I’m almost glad Jim’s running late, because I’m about to break his world, and damn it, he’s my bro. He’s my guy. We go way back. But if there’s bad news he’s gotta hear it, and it’s my duty to tell him. That’s what friends are for.
I’m not really good at this touchy-feely stuff, so I hope this cake place is all right. They got a decent coffee here, and a bitching key lime pie. Man, that shit is bananas. If pies were women then this one would be–
Oh, there he is!
Yeah, he sees me. Ooh, is that a new jersey? Looks pretty dope. Looks legit too. I wish I had legit jersey money, but honestly? Those fakes from Monty are pretty good. I mean, not like take-a-close-look-when-you’re-sober good, but you know.
"What’s up, Big J? Yeah, I like this place, figured we’d, uh, get a brew for a change. Uh, coffee brew, I mean. Good pie here. Oh man, and the waitresses. Psst. Look at the one behind the counter. Yeah, her. Glenda. Look at the size of–
“–heh, nah, I actually don’t think your wife would mind you looking.”
Uh, whoops. He’s frowning at me. Too soon, he hasn’t got his pie yet. Ease him into it. Geez, delivering bad news is harder than I thought. Feels like I got shrimp-and-scotch indigestion. I hope this goes better than when I had to tell Peter. I can’t believe the same thing keeps happening to my married friends. Anyway, I gotta distract him.
“You see the game?”
Heh, I love when Jim recaps stuff. He’s got a great voice for it, and he does the hand motions too, really keeps my attention. I think he could be a pro announcer, and I’m not surprised Janice fell for him. Look at him go! Oh yeah, I remember that play, lol.
Wait, did I just think “lol”? Did I actually laugh out loud? I don’t remember. I better laugh now because that was a funny moment, and I don’t want to be rude.
“Oh my god, that was friggin’ hilarious!”
That’s better. Geez, maybe I do spend too much time on the phone. Well whatever, waitress is here.
“Hey Glenda, we’d like–Brenda? Oh, sorry, Brenda then. We’d like two things of key lime and some coffee. Yeah, thanks.”
I pull out my manila envelope, filled with the horrible, heart-breaking, life-ruining evidence. Damn damn damn, this is going to be tough. I don’t want to hurt my best bud, but I feel like I’m about to kick him in the balls. Least I can do is buy him a pie.
“Pies are on me, Big J. What? Why? Uh… it’s a surprise. The envelope?”
Damn it, stop asking poignant questions. I gotta get you in a real good mood before I kick you in the junk. I know how much Janice means to you.
“You’ll see. Hey, you remember that trip to Vegas?”
Ha, there we go. Yeah, it was an awesome trip, Jim. I can’t believe all the places we were kicked out of. Man, what an epic time, back when it was just us bros. No wives, no kids, no real jobs, no real worries.
Ah, she’s back with the pies. Mm-mm, can’t wait to eat that pie, girl. Heh, noice.
“Thanks, Glenda. Brenda? Really?”
“Good pie, eh? What do you mean, it’s okay? It’s key lime, it’s the best. You prefer cherry? What the hell is wrong with you.”
Geez, you think you know a guy. Oh well, it’s now or never I guess. This was always going to be shitty news, and you can sugar coat shit, but it’ll still just be cherry pie.
"So, listen, man. I got some bad news. Ha, nah, I’m okay. It’s not bad for me, right? Like, bad for you. Yeah. Okay, so, you know your wife? Janice? It’s the big C.
“No, not cancer. She’s cheating on you.”
Oh my god, there it is. He’s gone all pale and trembling, like that time we were in Little League and Jim was at third base and Ricky Santiago just plowed into him and Jim wasn’t wearing a cup and he fell and we all laughed, but then we felt bad about it later. Only this time, I feel bad right away.
“Yeah, sorry man. Yeah, I got proof. You know I wouldn’t make something like this up, bro.”
I tap the manila envelope.
“Are you, like, sure you want to see this? Okay.”
I hope he can take it better than Peter did. I slide the envelope over to him. Oh boy, this is bad. Geez, he’s even crying. I can’t believe Janice would do this to him.
He opens the envelope, slides out the photos, and takes a look. His face changes. First it’s soggy and he’s doing that romcom thing where his lip shakes and his breath is all weird, like he’s tired from running or whatever, like his girl’s on a train or whatever and he doesn’t know if he’ll catch her. Then he frowns, looking closer at the photos, sliding from one to the next. Then he’s scowling and he’s bared his teeth, and he’s all red in the face.
Yeah, that’s good! Be angry, Jim. Nobody likes a crier.
He slams the photos onto the table, and I nod, knowingly.
“Yeah, told you bro, it’s pretty bad–”
Wait, why the hell is he yelling at me now? That’s not fair.
Stop interrupting me, man.
Man, I knew delivering bad news would be hard, but I’m kinda regretting it. There’s really no call for shouting at me. It’s kinda rude.
“Dude! Why are you shouting at me? She’s the one that cheated on you.”
Oh my god, I cannot believe he just said that. In public. I hope nobody’s recording this, for Jim’s sake. Christ, he’s actually mad at me now. Real nice, Jim. After I try to do you a solid. This is Peter all over again.
“Yes, I know I’m the guy in the photos, Jim! That’s how I know she’s cheating on you! Hey, don’t scream at me, bro. I’m a victim here too. This married woman, who should have known better, just swooped in on my poor, lonesome, vulnerable heart. She took advantage of me, Jim. She made me feel so dirty.”
Actually, fair, I liked the dirt. Janice is filthy. I can see why he married her.
“Nah, she didn’t take the photos. They’re stills from my video. Yeah, I recorded it–what do you mean? I always record it. I mean, look at me! I look great in these shots! No, I did not secretly tape your wife! I caught her screwing around on you. I did you a solid, man, don’t turn this around on me.”
Oof. He just slammed his key lime pie in my face. Real mature, Jim. Real nice. Not only does that hurt my feelings, it’s a waste of a perfectly good pie. Let’s see, maybe I can scrape it onto my plate… there. Mm that’s good pie.
Yeah, fine Jim, just leave. Just scream at me and leave. Make a scene. Whatever, bro.
I know you just need time to cool off. It’s gotta suck learning your wife betrayed you. Just know I got your back. That’s what friends are for.