Miguel hung his head over the bar. He nursed the same beer all afternoon. It was a scene of utter despair.
Juan, an old friend, walked in and signaled the bartender for a bottle and two glasses.
Juan sat beside Miguel, “What is wrong my old friend?”
“It is a difficult thing,” Miguel said to Juan.
“What is so difficult?” Juan said.
“The most difficult thing in the world is to like yourself,” Miguel said. “And for me that is difficult. I do not like myself.”
“I have heard of such a thing, but I have no experience in helping other than tequila and a good word. But I swear to you, Miguel,” Juan said. “You are a good man. You have done many good things.”
“It was not always that way,” Miguel said. “In the past so many bad things.”
“We all do bad things,” Juan said.
“Not to good people,” Miguel said. “There is no way to repay.”
“How bad was it, Miguel,” Juan said.
“You don’t want to know,” Miguel said.
“Was it murder?” Juan said. “Did you kill someone?”
“I must repeat,” Miguel said. “You don‘t want to know.”
“But, Miguel,” Juan said. “Perhaps I can assure you, you are a very likable man and there is no need for you to live with such guilt. Speak to me and free yourself.”
“It is too painful to bring up,” Miguel said.
“It is painful because you keep it inside,” Juan said. “It is like a boil; when the pressure is released all the poison and pain goes away.”
“I wish that were true,” Miguel said. “But this may be more like a cancer; once it is exposed it spreads.”
“I do not think so, my friend,” Juan said. “Nothing will come between us, nothing.”
Miguel swallowed hard. He poured a shot of tequila for himself and Juan. “Drink,” he said.
They both tossed the shots quickly into their mouths.
“Are you ready to talk?” Juan said.
“Are you ready to listen?” Miguel said.
“I am ready, my friend,” Juan said.
Miguel leaned forward and with cold eyes said, “I killed your brother, Pedro.”
“I don’t have a brother named Pedro,” Juan said.
“Pedro Valdez?” Miguel said.
“No,” Juan said. “I am Juan Alvarez.”
“You have a brother named, Carlos?” Miguel said.
“Yes,” Juan said.
“I killed him too,” Miguel said.
“Now do you feel better?” Juan said.
“Yes,” Miguel said, “But aren’t you upset and want revenge.”
“I take revenge long ago,” Juan said. “I killed your brother, Marco.”
“But when Marco got killed then I killed Carlos,” Miguel said.
“I knew it was only a matter of time,” Juan said. “And the opportunity presented itself then; it may never happen again. I did not want to go looking for him.”
“I am beginning to get confused,” Miguel said.
“It is good our brothers are dead. You did a good thing and should be proud you did a good thing,” Juan said. “Our brothers were no good, they would kill for no good reason.”
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