Sitting in the bar after work, Ted was trying hard to forget his hectic day of numbers and spreadsheets. The most peaceful thought in the world at this moment was wondering what the newswoman on the TV looked like without that red top on. The bar was loud enough to drown out her voice, but it didn’t matter as long as he was on his stool and not behind a desk. His wife would be expecting him home soon, but he managed to steal at least a few drinks in solitude every night after work.

At this moment, a well dressed gentleman took the next stool. “Scotch please.” On the news read the headline ‘4 Dead In Shooting’. “You’d think with all the crime that goes on, they would put a little extra focus on nicer things every once in a while,” the man said. “What’s the point of watching the news just to be depressed 30 minutes at a time?” Ted gave a slight smirk. He’d often wondered that same thing, but simply responded with, “I don’t know.” The man seemed perfectly fine, but Ted just wanted a moment alone with his drink more than anything right now. “I guess.” The man seemed determined to have a conversation despite the obvious dismissal. “I mean if all we hear about are shootings and rapes, who’s going to tell us about the Siamese twin monkeys born around the world!?!?” Ted laughed. “Yeah, I suppose.” “The name’s Karl.” “Ted.” He gave Karl a nod. “Nice to meet you Ted. Sorry for being so talky. I just hate drinking alone. Life is best enjoyed with company.” While company is the last thing he wished for right now, he decided to humor Karl’s desire for conversation. “I suppose. Although there’s something to be said for unwinding in peace and quiet,” Ted said, jokingly contesting his defeat.

The usual topics came up over a few more drinks; the weather, the losing sports team and even the newsgirl. “I’d give her something to report on,” Karl huffed. He may have been well dressed, but it was obvious he never shook off his frat boy years entirely. Ted complained about being an accountant, while Karl was apparently in marketing. “No matter the shit, we can sell it,” he pitched in his best sales voice. Karl complained about his girlfriend “I swear, it’s like I can never do enough.” “They’re like that. They just keep asking for more, and when you give it to them, they take a little bit extra just because,” Ted responded. Karl burst out laughing! “EXACTLY!” The conversation meandered for a bit longer before Ted’s cell rang. “Hold on. It’s the wife.” Karl went back to his drink. “Yeah, I’m on my way. Just got caught up for a bit. I’m leaving now.” Ted finished his beer. “Well, it’s about that time.” “I guess so,” Karl admitted. “It was good. I didn’t completely want to kill you for ruining my ‘me time’,” Ted joked. “Well, that’s great! A real close one there.” They both laughed.

They exited the bar together both heading separate directions. On the drive home, Ted’s phone buzzed again. “Geez woman, it’s only been 5 minutes.” Glancing at his phone he saw it wasn’t a call but a text. “say hi to kelly for me”. The number was unfamiliar, and the reference to his wife unnerved him to say the least. He hit dial. “Ted!! Didn’t expect to hear back from you so soon!” It was Karl. What was going on? “How do you know me? How do you know Kelly?” He was now outright shaking. “I’ve known Kelly for a while Ted. You see, I’m going to kill her. Of course I have to kill you too. I just wanted to introduce myself before I do. You deserved to meet me first.” Ted hung up and frantically dialed home. Kelly answered. “Honey, leave the house immediately. Don’t ask, just leave!” “Ted, what are you talking about?” “LEAVE NOW!” “Ted, you’re scaring me! Please tell me what’s going on.” She was panicking. “I’m coming up the street now! Come outside and get in the car!”

The house came up and he saw the door opening. Kelly was walking down the driveway. “Ted, what’s going on?????” “Get in the car when I pull up,” he yelled into the phone. As he approached, a nearby car’s lights lit up. He pulled up, and Kelly got in. The other car moved behind. They sped off as the other car followed. “Ted, please tell me what’s going on.” “I met a guy tonight who I think is trying to kill us. I’m pretty sure he’s behind us.” “What are you talking about? What man?” “Some guy named Karl. We had drinks at the bar. After we left, I got this.” He tossed the phone at her. “Look at the text.” As she looked at the phone she said, still shaking, “Oh my god…. It wasn’t supposed to happen like this.” “What are..? What did you do?”, Ted asked now stopped at a light, glancing at Karl still in the car behind them. “Goodbye Ted.” The flash from the gun was the last image of Ted’s life.

Kelly got out of the car and headed towards Karl’s. “You were supposed to kill him and make it look like a robbery,” she scolded as she got in. “That was the plan.” “I know. I just wanted to meet him before we did it,” he confessed. “So what do we do now that you screwed it up?” She was furious. “We can just head back home and call it in like we planned. We’ll improvise,” Karl suggested. Then it began. “I swear you can’t even get the simplest thing right. You constantly leave everything up to me. I am sick of it.” She continued to berate him the entire way back. Still, he just drove and smiled, all the while thinking about the little secret he had entrusted to Ted.

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