this man,” the detective said when the cops returned. The cops patted David down.

“Got a gun here, Lieutenant,” one of them said. He pulled the pistol out of David’s jacket pocket and held it for the detective to see.

“Bag it then cuff him.”

“Hands behind your back,” one cop said. The second cop cuffed David.

“I didn’t kill her,” David said to the detective. “He’s lying.” To Carter he said, “What the hell are you trying to pull, Carter? I’m your attorney, for Christ’s sake.”

Carter sighed, “I’m not pulling anything. You killed my wife. I’m lucky you didn’t shoot me.”

“I didn’t shoot her,” David said to the detective.

“Cuff him,” the detective said and nodded his head at Carter. After Carter had the cuffs on, the detective said, “Now, fellas, tell me what happened here. You first.” He pointed at Carter.

“David’s been hitting on my wife. He’s got a thing for her. It’s rude as hell and I don’t appreciate it. I told him that. We’re supposed to be friends, for Christ’s sake. He came over tonight, tried to put some moves on Diane right in front of me. He told Diane she should dump my sorry ass. Diane told him there was no way she would ever hook up with a loser like him and told him to get out and not come back. David blew his cool. That’s when he shot her. He’s been drinking, too.”

“None of that is true,” said David. “He’s lying.”

The detective held up his hand. “I don’t care. I’m taking both of you in until we get this sorted out,” then read them their rights. After he finished he said, “Let’s go.” The cops took Carter and David by the arm and led them out of the apartment.

The detective followed but stopped when the medical examiner team and a crime scene crew arrived. “What have we got?” the crime scene crew chief asked the detective.

“The end of a friendship.”

5 comments

  1. Grace Schmitt

    Oh, I got caught up in the story and wanted to warn David, “no, David, let the gun fall to the floor – do not catch it!” But, alas, he didn’t hear me… Thanks, RP Bishop!

  2. Charles Snyder

    Like one other of Bishop’s stories, I didn’t see it coming, but then maybe Diane didn’t see it coming, either…I mean, bullets are fast!

  3. Grace Schmitt

    I’ve been thinking more about David today….. it’s the ultimate “bait and switch”…
    RPB…. who or what is next??

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