Friday, November 2, 2012

With Friends Like These...

“What’s going on?” I asked, trying to shake the grogginess from my head. 

I looked around when no one answered. I expected to be alone, but instead, saw several of my friends standing over me. I wiped my eyes because I couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing. Each one, to a man, held a gun, and what was worse was they were all pointing at me.

“What the hell?” I demanded. “Why are y’all pointing guns at me?”

Roger looked like he was fixing to speak, but Charles elbowed him and told him to shut up. The others just shuffled from foot to foot and looked confused. I had no idea what was going on, but I was determined to find out.

“Roger,” I said, looking directly at my best friend of fifteen years. “What’s going on here? What’s with the guns?”

“Like you don’t know,” Charles snapped. 

The others said yeah and shook their heads like I was supposed to know what they were talking about. 

“I don’t know, Charles. Why don’t you tell me?” I asked. “And while you’re at it, why do I feel like I’ve been run over by a truck?”

I shook my head again, but couldn’t seem to clear it. Charles was squinting at me, and Roger looked like he wanted to talk so bad he was fixin’ to explode. 

“Roger?” I tried to prod him. “Please, tell me what’s going on here.”

“Come on, Trent, you know what you did,” Roger said before Charles could stop him.

“What I did?” I waited for them to add more, but nobody was forthcoming. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

I could see that Charles was even starting to doubt. I still didn’t know what they thought I did, but it must have been terrible for them to be holding me a gunpoint. I was beginning to think they had already roughed me up a bit and that’s why I was so out of it.

“Pricilla,” Burt piped up. “You hurt her bad, Trent.”

“What!” I yelled. “I love Pricilla. I’d never hurt her.”

“That’s what we thought,” Charles said. “Until Pricilla told us what you did.”

I tried to remember what had happened that day, but I couldn’t shake the cobwebs loose enough to think clearly.  

“I would never hurt Pricilla. I don’t know what she said I did or why, but I know I wouldn’t hurt her.”

Roger pulled Charles aside. I could see them arguing back and forth. I don’t know why, but I hoped Roger won. When they finished, both men stepped back into the circle. 

“We want to believe you, Trent, we really do,” Roger said. “But Pricilla,” he stopped to clear his throat. “Pricilla looked awful. You hurt her bad.”

“I didn’t hurt her!” I yelled and jumped to my feet. Every gun came up and I immediately settled back to my knees. “Please, you have to believe me.”

I was fixing to argue my case some more when the doors burst open. Pricilla hobbled in on the arm of her brother, Chuck. 

“Wait!” she yelled. “Don’t hurt him.”

Everyone waited while she got her breath. I sure hoped she could explain what was going on because it wasn’t looking good for me. 

“Please forgive me, Trent,” she began. “I didn’t know what else to do.”

I still had no idea what was going on, but the tears in her eyes were more than I could take. “I love you, Pricilla. I’d never hurt you.”

“I know.”

“But,” Roger said. “You said he did.”

“I know what I said, but it was a lie.”

All the men lowered their guns, finally. Suddenly, I wasn’t the only one who was confused.

“Why would you do such a thing?” Roger asked.

“I didn’t want to admit what really happened. I didn’t want to lose Trent. Little did I know y’all would try to kill him!”

“What did you expect us to do?” Charles demanded. “You’re my cousin!”

“I wasn’t thinking clearly.” We waited and she said, “I went to Tubb’s last night.”

“The bar?”

“Yes, and I wa...,” she stuttered to a stop. “I was attacked on the way out.”

“What!” I yelled. 

“I’m so sorry, Trent. I didn’t know what to do. 

“You’re sorry?” I asked, dragging her into my arms. “What are you sorry for?”

“I was scared people would think I was a whore or something. Going to a bar like that.”

“Oh, for heaven’s sakes, my sister goes there all the time. You have nothing to be sorry for,” I assured her.

“You still love me?” she asked, tears streaming down her face.

“I’ll always love you,” I replied. “I’m not so sure about the rest of these lugs though.”

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