Honesty was difficult with a gun to your head.
“Did you sleep with my wife?” asked Randy.
“No,” replied Harold.
Randy shouted. “Did you?”
“Goddamnit, no!” Harold shouted back. “How many times do I have to say it?”
Randy grabbed Harold’s collar and shook him. “As many times as it takes for me to believe you.”
The question was asked a few more times. Harold stuck to his answer. Randy didn’t want the truth. The pressure of the gun barrel against Harold’s skull and the shallow grave, dug by his own callused hands at gunpoint, reminded him that he didn’t want to die here.
Lots of guys had screwed Randy’s wife. Why couldn’t one of them be here instead of Harold?
“Did you sleep with my wife?”
Harold remained calm. He’d always had a knack for that. “You don’t want to do this.”
“Yes, I do.”
Harold took a boot to the back and fell over. His fingers dug in the loose brown earth. He saw the graves. A dozen. More. Mounds of dirt. Monuments to Randy’s rage and grief.
“Oh, shit, Randy. How many—”
“As many as it takes,” Randy replied.
Harold stood. “I’m not doing this. You want to shoot me? Go ahead. But don’t do it for her. Don’t do it because you think it’ll save your shitty marriage. How many guys do you have to bring out here before you realize it’s not about them? It’s about you and her. You can’t fix things this way.
“You want to blame someone. Blame her. Blame you. Don’t blame me. I’m just some guy you barely know who had an indiscretion years ago.”
Randy wiped the tears from his watering eyes. “I love her so much.”
“This isn’t love, buddy,” said Harold. “It’s a lot of things, but it’s not that.”
Randy lowered the gun. “Jesus, it’s pretty fucked up, isn’t it?”
“Yeah. It’s pretty fucked up.”
Randy laughed. He rubbed his jaw. “Thanks, man. Of course, now that you know this, I can’t let you—”
He didn’t see the shovel coming at his head until it was too late. Harold caved in Randy’s skull with a few more good whacks to be certain.
“Yeah, I kind of figured that.”
He buried Randy in the grave, deleted Randy’s wife’s number from his phone, and drove home to his wife and kids.