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All for the Best

The Story of a Man with a Temper and a Guilty Conscience

“I’m sorry, Danny. I am so, so sorry.”

He just stared back at me in silence, those empty eyes drilling future nightmares deep into the roots of my brain, his lips parted in a half smile that made him look like he’d just gotten the punch line of some stupid joke. Blood dripped off my hair and onto the floor, staining the carpet. I don’t remember how it got there. I don’t remember how I got here.

“That wasn’t me, Danny. I’m sorry.”

The dull roar of raindrops hitting the roof slowed to a light tapping. Time was passing and I was slipping. There was nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide, not from the truth anyway. I’m a murderer.

“You didn’t have to yell at me, Danny!” I screamed shamefully, “You didn’t have to pick a fight with me.”

Nothing happened. He just lay there, staring. Some friend he was. He didn’t even have the courtesy to answer me. Then again, he was dead. Maybe he needed me to cut him some slack. Maybe I didn’t care.

My phone began vibrating in my pocket. I pulled it out and read the contact name; Jessica. Perfect. The girl I’d just killed my best friend for. Could I answer?

“Hey, Babe, this is Jessica-”

The voicemail started before I could make a decision.

“I just wanted to know if you’d seen Daniel. He wants to talk to you,” she paused for a second and sighed, “If you could call me back when you get this, we really need to talk.”

Click. End voicemail. Crap. What was I gonna do?

“DAMN IT, DANNY! Why did you have to do this?! Why did you have to die?!”

But he just kept staring. Damn! What the hell was I supposed to do? It wasn’t my fault! He was the one who’d stolen my girlfriend. And he expected me to just react calmly? Of all people, he should have known. I don’t react calmly.

“Didn’t you know I’d go crazy like that? You remember how it went with Jimmy!” more silence. “We killed him, Dan. He scratched my bike, and I got so mad. I hit him. And I kept hitting him until you pulled me off him. We could’ve taken him to a hospital. But you, you got that knife and… Well, you know what you did.”

Danny had stabbed Jimmy Connor eight times in the chest. He was already an easy target, at four feet tall, sixty pounds soaking wet. And considering I’d beaten the living crap out of him about a minute beforehand, he could only weakly fend off the first stab before his form crumpled to the ground and he let it happen.

Of course, that was back in high school. Things had changed. I’d gotten a girlfriend, Jessica, who I’ve now been dating for two years. Danny had gotten into a string of relationships, proclaiming each as his love, but dumping them for hotter girls after only a couple weeks. Things had been fine, great until I’d stumbled onto Danny and Jessica making out in the park. That’s why I’d called and asked him to come over. And that’s when things got out of hand.

“You couldn’t just let me have her? ‘The love of your life,’ you called her. My girl, Danny! She was mine. And now... hell... now I can’t even look at her.”

I saw red again and started kicking him in the side, bruising up his lifeless body even more. It was all I could do to calm myself again. He deserved worse, but I’d killed him too fast. I couldn’t hurt him anymore.

“She’s not gonna want either of us, Dannyboy. Not after she sees you’re dead. Not after she sees that I’ve killed you. She’ll get what she deserves too. She’ll hate herself; think this was her fault when it wasn’t. It was yours.”

Danny had come in and sat down in his favorite chair. I’d quietly told him what I’d seen. I’d been shy, meek, with no shred of dignity, that’s how I am with most people. And he’d grinned, apologized, and told me he loved her. I exploded, screaming at him that she was mine and asking why he had to have every girl. He smiled again and said that I was never gonna be enough for her, that I should be happy he would take care of her. He’d still had that dopey smile on his face when I’d grabbed the lamp from my table and started hitting him with it. After that everything was a haze of red and dark. There was blood everywhere, in my hair, covering my fists, covering my clothes. The entire carpet was a mess of bloody footprints by now, with more blood spattering my walls and furniture.

“You know why I had to do that, don’t you, Dan?”

I wish he would respond. But that smile on his lips kept mocking me and the look in his eyes told me he wasn’t listening. Maybe someone else would. My phone still laid on the coffee table, silent now. I picked it up and dialed.

“911, what's your emergency?”

“1014 Greenville Avenue. Send the police”

“What is the nature of your emergency?”

“There’s been a murder.”

Click. There. It was done. I’d always known this would happen anyway. After killing Jimmy, my fate had been sealed, and so had Danny’s. We’d hidden the body in a cardboard box and buried it. In college, we’d come home for the holidays and destroyed what was left. Poor Mrs. Conner still sat on her porch every night passing out fliers. She deserved to know.

Sirens filled the air. Peeking out the window, I noticed that two squad cars and an ambulance had parked out front. I opened the door and waited. Looking into those cops’ eyes, seeing their fear spike, I enjoyed that. But I also felt at peace. My evil side had been revealed. I didn’t have to hide anymore. And I wasn’t going to prison.

“Police! Put your hands where I can see them and slowly walk towards me.”

I smiled and let out a laugh. Were they stupid? Obviously. I reached into my pocket and pulled out a knife. The officers aimed their firearms at my chest, screaming more orders.

“Sorry, boys. I’m not going to prison tonight,” I raised my voice so they could hear, “You’ll find the body of a man named Daniel Whitten in the house. He got what he deserved,” no response there, “He and I killed a boy eight years ago. Jimmy Conner. Tell his mother that I’m sorry.”

The shock that filled the air could be felt for miles. I let out another laugh, marveling at how easy this had all been. The cops shuddered in response.

“It’s for the best” I assured them.

Then I ran at them.

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