Crime Drama Friendship

The distinct click of the gun told me my end was near.

“Annie you don’t have to do this.”

Her hands shook as she held me in place.

“You weren’t suppose to know. You weren’t suppose to be here.”

While I had been suspecting Annie was in trouble, I had never counted on her being a gun toting lunatic. A week ago we were best friends, gossiping over cocktails, checking out hot guys. Life had been simple.

Me and Annie went a long way. Middle school to college, same school same class, best friends.

The year we graduated, however, things changed. She got selected for a big publishing house and I got into a small family publishing firm. But hey, she was my best friend and I was happy for her. We even celebrated over cocktails at Benny’s, our usual.

We had spent so much time with each other. This working alone thing was unchartered territory and to begin with we both struggled. With deadlines to meet we met less, spoke less and somehow the distance lengthened. But we never missed our Saturday nights at Benny’s till I met Ralph.

Ralph used to work at the IT firm on the same premises as my office. We ran into each other a few times at the hotdog stand below and he invited me for coffee. One thing led to another and one day he let me know how he felt. I called Annie that day. My first relationship could not be celebrated without her.

We met at Benny’s. Ralph hadn’t been to Benny’s before so I gave him a run down of how I and Annie had discovered it and got totally hooked. Annie was awfully quiet that day.

In the powder room, I broached the topic.

“So what do you think?”

“About what?”

She replied, applying a thick coat of red to her lips.

“About Ralph.”

“Oh he is okay.”

“Okay? What do you mean okay?”

“Just that you know you could get better.”

I stared at her dumbfounded. Who was this indifferent woman and what had she done to my witty friend.

“I really like him. I am going to give this a go and work it from there.”

Annie pulled in a breath. “Okay, as you wish!”

Her curt replies simply dampened the rest of the evening.

However, her words kept niggling in my mind and Ralph and I soon parted ways.

That evening at Benny’s I was distraught, and Annie was at her best to cheer me up.

Surprisingly, I never ran into Ralph again. I even checked at his office and they said he had taken up a job overseas.

After a few months I met Evan. His love for Italian food and smooth words made me feel special. I introduced him to Annie one day. I excused myself to go to the powder room. When I was back Evan was gone.

“Where did he go?”

“Something came up.” Annie was again coloring her lips red, her replies curt.

Evan never called, in fact, he left the country too.

My father was a detective and he had a saying – two is a coincidence, three is a pattern.

So when my third boyfriend Derrick met the same fate, my nerves tingled. Something was wrong and somehow Annie was at the center of this whole scene.

So I did something completely harebrained. I hired a guy to act as my boyfriend. We met Annie at Benny’s that evening and the same thing happened. She was curt and as planned my ‘fake’ boyfriend walked away feeling ‘insulted’.

I decided to follow Annie and that is how I landed here at Annie’s gunpoint.

“Annie what were you thinking?”

“You, I was thinking about you. None of them were good for you.”

“Annie when we aren’t compatible with someone we breakup, we do not murder them.”

“What if they came back. Fed you lies, mad you believe that they are good enough?”

“Then I would be sensible enough to show them the door.”

“But you are so gullible. You would even love the feral dog on our street. He bit you you still fed him.”

“He was sick and needed care, he didn’t know he was hurting people.”

“What about your mom, she abused you, all her anger with you father was directed at you. If I hadn’t intervened she could have killed you without any remorse.”

I stiffened. My mother had died of a heart attack. How had Annie intervened?

She read my thoughts. “I replaced her blood thinning pills with placebos.”

“Annie how could you?”

“But she was hurting you. I can’t see you hurt.”

She could barely hold the gun straight and I didn’t know where this conversation was going.

“What did you do to Ralph, Evan and Derrick.”

“Sent the far away from you.”

“Where are they Annie.”

“Sleeping in my flower beds. They will never hurt you now.”

I collapsed down with tears. I had indirectly led three men to their deaths and the fourth one holed up in his bathroom would have been the fourth.

I had called 911 before I had entered her apartment and could hear the sirens down the street. So did Annie.

“You called the cops?”

“You need help, its help.”

“You called the cops!” Annie ranted over and over as she waved the gun around pacing the room.

“Annia calm down. Let the cops help you. Let me help you.”

Before I could reach her the door burst open and Annie fired in the direction. The cops fired back.

She slumped against the wall and crumpled to the floor.

The cops hustled me to the paramedics. I sat their with a cup of water thinking – what the hell just happened.

In the flurry of blinking lights the sea of people parted, as they carried the lifeless body of my friend in a black body bag.

I had known her all my life. I knew her family. I knew her every up and down. Yet today when I stood in that room with her, she was a complete stranger. When had she boarded the crazy train? How did I miss the signs? Maybe I didn’t see her enough. Maybe I didn’t talk to her enough.

As I recounted the event for the police officer, I realized, that I had been a friend but Annie had overstepped that boundary to be my guardian in a weird twisted way.

At her funeral, I didn’t cry. I said a sorry for having put her there. It was like feeling bad for a stranger who died. That day I laid our friendship in the grave with her.

May 29, 2021 06:00

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