Caught Red Handed

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I was in high school when we first met, Rachel and me. Our friendship was strong all through college too. It was not until we were twenty seven that I started hating her. It was not even a gradual hate. I just woke up one morning and by the time I went to sleep, I hated her. I see her every day, because, of course, I cannot tell her that I hate her. That would be insane, which I am not. We planned to have lunch together today. That was where I was headed now. The streets of San Francisco bustled with the lunch time crowd. I walked in the midst of all the well-tailored suits and pencil skirts. I walked towards the place she and I had discovered several years back. It was called the Grapefruit. It was a respected family owned restaurant. Famous for its breakfast, we knew it would be close to empty. People were so busy going there for the famous breakfast, only the true fans knew that its lunches were equally delicious.

The crowd moved as one being as the light signaled that we could cross the street. My heart was pounding in my ears, I could feel her. She still was not in sight, but I could sense her presence. My palms started sweating and I clenched my fists nervously, hoping that no one noticed. I walked into the chic restaurant, the dim lights and the familiar smells were comforting. Apparently I beat her here. I walk in and sit at our table. My body is shaking uncontrollably and I try to focus on acting normal. She can’t know my plans, it’s not possible. She definitely can’t find out I want to kill her. Each time the bell above the door rings, I jump three feet in the air, waiting for the next customer to be her. Relax, stay
calm, she can’t know…

“Hi!”
***
A plan to be perfectly executed. Killing her would be the easiest thing ever. I know everything about her. I know where she is, who she is with, what she is doing, every second of every day. She was one of those people—the ones that always tell their friends everything, completely oblivious to the fact that some of them may try to kill her—someone like me. Her house sits just outside of the city. I decided to walk instead of drive, in case she heard the sound of the car. The city lights grow smaller as I go up the last hill. I am just far enough out of the city that I can see the stars twinkling above me. They promise that this night will be perfect.
My right hand tightens around the small glass vial, reassuring me that it has not disappeared. My smile is twisted as I laugh to the moon. I look at my watch to make sure I am still on schedule. It’s a quarter to one in the morning. She should be getting ready for bed. She would put down the book she just finished and move upstairs to shower soon; she would come back downstairs and finish off her tea then. I needed to get there before that. While she was showering, that’s the time I need to be in the kitchen. The wind whips my hair around as I finally get to the top of the hill. I gaze down at the silent house. The light is on downstairs but not upstairs. I glance at my watch. Come on…
***
The waitress beams down at me, expectantly.
“Hi.” I respond back, straightening up.
“Is your friend coming today?” We had the same waitress time and time again. She knows us well. She knows what we like, and we tip her well.

“Yes.” I respond automatically. I hope the scorn behind that one word went unnoticed to her.

“Okay, I’ll bring your drinks. Would you like me to put in the orders for you already too?” I sigh at her question, glad that she is as oblivious as I remembered.

“That would be great!” I fake it. The smile I gave her must have looked genuine, because she smiled back. I watch her disappear behind the counter, to return with our drinks.

I take a long drink from my ice water. Savoring the cool water as it goes down my throat. The glass was cool and wet from the condensation. I glance at the clock on the wall. It chimes as the time reads two o’clock. She should be here any minute. We agreed to meet at two. I wait silently. Quarter after… where is she? The waitress comes over with both of our plates. I might as well start; I don’t want the food to get cold. I look down…
***

I watch expectantly. The light upstairs finally switches on. There you go! I chant as I picture her gathering her robe and getting into the shower. Now’s my chance. I trot over to the familiar house. She keeps the door to the back of the garage unlocked. I always told her that was a stupid idea, especially without any neighbors close by.
Someone might come in. The door knob turns easily in my hand. I silently thank the gods that she never listened to me. I know the house well; the door from the garage to the kitchen is loud as it shuts. I leave it ajar as I make my way across the kitchen. She always was a neat freak. Each pot and pan hangs in the same direction above the island. The knives are put away in order of their size. The coffee pot nearly glistens, despite the fact that she uses it every day. There it is! The tea mug that I gave her for Christmas is on the island under the pans. It is half empty. Or as she would say, half full. The vial is quickly uncorked, and I pour the odorless, tasteless, colorless poison into the mug. Then I go over to the family room and wait for the show.

She makes her way down the stairs. Her bare feet thud against the wooden floor. She has on her favorite purple robe and a towel is wrapped around her head. Right on schedule. She grabs the mug and downs the deadly tea in one swig. I smile from my hiding place behind the chair. She turns around and sees the door ajar, but it’s too late. I watch in pleasure as her body falls to the ground in violent spasms. Her eyes reel to the back of her head. My heart beats faster and faster with excitement. Abruptly it all stops, her body lays still. Disappointed that it didn’t last longer, I take my leave. Closing the door with a click…
***

Reaching for my fork, my hand is wet. I had assumed it was from the glass. But no, this wasn’t water. My hand is red. A thin stream trickles down to my fork and a solitary drop falls slowly onto my Panini. I start to panic, grabbing at my napkin. But it couldn’t absorb all of the crimson mess. It’s blood. Blood from my best friend. I scream and run out the door.





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