Graduation Night, continued...

Roger and Adam got together at that same coffee shop. It hadn’t been easy for Roger to convince Adam to show up, but he eventually agreed to come. Roger put the bottle of Visine in his pocket, easily within his reach.

Roger thought a lot about how he was going to manage this. He needed to find a way to slip the drug into Adam’s drink. He couldn’t exactly do the old “Look over there!” routine. Finally, he decided to show up early and order coffees in advance. The drugged coffee would be waiting for Adam when he showed up.

As Roger walked into the coffee shop, he felt his legs turning to rubber underneath him. Abort! Abort! a voice in his head cried out. But if he didn’t do this, tomorrow he’d be in the same position he was in right now—on his way to losing everything.

“I’d like two black coffees, very hot,” Roger told the waitress, remembering how Adam got his coffee last time. He wondered if the clear liquid would change the color of the coffee at all.

The waitress brought out two cups of coffee, steaming hot. Roger took out the little bottle and quickly squeezed the contents into his own cup. He picked up the cup and swirled the drink around, waiting for it to blend in. It was virtually undetectable and Pete had assured him it was tasteless and odorless. Adam would never know. Roger slid the cup across the table and pulled the other cup toward himself. The trap was set.

“Hey, Rog.”

Roger looked up and saw Adam’s dark eyes staring into his own. When Roger looked at his former best friend’s face, he could see the guilt. Adam felt bad about what he was doing.

I can’t go through with this! Roger thought desperately. “I got you a cup of coffee,” he said.

Adam wheeled closer to the table. He smiled sadly, “Thanks.”

“It’s still pretty hot.”

“Yeah, I can see that...”

It’s not too late to throw that coffee onto the floor. Or drink it up yourself, because that’s what you deserve. “How is Brynne?”

“Actually, we’re thinking about moving in together,” Adam said.

No you’re not, not after you drink that coffee. “Wow, that’s fast,” Roger commented.

“It’s time I made a commitment to someone, like you said,” Adam shrugged. “After all, I’m almost thirty. And Brynne’s a great girl.”

“Well, congratulations.”

Adam lowered his eyes. “Look Rog, I know what this is about. I’m sorry, but... you’re not going to change my mind this time. This is the right thing to do. This is what I have to do. I should have done it a long time ago.”

Roger’s heart sunk. He could see there was no way he was going to talk Adam out of this. He didn’t have a choice anymore. “I understand, Adam,” he said quietly. “You’re right... it is the right thing to do. Hey... your coffee’s getting cold.”

Adam nodded and took a long sip of his coffee. Roger watched him, feeling tears rise up in his eyes. What kind of monster would do something like this to his best friend? Roger knew he didn’t deserve a happy ending.

“Good coffee,” Adam commented, putting down the cup. “Is... is Joy doing all right?”

“Yeah, she’s fine,” Roger said, speaking through the lump in his throat. “I... I haven’t told her everything yet. I guess I should.”

“She’s a really nice woman,” Adam said. “I know she’ll stick by you. Listen, you’re not going to jail or anything.”

“I know.”

Adam nodded and took another sip of coffee. Roger felt sick, yet he almost wished Adam would just drink the whole cup and get it over with already. He wondered if he had drunk a lethal amount yet. He had to be getting close, anyway.

Adam took a deep breath and rested his head in the palms of his hands. When he lifted his head again, his face looked a little flushed. He rubbed his eyes.

“You... feeling okay?” Roger asked him.

“Uh...” Adam shook his head. “I feel a little... I don’t know... it’s like my eyes got very blurry all of a sudden. I don’t know what’s wrong.”

Roger looked down at the cup of coffee and saw about half of it was gone. Was that enough to kill him?

“Oh, man,” Adam muttered, gripping his forehead. “What the fuck is wrong with me?”

“Just take a few deep breaths,” Roger instructed him. “Take another drink of coffee.”

Adam tried to reach for the cup, but his hands were shaking too badly and he spilled it onto the table. Roger could see that his eyes were completely dilated. “I think you better call an ambulance or something,” Adam breathed.

“Are you sure?” Roger said. The sooner an ambulance came, the better chance there would be of resuscitating him.

“Yes, I’m fucking sure!” Adam snapped. His face flushed an even deeper shade of red and he slid right out of his wheelchair onto the floor. Adam was out cold. No pulse, no breathing, no nothing.

As a crowd formed around Adam, Roger ran for the nearest phone.


Roger heard the sirens of the ambulance growing louder as a man in the coffee shop attempted CPR on Adam. The owner of the shop had come over, a concerned look on his face. “What happened here?”

“He... he fainted,” Roger replied weakly.

“Was he sick?” the owner wanted to know. “What was the wheelchair for?”

“He’s a paraplegic,” Roger told him. Make something up. “I think he’s been having some health problems lately.”

Roger looked up sharply and saw that Adam had come to. He was awake and taking deep gasps of air, although his pupils were still huge. Oh no, Roger thought.

“Get the fuck away from me!” Adam screamed at the man who had been trying to resuscitate him. He continued to take deep breaths as he ran his shaking hands through his short hair. He was high as a kite, but definitely not dead. Yet.

“I’m fine,” Adam said calmly to a woman who was trying to give him assistance. He pushed himself up with his arms in some sort of attempt to stand up but fell back against the floor when his legs refused to obey him. Adam seemed perplexed by this and he sat up again and stared at his legs with a confused look on his face. He picked one of his legs up and then let it go and watched it drop down against the floor. He looked at the crowd and started laughing, “Oh right, I can’t walk.”

“Sir,” the owner said, “we have an ambulance coming for you.”

“Oh, I don’t need an ambulance,” Adam told him. “Any sort of car will do just fine.”

Oh god, Roger thought. He bent down over Adam, “Are you all right?”

Adam stared at him and his eyes slowly darkened. “You! You... you fucking bastard! You piece of shit, you ruined my life!”

Before Roger knew what was happened, Adam had grabbed him by the collar and pulled him onto the ground. He felt Adam fist connecting with his nose and then his abdomen. As Roger doubled over, he saw a wave of blood gush from his nose. How long had Adam been waiting to do that?

Fortunately, two busboys pulled Adam off of Roger before he could do any more harm. But Adam couldn’t be calmed down. He kept screaming obscenities at Roger and even with his paralyzed legs, the busboys were struggling to restrain him.

Finally, the paramedics arrived and quickly sized up the situation. It took four of them to get Adam onto the stretcher and into restraints. One of them came over to Roger after he was well secured. “You okay?” the paramedic asked.

Roger nodded. He felt his nose and hoped it wasn’t broken. Either way, he wasn’t getting in that ambulance with Adam.

“What’s his name?”

“Adam,” Roger told him. “Adam Harding.”

“Can you tell me what happened? Is he on something?”

The wheels in Roger’s brain began to turn. Adam wasn’t dead. He probably wasn’t going to die any time soon. But there were ways to turn this to his advantage. “He’s been having some psychological issues recently,” Roger explained. “Acting very strangely. He was very paranoid all the time.”

“About what?”

“He’s got this delusion that someone’s been threatening him,” Roger said. “It all stems back to this car accident that happened a very long time ago. It’s completely ridiculous, but... he really seems to believe it, for some reason. I guess he finally just cracked.”

The paramedic shook his head. “Very sad. I guess it happens.”

He bought it! “If his doctor needs to speak with me,” Roger reached into his pocket, “here’s my card. I want to help in any way I can. Adam’s a good friend of mine.”

To be continued....