Linda Merriweather began walking her dog, Brutus, at precisely the same time David Wrinkle began drinking in a bar four blocks away. She was still not used to walking alone. She fumed as she thought about her husband, or, soon-to-be ex-husband, Steve. They used to walk Brutus together, he had insisted on it. She thought it was because he worried about her, because he wanted to make sure she was safe. But, if that were true, why would he leave her for some cheap skank he met on a business trip to St. Louis?
David took another shot and asked the bartender for still another. He pulled a small notebook from his back pocket and a pen from his shirt and laid them on the bar top. He closed his eyes and took a long, deep breath before downing more whiskey. “Keep ’em coming, please.” He told the man behind the bar. Then, he began writing.
Linda passed the buildings without noticing them. She was still thinking of Steve. How could he have done this to her? After twenty-two years of marriage? How could he just throw it all away like it was nothing? But the fact was, he did just throw it away; which is exactly why Linda’s sadness turned to anger.
David wrote for several minutes without stopping. He was getting drunk and he knew it; and so did the bartender. “I think you’ve had enough, pal.” The bartender said.
“Just two more shots.”
“No sir. I’m cuttin’ you off. Pay up, and go home.”
David shrugged as he tore the page he had been writing on from the notebook and put it in his shirt pocket. He paid his bill as he stood up, noticing for the first time exactly how drunk he had become. Then, he staggered across the room and out the door.
Linda was just thinking about turning around and heading home when Brutus began barking toward a dark, back alleyway. “What is it, boy?” She wasn’t used to him behaving like this. He was normally a calm, friendly dog; and normally she wouldn’t have gone down a dark alley for any reason; but on this day, she did.
Linda found David lying face up about halfway down the paved corridor. She tried to rouse him, but it didn’t work. She could see he was breathing, which gave her some relief. Then, she noticed the paper sticking out of his shirt pocket. “Maybe this will tell me who you are.” She mumbled to herself. She opened the paper and began reading.
I don’t know how to tell you this. I feel terrible so I’m just going to come out and say it. I had an affair. I don’t know how it happened and it didn’t mean anything. The truth is I love you and I can’t live with myself for this. My intention tonight was to end it all and take my own life because I can’t face the grief that this will cause. But I’ve decided to ask forgiveness first. To see if we can work through this. If you don’t want to, I understand and you will never hear from me again.
The note stopped there. Linda looked down at David once again. That’s when she noticed the handle of a .22 caliber pistol sticking out of his front pants pocket. She looked around. It appeared the alley was deserted. She reached in her purse and pulled out a handkerchief. She slowly removed the gun from his pocket.
Brutus jumped and whimpered as the sound of the shot echoed off the buildings. “That one was for Susan.” She said, “…and this one is for Steve!”