I Didn't Mean to Kill My Best Friend, page 1
I DIDN’T MEAN TO KILL MY BEST FRIEND
By Kamuela Kaneshiro
Copyright © 2012 by Kamuela Kaneshiro. All rights reserved.
Editor: Tammy Barley
Cover Design: Streetlight Graphics
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Table of Contents
I didn’t mean to kill my best friend. Honestly, if I could take it back, I would. Quicker than free swag is given out at Comic-Con.
The abandoned railcars of this industrial zone always remind me of San Diego’s Comic-Con. The con is held at a convention center near very active train tracks. Sometimes a long train will block the people traffic going to and from the building. If you’re part of the lucky bunch to experience this, find a way to occupy yourself, because it takes a while for the sloth-like train to pass. It sucks if it’s raining, since the area is not covered. Once, someone released an inflatable beach ball on the dreary attendees. Its colors spun joyously over us as we spent our time trying to hit it. That made the wasted downtime a little more bearable.
“I still can’t believe you. Talk about having a weird night,” Steve said from his dim work area. “But the look on his face! Priceless!”
Steve has a point, like he usually does. I don’t think I will ever forget the ridiculous look on Steve’s face. It was something you’d see in a comedy. After Steve slumped dead, I half expected him to jump right back up, because of that silly expression. Perhaps my actions had a role to play in the creation of his comical death mask. When you’re sitting around with a couple of friends and having a good laugh, you don’t expect one of them to kill you. Especially the one sitting across from you. But Steve was always a bit slow on the uptake.
No matter how much I tried, I couldn’t see Steve as he worked in the shadows. I didn’t want to see what he was doing. However, something was urging me to peer deeper into the darkness, for a glimpse of the morbid scene unfolding mere yards from me. It must be similar to seeing a train wreck; people don’t want to look at the carnage, but are curiously drawn to it. Thinking back, I didn’t hear much of his work. I must still be in shock from the whole ordeal.
I paced on top a rail.
Just standing here makes me want to get a tetanus shot. The rusted train cars create a harsh atmosphere that invaded my senses moments after our arrival. The metallic taste swarms in my mouth, fills my lungs, and irritates my eyes. I want to sit in the car. But that’s a good few minutes’ walk, and I can’t leave Steve. After all, he’s doing me a huge favor.
“Almost done here,” Steve grunted.
Steve’s death simplifies things. Instead of trying to differentiate between the two Steves, there is now only one. I don’t have to add a last name to Steve’s phone number in my cell. The same with labels for Christmas presents. Instead of last initials, or different wrapping paper, there needs to be only one name, and that name is Steve. This will be very advantageous when gift giving occurs. Granted, we never really gave each other gifts in wrapping paper before. Now that I think of it, I will make an effort this year to give Steve a proper gift-wrapped present.
Steve lumbered from the shadows, panting.
I gazed at his white vapor of breath. The frigid wind swept it away in an instant.
That will never happen again to Steve.
Steve unbuttoned his faded red plaid jacket that made him look like a lumberjack. The wide body and full beard added ten years, making him appear to be in his mid-thirties. These physical features enhanced the tree-cutter image.
Steve doesn’t have any blood on him. That’s impressive since only moments ago he barbarically cut up our mutual best friend, Steve.
“That was a chore!” Steve barked.
If Steve donned a fur coat and horned helmet, he could pass as a Viking. Viking Steve—that’s a pretty good one. I’m sure he’ll like that better than Lumberjack Steve. He hates that name, so we never use it. Can’t wait to tell Steve; he’ll totally agree. We now have a way to differentiate between the two Steves.
I felt the joy deflate from me.
Oh, but that’s right. Steve is dead. I killed him.
Steve tried breathing through his congested nose. “Well, here we go.” He tossed a large duffle bag onto the pavement between us. On impact, it clumped like a sack of potatoes.
“Hey!” I yelled at him.
“What? He’s not going to feel anything. He’s passed on. He’ll be pushing up the daisies soon.”
Was that Monty Python reference a deliberate attempt to lighten the mood?
Steve coughed. “And if he wasn’t dead before, he is now after all that chopping. You’re lucky I got the flu and this damn cold snap hit. Took care of all those nasty smells.”
I stepped toward the duffle. It was the type that military personnel used for their gear. “Is he in there?”
Steve’s smiled, showing all his teeth. “Sure is. Along with plastic lining to prevent any messy leakage. Some of my best work, if I do say so myself. That’d even make my dad proud.”
“How is he?”
“Good. The loan went through; we’ll be keeping the shop. Recession hit us pretty bad, but the holidays are around the corner, so people will be coming in to get their quality meats.” Steve rummaged through his pocket, pulled out a crumpled pack of cigarettes, and popped one into his mouth. “That loan approval was a godsend. Saved our butcher shop and house.”
He tossed me his cigarettes, which I caught. I took the last one from the pack and lit it with a wooden match. The familiar click rang from Steve’s Zippo lighter. The cigarette did little to reduce the rusty taste from my mouth. I looked up at Steve and caught him smiling with proud satisfaction at the duffle, like it was his newborn child.
“You don’t mind any of this?” I asked cautiously.
“This? Nah, we’ve been through weirder.”
“To me we have. The whole blood and gore stuff? I’m a butcher. Trust me, I’ve seen worse. Much worse. By the way, we’re having a dinner at the house this weekend to celebrate getting the loan. Can you make it?”
“Cool. Bring beer.”
Smoke wisped through his teeth. “Even better.”
This doesn’t seem like murder. The vibe is more drug deal. It’s so casual. Then again, I could be completely wrong since I’ve never been involved with a drug deal. I just figured nothing could be worse than murder.
I exhaled a cloud of smoke. “Still, this doesn’t seem weird to you?”
Steve looked up and bobbed his head left and right.
Why am I thinking of a Magic 8 Ball toy? What’s he going to say: “Reply hazy, try again”?
“Yeah, it does seem a bit weird, but we’ve been through worse. And you were in the right!”
“How was I in the right, Steve? I murdered Steve!”
“Yeah, but if you didn’t, I would have.”
“Well, not really, I suppose. But Steve was a prick.” He took a step toward the bag and gave it a swift k
I glared at him.
“Look, usually late, always cheated at games, and never brought anything over to parties!” He jabbed a finger at the duffle. “Bastard wasn’t even invited to the dinner this weekend.”
I picked up the bag by its straps and got a feel for its weight. “It’s lighter than I expected.”
“Yeah, bastard’s nothing but skin and bones.”
“I mean, it is heavy, but not that heavy. Are you sure he is all in there?”
Steve scratched the back of his neck.
Fuck, what’s going on? That’s one of Steve’s tells. He’s trying to hide something from me.
I put down the sack.
“Well, he’s not all in there.”
I felt my eyes narrow. “What?”
“Listen, I got rid of a few”—Steve gestured at his torso—“things to make it lighter.”
White vaporous breath huffed from my mouth.
Steve flailed his hands defensively. “Hey, we’ve got to ditch the prick, and I figured lugging around additional weight is bound to slow us. You said yourself it doesn’t feel like there’s a human body in it!”
“How am I supposed to know how heavy a bag containing a dismembered human body is supposed to feel?”
He gnawed a lip, grunted. “I don’t know. But the point is ours doesn’t feel like it has a human body in it. Or, most of a human body.”
I calmed down and finished my cigarette.
He jammed his hands into his pockets. “Besides, he’s not going to need his organs now. The selfish bastard wasn’t even an organ donor.”
I shot a disapproving glance at him.
“Don’t worry! No one comes here, and I found a nice flowing sewer to take care of the nasty bits. Plus, the cops are in the city trying to find those bank robbers. I tell you, man, you really lucked out tonight—with the cold snap, the bank robberies.” Steve picked up the duffle and walked toward me. “But more importantly, it’s a good thing I drove. Imagine getting rid of Steve and his car.” He punched my arm then headed for his car. “Come on. We got a dismembered body to dispose of.”
I admired my smoky breath, colored by the chilled wind.
Steve’s right. I am lucky he drove.