When Calvin got promoted, he called his best friend to share the good news.
“That’s outstanding, man! I’m so happy for you,” JV said.
“I also have something to tell you. Dinner’s on me, but the wine’s yours.”
“Chloe’s here. See you at 8 tonight.”
They hung up.
It was only 7 PM when Calvin climbed the stairs to his JV’s apartment two steps at a time. He wanted to surprise him. In his hands were a bottle of red wine and three tickets to a play. JV and Calvin were best friends since childhood and if there was one thing that JV loved the most, it was watching plays at the local theatre.
He was about to knock when he noticed that the door was ajar. Chloe and JV were arguing inside.
“He has to die, Chloe!” JV said in a strong and fierce voice.
“But he is your best friend!” Chloe blurted out.
“Best friend? Huh! In his dreams!” JV scoffed.
Hearing those words, Calvin’s legs trembled and he leaned on the wall for support. His entire body felt cold and sweat soaked his shirt. The voices inside became inaudible. The only words that kept playing in his head were ‘He has to die!’ and ‘How could he think of me dead?’ He had no answer to the latter. He dashed out of JV’s place in a fit of rage and despair.
After ignoring calls from JV that night, Calvin finally turned his phone off but only after making one last call. ‘You want to kill me? Huh! I’ll teach you a lesson before you can even lay your hands on me!’ Minutes later, he handed a bundle of cash to a masked man.
The following day, the pounding on the door woke Calvin up. Chloe stood with her hair dishevelled and eyes swollen from crying. When she saw him, she broke into tears.
“Jay -JV’s dead, Calvin! Your best friend is gone!” She kept sobbing.
Calvin froze. His best friend, the man who wanted him dead was now dead himself. JV was now incapable of hurting him, but he wasn’t happy. He felt empty.
“How…how did it happen?”
“He…was jogging in the park…someone shot him…in the chest. I…oh, God!” She stuttered. Then blowing her nose, she continued, “He was so excited last night. We got through, you know. That was the news he wanted to tell you, but you didn’t come.”
“Got through? What do you mean?”
“We auditioned for a stage play, and we got selected. Finally, his dream was coming true. And now, he’s gone. Oh, such a terrible world we live in. He was a good man. He was a great friend, wasn’t he?”
As Chloe’s words registered in his mind, he was back to the time when he heard JV’s words. His heart throbbed so loudly it could be heard even beyond the walls. ‘Did I misinterpret JV’s words?’ he wondered, wiping the sweat from his forehead.
“Last night, we rehearsed the script while waiting for you. But you didn’t come. You didn’t even answer his calls. Where were you?”
“I uh, I was -.”
A knock on the door interrupted their conversation. He looked at Chloe; his heart raced. He went to open the door, wondering who could it be. Surely, he didn’t expect it to be the police.
“Mr Calvin Price?”
“You’re under arrest!”
At the police station, the inspector sat in front of him. He pushed a folder towards Calvin.
“Read it,” he said.
The file read DPM’s Life Insurance and JV’s name was written below it. As Calvin went through the papers, his cuffed hands shook and tears rolled down his cheeks. JV had nominated Calvin as his primary beneficiary in case of his untimely death. The amount was huge.
“No, no, no. This is a lie!” Calvin got up and banged the wall with his fist. “I’m sorry, man!” he muttered between sobs. “I’m so sorry.” He slumped on the floor, with his hands covering his face and cried.
“Enough of this drama! You’ve plenty of time to weep in jail,” said the inspector with a sneer on his face. He dragged him by the arm and led him behind the bars.
“Good thing your friend left you with so much money. You need an expensive lawyer if you ever dream of getting out of this mess. There’s enough evidence to lock you up for life.” The inspector added as he locked the cell.
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