It was suppose to be a boys trip, going fishing in the local ponds, shooting empty beer bottles with air rifle shells, or playing baseball with whatever sticks we came across in the woods. We didn't see each other much, yet when we'd get a chance we'd plan our yearly trip to the woods to escape the norms of life, ease our lives, and just have a good time.
Yet those days were over now cause Jimmy was dead and his corpse laid in the back of my truck hidden inside a black garbage bag like a piece of trash. It all happened so fast. We got drunk and acted stupid. An argument broke out. Arguments always happen when we're drunk, yet this time it went too far.
Eric had been in a bad mood since the trip started. We literally had to beg him to go with us which wasn't entirely shocking. Eric is introverted and stubborn as a mule. Getting him to go on any trip is always like pulling teeth.
This time was Eric's last straw. He was acting so negative and really bumming us all out. Plus he kept drinking like a sailor on his or her first day back on shore. I suggested he should lay off Samuel Adams for a while, yet of course he didn't listen. The more he drank the worst his mood became. Because he was drinking heavily he started stumbling over. Eventually he lost his car keys somewhere in the forest which led him to blaming Jimmy for losing his keys. Let's just say those two have a history and parts of it aren't pretty. Eric then started bringing up old, outdated events from high school like when Jimmy started dating Megan. Megan was Eric's girlfriend for a while until they broke up then a few weeks later she and Jimmy started hanging out. It sucked, yet Eric got over it or so we thought.
" She was my girl, Jimmy and you took her from me!" Eric shouted, pointing fingers at Jimmy.
" We've already been through this. I broke up with her and apologized to you remember?" Jimmy said, trying to calm Eric down, but of course it didn't work. The alcohol had taken full control like Tom Brady in the 4th quarter of the super bowl.
" Let's just calm down guys and enjoy the evening," I said, hoping to help. I should of said something sooner. I knew Eric had his issues. No one else knew about his drinking problem and how I convinced him to start attending AA meetings at my church a few years ago. I thought he was better.
" Shut up, Josh! This is between us!" Eric said, glaring into my eyes. Then shit got really out of control. Eric pulled a 45 auto out of his pocket. He actually pulled a gun out on us, his best friends!
" Whoa!" Jimmy said, arms flying in the air.
" Eric, what the hell, man!" I yelled at him.
Eric let out a scream." None of you understand! You never understand what I'm going through!"
" That's not true. We care about you a lot dude," Jimmy said, but his ounce of empathy didn't help.
" Eric, please lower the weapon.... We can talk about this.... Together," those were the last words I said before Eric pressed the trigger. I don't remember much else. We sort of blacked out. I remember opening my eyes, noticing Jimmy laying on the ground in a pool of blood.
" Holy shit, Eric! What did you do!" I screamed at him. I screamed at him for god knows how long. Yet it didn't help. Nothing I said could get through to him.
Eric had the gun. He held the power and he knew it, so we agreed to put Jimmy..... I mean put Jimmy's body into the back of my truck then figure out what to do next. I couldn't just jump in my truck and take off. I wasn't going to leave Jimmy with this psycho.
This leads us to now. Here we are standing outside an empty motel at 3am in the morning, booking a room for a short stay to get some sleep before we hit the road. I definitely wasn't planning on sleeping. Who knows what Eric wanted to do with the body. I had no idea what to do myself, yet I sure as hell wasn't going to let Eric get away with Jimmy's murder.
" You boys are up late," the elderly motel owner told us, getting a pair of keys for the room.
" Yeah. We're just passing through," Eric said, calmly. How the hell was he acting so calm after what had happened? I fought as hard as I could to hold in my emotions. The motel owner handed us keys to room eighteen. We said good bye and went back to the truck to get our bags. I wanted to get the weapon away from Eric badly, yet feared for my own life.
" We need to talk about what we're going to do with Jimmy," I said, trying to cope with whatever parts of humanity Eric had left inside of him.
" I told you to shut up and just do what I tell you," Eric said, slamming the door to the truck shut" Jimmy's dead, so get over it."
I nodded my head then followed him into our room. Eric just laid in the bed and scrolled through the TV with the remote as if everything was fine. He didn't want to talk about Jimmy or anything really. It was like I was with a total stranger not my best friend.
I waited until Eric went to sleep then I decided to do something stupid. While Eric slept I left the room to find the hotel manager. If I could get his attention and tell him what had happened he could call the police and they'd get Eric. Obviously I didn't want Eric to get arrested, but at this point here was nothing else I could do. So I ran toward the door and dashed inside, hoping Eric was still fast asleep.
" You have to call the police right now!" I shouted, alarming the motel manager who was in the middle of playing solitaire online" My friend, Eric, lost his cool and shot our friend Jimmy..... Jimmy is dead," Saying those words out loud felt like someone had yanked a sword from my heart.
" Goodness! I assumed something had happened between you too. I'll call the cops. Where is your friend now?"
" Eric is asleep in the room.... And we put Jimmy's body in the back of my truck.... I'm sorry to be yanking you into this, but I need someone's help fast," I said taken a deep breathe in and out.
Then the door suddenly opened. It was Eric. He had his right hand hidden behind his back. I assumed he had his gun lock and loaded.
" Josh, why are you bothering him?"
" He was helping me with the ice machine... Thanks," the motel manger said, nodding his head.
" Go back to sleep, Eric. I'll be back in the room in a second," I said, trying to sound strong not weak.
" No, we aren't going back to sleep. Get back in the truck. We're leaving!"
" You sure you don't want to stay the rest of the night?" the motel manager asked, trying to calm him down. It felt like were locked in a cage with a tiger ready to pouch.
" How stupid do you think I am? I already realize Josh told you what happened," said Eric, revealing his weapon and pointing it at the motel manager" you'll do exactly as I tell you old man or I'll stick a bullet straight into your head!" Eric and I didn't realize there was an emergency panic button underneath his desk. He must of pressed it already cause several police cars suddenly pulled into the parking lot of the motel. They pulled out their guns and surrounded the building.
" You called the police!" Eric shouted, slamming his fist on the table" Dumb that was so dumb of you!" He tried slamming the tip of his gun into the hotel manager's head, yet I stopped him.
" Eric, calm down! If you keep this up they will kill you!" I said, warning him. I felt terrible, helping Eric after what he did to Jimmy, yet he was still my friend and I didn't want anything bad to happen to him. Two police officers walked inside the motel, guns drawn on Eric's back.
" Freeze!" they shouted. It took a few moments, yet Eric finally dropped his gun and listened. He broke into tears, sobbing as he placed his hands behind his back, muttering the words I'm sorry over and over not to us but to himself.
Eric was taken into custody. A few weeks later I found out he had stopped taking his medicine before the trip which explains why he was acting so insane. The drinking didn't help. The more he drank the worse his mental state became. He was sentenced to life behind bars. I visit him sometimes. He tells me he converted to Christianity and hopes Jimmy will forgive him. Of course I tell Eric Jimmy has forgiven him, yet truthfully I'll never know for certain. I should of done more to stop this from happening. I knew they had their issues, but I never thought things would go like this so quickly. People need help, especially from their friends. I know I probably sound crazy to still be seeing Eric even between the bars, yet I just feel terrible about what happened and want to help him in any way I can.
My therapist tells me to write notes in my journal whenever I feel stressed. It was a week before I last wrote in my journal. Some days are better than others, yet there is always hope if you go searching for it.