Raphael, Self Portrait with a friend (Giulio Romano?) (detail) Late Raphael, Louvre, Winter 2012-13

“And that was the last time I would ever see him alive.”

Terry stopped walking away and stood with his back to me, body rigid with anger, fists balled at his side. “Quit being so dramatic, Aaron,” he said without turning.

“I’m not being dramatic. You’re being stupid.”

“You don’t know that.”

“Yes. Yes, I do, Terry. I know for an absolute, without a doubt, no questions asked fact that this is the dumbest plan I’ve ever heard.”

Terry whirled around. “So, what? Am I supposed to just leave her there? Just pretend I don’t know she’s in danger?” His breath came in gigantic hitching gulps. “She’s … He’s probably … I can’t just … Aaaargh!”

A splintering of wood and crunching of bones and suddenly Terry was wrist deep in the wall of the trailer. The angry energy disapated at he sagged into himself like an old man. “If he touches her, I’ll kill him.”

“Geez.” I pushed myself up from where I’d been reclining on the floor and walked over to him, snagging a towel from the kitchenette on the way. “Did you break anything? Can you get out of there?”

I pulled splinters from Terry’s hand, bleeding and already starting to swell, and then wrapped it in the towel. He winced. “I know it hurts, man. You put your fist through my fucking wall. What did you think was gonna happen?”

Terry looked at me, eyes clouded with pain and frustration, and … yes, still a little angry. Good.

“Don’t glare at me, bro. This isn’t my fault.”

“You shoulda just let me go.”

“Sure. Because putting your fist through your ex-wife’s new husband’s face would have been a much better choice,” I snapped at him. “Forget that he’s twice as big as you and could break you like a fucking twig. Here—put this ice pack in there. The asshole is buddies with every goddamned cop and lawyer in a 10 mile radius.”

I slammed his shoes down in front of him. “Put these on.”

Terry fumbled with one hand for a minute before I swatted his hands away. “For chrissake, man. You’re fucking useless. Let me.” I pushed his feet into his sneakers and tied them. “Okay, Let’s go.


“The hospital, you moron. You’ve got to get that thing x-rayed.” I grabbed my keys and wallet. “Then we’re gonna drive as far as we have to to find a lawyer who will help us get your daughter out of that house the right way.”

Terry walked over to me. Injured hand cradled in front of his chest, he looked at me. Tears rose in his eyes.

“I love you, man.” He put his uninjured arm around my shoulder and pulled me close. “You’re the best friend I’ve ever had. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

I hugged him back before shoving him out the door. “You’d be dead, ya big dummy.”

* 8/3/17 prompt: “And that was the last time I would ever see him alive.” Also inspired by this article, which I think is vitally important for everyone to read.


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