Brutally Honest

Michael Grantham


I know I’m crazy, but I need your honest opinion about my friend Kate. Kate is not her real name, it’s just the first name that came to mind, protection of the not-so-innocent and all that. So, Kate and I were out having some drinks at this trendy cocktail bar on the east side of town, and she says to me that she’s decided to have an affair with this married guy she works with. I’ll call him Chris.

Now, Kate’s about my age, late-twenties, and a serial dater. She’s attractive, in a unique kind of way, which is only improved by her sense of style. She wears nothing but whatever the latest fashion happens to dictate, and, no matter what that is, it always manages to accentuate her fabulous figure. A figure, I might add, that is solely maintained by a strict diet of e-cigarettes and vodka, and a fitness regimen consisting of marathon dance sessions and vigorous copulation every weekend.

Don’t get me wrong; Kate pulls it off. She is smart, clever, and strong-willed. Her outgoing personality is inclusive to everyone around her and she has an uncanny way of putting people at ease. Let me put it this way, anyone who has ever attended a dinner party with Kate would say the highlight of the evening was some personal moment just the two of them shared.

On occasion, that captivating personality of hers causes more problems than she would like. Kate has had to file more than a couple restraining orders, and the biggest determining factor in her new apartment wasn’t its location, but building security. Still, she refuses to change how she lives. Somehow, that refusal to allow any of the crazy out here to change her, adds to her allure.

The married guy Chris, now, he’s another story. His name has been mentioned more often over the past couple months. Chris suggested that book… restaurant… movie. Chris sent her this article… email… text.

Still, I never suspected Kate’s interest in him. He sounded too uptight for her, too boring, not her type at all. Then there she was, looking slightly distraught, telling me that her mind was made up.

I asked her why she would want to chase after a married man, and not just any married man, but one she worked with. Again, she has ever had any difficulty finding a date. Do you know what she said? She said that he’s different, he’s special, he gets her. She went on and on like that. I’ve never heard Kate talk about anyone like that. It sounded so… trite.

After a couple more martinis, she told me the story of when she decided to have the affair. The two of them bailed out of an office happy hour to check out a new dance club downtown. There were some other people with them, but the way she made it sound, that night was all about them; they connected.

Honest, she really said connected. Where was my Kate, and who was this woman pouring out her heart to me in the most clichéd way possible?

When she was connecting with Chris, she played up her intoxication a little, and allowed him to take her home. In the back of the cab, she took his hand and rested her head on his shoulder. He took her arm as he walked her to her door. She made the move to kiss him and he pulled away before she could even get close to making contact. Instead of discouraging her, this act of loyalty to his wife, made her feel even more for him.

After pouring her heart out to me, she said she wanted to go home. No clubs, no dancing, no virile young men pawing at her. That’s when I knew this was getting serious. We live in the same neighborhood, so we shared a cab. In the back of the cab, I took her hand and she laid her head on my shoulder. We walked arm in arm to her door. She kissed me on my cheek before going inside and closing the door.

When I got home, I looked Chris up. It’s not hard to do anymore. A quick search of Kate’s Facebook friends showed me she has seventeen friends named Chris. Three of those work with her, and two have blocked accounts. The three Chrises she works with all have their relationship status as marked as married. Looking at their profile pictures and posts I eliminate them: a grandpa, a balding troll with a newborn, and the last Chris was a woman.

That narrowed it down to the two blocked accounts. Both of them were new friends, within the last six months. Using the first and last names of both men, I applied some Google-fu and came up with Linked In, Instagram, and Twitter accounts for each of them.

On the Instagram page of Chris – ahem – Smith, is a photo of a book, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. He had tagged, and thanked, Kate for the suggestion. She replied with a thank you of her own for his suggestion of Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt – seriously, get a room.

Back on Google images I spot him again. He was tagged in a photo posted on Jane Smith’s Facebook page. Jane Smith was not as diligent about her privacy settings as Chris. There were several pictures I could see on her page. They were all of an attractive woman, with a great big Julia Roberts smile. Most of the pictures were of her and Chris together. Under the ‘About’ section was her place of work.

I sent Kate a text before I went to bed asking if she was really serious about Chris. The next morning I got my response. He was the guy.

I called Jane Smith at work and told her that payroll had her home address as Buford, Wyoming. She gave me her correct address and I made my way to her place.

It was a row-house, nothing fancy, but in a pretty nice part of town. I went through the alley and into her backyard. I knocked on the door a couple times, not loud enough to alert the neighbors, but enough to make sure the house was empty. I tried the knob, but it was locked. With a crowbar, I pried the door open.

The house was cute. It felt roomier than the outside led me to believe. I went through it, room by room, finding nothing of real interest or value. There were Kindles on top of each nightstand and adult toys in a bottom drawer. I checked their laptop. Luckily, their email passwords were saved in the browser and all their banking passwords were saved in their email.

Not much debt, plenty of money in the bank, DINKs making good. Their browser histories didn’t reveal much. He looked at a couple nude pictures of Rihanna about a month ago. She likes to read romantic fanfic on occasion. No signs of adultery or appointments with marriage counselors. A pretty normal, happy couple, by all appearances.

After a long minute of contemplation, I made up my mind. I returned to the bedroom and picked out a fairly generic purse from Jane’s closet. I put all the jewelry I could find in it, including the real stuff in cardboard jewelry boxes under her panties. I added a couple iPods, the Kindles, and the laptop to the bag. In the closet under the stairs I found a toolbox.

An hour later, while sitting in a comfortable old chair near the front window, I saw Jane walking home. I quickly got up and moved to the front door.

As the door opened I slid behind it, out of sight. She came in, her attention focused on the mail in her hand. She closed the door without noticing me.

With all the strength I had I brought the hammer down on the back of her head.

Her body crumpled to the floor.

I took a heavy coat from a hook on the wall, laid it over Jane’s head, and pummeled her scalp to mush.

I dropped the hammer, made sure my gloves and clothes were blood free, and then left the way I came in.

I got off the bus in a part of town I don’t remember ever being in before. Behind a Chinese restaurant, I dumped the purse in a rancid smelling dumpster and double checked my dress for blood. Then I walked another couple miles to this bus line, to make my way home.

Now, my big question: Will Chris run to Kate for comfort or turn her away altogether? If he starts sleeping with her, how long before the guilt of his dead wife runs him off? Essentially, how long do you think it will be before Kate comes to me for comfort, and realizes that I’m the one person she can always come to? Because, I’m her soulmate.



Michael Grantham is a writer of fiction who loves scary stories. Currently, he is traveling the world looking for inspiration for the next great horror icon.