-What do you expect me to say, Brian?  That it’s all okay? That your sleeping with my wife doesn’t mean anything?

-Jack, no. Jesus. No. Look, things just got out of hand.

-Out of hand.

-Yeah. We smoked a little pot. It was—what I mean to say is, none of this means anything. I swear, it’s just a big mistake. Yeah, I’m a shit and you…you have every right to be angry with me, but none of what happened with me and Carol means anything.

-What’re you doing?

-Pulling up the video.

-Pulling up the what?

-Yeah, Brian. The next time you decide to bang your neighbor’s wife you might want to check out the bedroom. The desk in the corner? Open laptop. Camera had a perfect angle and everything. Wait, here we go. See? Got both of your faces in this clip. Jesus, you sweat like James Brown. Do you fuck Diane like this at home?


-Shut up, Brian. Get out of my house.


-I said leave. Now.

-I’m sorry.

-No, you never get to say you’re sorry to me again. Not ever. Sorry doesn’t even begin to cut it. You are scum.

-But Carol, she—she—

-Carol is sick, Brian.


-Carol is manic. Carol has issues. You have no idea.

-I don’t understand.

-She’s bi-polar, you idiot. Carol has a family history hardwired into her DNA and we’ve both been suffering her mental ups and downs for years. Maybe she has an excuse, maybe she’s gone off her medications—Christ, have you even seen our master bathroom? It’s a pharmacy counter, but no way does that even remotely excuse your actions. God damn it, you’re my neighbor, you piece of shit. I helped get your daughter into Georgetown.

-Y’know what? I should just call your wife Diane right now. Yeah, I should call her and tell her what a scumbag her husband is.


-Oh, and why shouldn’t I?  I think I have the right.

-It doesn’t have to go this way, Jack.

-And what way should it go? Look at mister friendly here. Mister neighborhood cocksman. Afraid of what your wife will do to you when she finds out? Afraid of what your three doting daughters will think of their precious daddy?  What the whole neighborhood will think?

-You live here too, you know.

-Shut up. You do not have the upper hand here.

– Upper hand? Are you threatening me?

-I’m not threatening anything.

-I’m a lawyer you know.

-All shakes over here.


-Does your stupid degree in rote memorization spare you the wrath of loved ones betrayed? Fuck you. Don’t talk to me about being a lawyer.

-Think of Carol….

-Think of Diane and your kids.

-Jack—look. I am sorry, okay? I’m sorry. What else do you want me to say? I am an awful human being. I wasn’t thinking. Carol and I, we talked at that cocktail party last week and she asked if I could come over and take a look at some business plan she’d been working on. Some jewelry idea.


-Yeah. She said she wanted legal advice. It was the middle of the afternoon and we had some wine, but then she brought out that bowl of pot and she was so insistent. After smoking we just started talking about the city and the next thing I know is she was really, really close. It just sort of happened.

-And I have the proof.

-Wait a second….you have the proof? How did—oh. Oh no. Please tell me you’re not that stupid.

-You two. You guys are trying to set me up?



-Is he gone?


-So what do we do now?

-We wait.

-What if he goes to the police?

-Brain? He might, but what proof does he have? A conversation?

-He might tell someone else.

– Hedge his bets? Sure, maybe. Let’s just wait and see. Their marriage records confirmed he and Diane got hitched right out of college. Their story, hell, we’ve been hearing about that boring shit for years. How they scraped by on love. Took that fucker ten years to make it through law school nights and that son of a bitch lands in the class-action settlement of the decade? Fuck him. They don’t have a pre-nup and if Diane finds out about this she will eat him alive.

-Wants some wine, baby?

-There’s champagne in the fridge.

-Jack! You bought champagne? You doll!

-Life’s short, babe. We have to get it while we can.

~ fin ~


A huge fan of the interpretive private eye films The Long Goodbye (1973) and The Drowning Pool (1975), Kieran Shea‘s stories have appeared previously in Shotgun Honey, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, and elsewhere. He’s also written a couple of novels and one short story collection.