Keep Your Enemies Close
Keep Your Enemies Close
By Hope Clarke
I’ve heard people say that you should keep your friends close and your
enemies closer, but I think it should be the other way around.
It was the later part of Summer, you know just about that time when you
feel you’ve really gotten to know the guy you met after Valentines Day.
He’s had just enough time to empress you but not enough to earn the
panties. Now I didn’t say he didn’t get any, but he certainly hadn’t
earned it. I mean being handsome does earn some points doesn’t it?
Anyway, his name is Anthony but everyone calls him Tony for short. He
works out on a regular at Equinox. The guy’s got biceps a woman would
die for and his six pack – I don’t mean beer – definitely is refreshing.
Can you believe after all this time, 5 months, I still don’t know where
this guy works? He’s cute as hell though and I would do just about
anything to keep him…at least I thought I would.
“What’s up girl?” I called out to my girl Rosie. That’s how I met Tony.
She and I were out driving one night; Rosie started flirting with two
guys who were passing by in a 2002 Mercedes. After we all introduced
ourselves, I drove away with a card with nothing but a name and number
printed on it – Tony – 917-942-6248 along with a mental picture of the
guy who handed it to me.
“Hey Connie, How’s Tony?” She called back. She later realized that Tony
was the one with the car. “What are you guys doing today?” She asked
approaching with her seductive gate. Her hips were full and
proportionate with her large thighs and fluffy breasts. She was wearing
her favorite yellow dress that clung perfectly to her body.
“I guess you’re on a stroll tonight?” “You know that’s right girl. I’ve
got to find me a man. Someone to do me right.” “What happened to Duane?”
“Too pretentious. I just can’t stand perpetrators.”
“Why would you think he’s a perpetrator? Because he didn’t own the
Mercedes he was driving?” “Well yeah, but you didn’t have to make it
sound so cold did you?”
“It’s the truth. You’ve got to be looking for more than just superficial
things. What if the man loses his job and he treats you really good,
would you still leave him?”
“He didn’t have a job. He just wanted to freeload off of me. He got me
for five hundred bucks and that’s far more than I would ever give a
man!” “What did he need it for?” “He claimed he was looking for a job
and needed a couple of outfits for an interview. I found out that he had
two other women besides me.”
Tony had trouble hiding that awkward look he had on his face. He
obviously knew that his friend was nothing but a gigolo. He quickly
gave me a quick kiss on the cheek and said he had to get moving.
“Baby I’ll catch up with you later. I can see you and Rosie have a lot
to talk about.” “What time?” “Let’s say about eight.” “Perfect. I’ll see
Rosie and I went to the Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream. Although we
were doing her favorite pass time – buying shoes, her mind was still on
the five hundred dollars Duane took from her. I didn’t know which
bothered her the most, the fact that he conned her out of her money or
that she felt she paid a high-priced whore for a good time.
“You know Connie, I feel like killing that bastard.” “Rosie, it’s only
five hundred dollars. You want to go to jail for a mere five hundred
dollars? That’s ridiculous! Now come on and stop talking like that. It’s
not like you don’t do it all the time. Sometimes our sins return to us.
Just laugh it off and learn to keep your money in your pocket.”
“I don’t know what came over me. I really thought this guy was special.
He filled my head up with nothing but lies. I actually trusted him. He
used the Love word.”
“No he didn’t. He told you he loved you? And you believed him?” I don’t
know why, but I let out a hardy laugh and before I knew it, I felt a
sting on my cheek. “Why did you slap me?” I asked holding my hand to my
cheek. I could feel the tingle beneath my fingers as I attempted to
massage the insult away. My reflexes must be slow because she certainly
deserved a return for that. When my eyes finally focused, I realized
that people were whispering and staring at me.
“How could you make fun of me? I am Rosemarie Cruz and no one treats me
like that. Not anybody. He’ll pay for that.” “That still doesn’t explain
why you slapped me.” I mumbled still holding my cheek. “I’m sorry, come
on, let’s go into Nine West.”
It was getting pretty late. Rosie and I had shopped like crazy. I found
two outfits and finally found some slings to match my bronze and gold
dress. Black just didn’t cut it. Rosie bought three pairs of shoes and
some jeans that complimented her shape. My shape wasn’t bad. I mean I
must admit, that I was really put together, but everything seemed to
be made just for her. Anyway, it was six o’clock and we really needed to
get back. Tony was quite punctual and I didn’t want to disappoint him.
I dropped Rosie off at her house on Lincoln Place and I lived a few
blocks up on St. John’s Place.
“You gonna be all right?” “I’m fine. Thanks for not kicking my ass. I’m
sorry for tripping.” “Don’t sweat it. I understand. Now I’ve got to get
home now, so don’t you go killing anybody okay? I don’t want to read
about you in tomorrows paper.” “Go ahead, I’m fine now.” "What are you
going to do for the rest of the night?” She sighed. “Just watch
television and throw a couple of hot dogs on the Forman.”
“We’ll hang out tomorrow. I’ll tell Tony that tomorrow’s the girl’s
night out.” We hugged and parted. When I arrived home, I hung up my
outfits and put my shoes in the closet along with all the rest. I pulled
a banana floral, spagetti-stapped nightgown from my closet and a pair of
white Goose-feather pumps to wear around the house. I prepared my bath
and slid into the creamy bubble surface down into the warm welcoming
water. I felt good, relaxed. Afterwards, I towel dried and oiled myself
with Relaxing Moments body oil. Just as I slid my gown over my body, I
heard the doorbell ring.
“Coming.” I called out as I made my way to the door. I checked myself in
the mirror before pulling the door open. “Rosie?” I said disappointed.
“Tomorrow is girl’s night out. Not tonight. You’re confused.” I said
pushing the door closed without inviting her in. “Stop it silly. He’s
dead!” She said breaking into a sob. “Who’s dead Rosie? What are you
talking about?” “Duane’s dead.” My face contorted into a ghastly look of
surprise and fear. “You killed him?” I started toward the living room to
pick up the phone when she came up behind me. Her hand rested on top of
mine preventing me from lifting the receiver.
“I didn’t kill him!” Her hand still pressed atop mine. I could feel her
hand trembling. She was scared. This was certainly a characteristic I
was accustomed to seeing from her. I realized that she was distraught
and probably going through a denial state. I feared what she would do
next, so I pulled my hand away from the phone.
“Let’s sit down. Tell me what happened.” “I turned on the TV and started
grilling hotdogs just as planned, but I just couldn’t get the thought
out of my head that I let a stupid man get over on me. I just couldn’t
shake it. I tried to calm myself down, but I just couldn’t. I got so
angry. I started drinking and before I knew it, I was at his door
banging and screaming. I was furious. So furious at him that when he
opened the door, I charged him.” She paused and broke into a wail.
“Rosie you’ve got to calm down. What happened next.” “There was blood
every where. Over my clothes, my hands the floor, every where. He was
bleeding so badly. I didn’t know what to do.” “Why was he bleeding
Rosie. What did you hit him with?” “There was blood all over the place.
It just didn’t make sense. I didn’t understand. How could something like
this happen? I’m in trouble aren’t I Connie. Tell the truth.” Rosie.
What did you do?”
“I wasn’t thinking. I had to get away, so I snatched the knife from his
chest and I ran as fast as I could. I had to hide. I was covered in
blood and…Connie, I don’t want to go to jail over five hundred dollars.”
“You stabbed him Rosie? Why did you do that? I told you to forget about
it.” She was so scared I held her close. I wanted to help her, but what
could I do? She had committed murder. I can’t hide it. That would make
me an accessory. “Rosie, I’m going to call the police and you have got
to explain to them what happened.” “You’re turning me in?” I’ve got to.”
“I didn’t kill him.” “Rosie, I know you’re afraid, but you’ve got to
deal with this.” She pulled away from me.
“I thought I could trust you; that you would help me. I guess I was
wrong.” “Help you do what? Get away with murder.” She got up from her
seat and started for the door. I was definitely not going to hinder her.
“I brought the knife home. It’s in a bag along with my bloody clothes.
You can help me if you want to. If not, then stay out of my way.” Help
you do what? Cover up the crime?” "No. Find out who really killed him!”
Just as she opened the door, Tony walked in. I had forgotten about our
intimate date. He was handsome as ever. “Hey Rosie.” He greeted her. She
didn’t respond only continued out the door without saying a word.
“What’s up with her?” “She’s having a really hard time right now.” She’s
not still mad about Duane is she?” “Yeah, in fact, I think I should get
dressed and try to catch up with her. She really doesn’t need to be
alone right now.” “People get cheated on all the time Connie, but it is
“She killed Duane.” He laughed. “That’s silly, I was just at Duane’s
house and he’s perfectly fine. Your girlfriend is a trip. That’s what
she told you? That she killed Duane?” “What are you laughing at? Your
friend is dead! Why would she tell me something like that if it weren’t
true?” “Perhaps to get you all upset or to play a prank on you. You’re
not falling for it are you?” “Did she look like she was pranking? I’m
getting dressed.” I told him snatching my hand from him. I hurried into
my bedroom and pulled a pair of dark blue jeans from the closet and a
neon green tee shirt. Once I pulled the shirt over my head, I realized
that Tony was standing at the door. He didn’t believe any of this. His
expression said exactly what was on his mind – you can’t be serious.
"I really don’t care if you believe me or not, I know my friend and she
wouldn’t lie about a thing like this. She’s in denial and I’ve got to do
all that I can to help her.” “How will you help her? By turning her over
to the police? What kind of friend is that?” “Look, you can either come
with me or you can get out of my way, but I’m going to my friend.”
“Fine. You can do what you want, but I am not going to be a part of
this. When you feel like having a real relationship, you can give me a
call.” Tony turned and walked away. His response was so fast, that I
didn’t have a chance to respond. I grabbed my purse and hurried out the
door. Tony was already gone. When I reached outside, I got into my car
and for some reason, I was inclined to go to Duane’s house first. I
needed to confirm that Duane was actually dead and that this was not
some hoax or sick joke.
Duane lived about twenty minutes from me. He lived on Crescent Street in
East New York. I pulled in front of his house. There was nothing out of
the ordinary. People were sitting on their stoops talking and laughing.
Duane’s lights were on in his house. I saw someone’s shadow pass by the
window. They didn’t look out. The person descended out of sight then
reappeared carrying something. I figured it was Duane. He and Rosie are
trying to play a trick on me for sure and Tony is in on it. Why else
would he have disappeared like that so fast. They knew that I would
come here first. They are all waiting for me upstairs. I then realized
that my birthday was only a couple of days away. This is probably a
surprise birthday party. “Really slick Rosie.” I told myself. As I
ascended the steps.
When I reached out to knock on the door, it opened. I quietly entered
the house wanting to surprise them instead of the other way around so I
crept up the steps to the livingroom. Duane lives in a two-family house
and he has the upstairs apartment. When I reached the top of the steps,
no one was there and nothing seemed unusual. The furniture was still in
tact, nothing was broken or disarray. Slowly, I crept toward the rear of
the house. Duane’s room was the last room all the way to the back so I
bypassed the other two without opening the doors. I stood not even three
feet from his room door when a horrible odor, stench filled my nostrils.
I cupped my mouth and nose. I reached out for the doorknob and a sudden
chill raced up my spine – “Was Rosie telling the truth? Had she
actually killed Duane?”
After swallowing, I slowly turned the knob and without further
hesitation, I forced the door open. I couldn’t believe what I was
seeing. It was far worse than anything I could have imagined was. I
moved closer in disbelief. I wanted to scream but I fought the urge, I
only watched. When I had seen enough, I backed out the room and pulled
the door shut, leaving it ajar. I backed myself all the way through the
apartment until I was back down the stairs and on my way to my car. I
started it and drove off. I didn’t know what to do. It’s one thing to
have someone tell you that they killed someone, but it’s another to see
it for yourself.
I had to go to the police. I didn’t want to get any more involved than I
had to. Sometimes stupidity kicks in when you’re trying to do the right
thing so needless to say; I rushed over to Rosie’s house. I had to find
out what she planned on doing.
I pulled in front of her house, shut off my engine and rushed right up
her stairs. I rang the bell. After waiting a few minutes, she opened it.
She appeared wild and crazy. She was still crying. She was wearing latex
gloves that were stained with blood. In her other hand, she was holding
a bloody knife.
“Rosie, what are you doing? Are you okay? Why do you have that knife in
your hand?” “I’m going to find out who killed Duane.” “You killed Duane
Rosie.” She screamed at me swinging the knife while reiterating that she
did not kill him that someone was trying to set her up. “Just give me
the knife Rosie, then we can talk about whatever you want to.”
“I don’t trust you. Why should I hand the knife to you?” “Because, I
want to help you and I don’t want to get hurt in the process.” She
handed me the knife carefully. The blood was wet and gooey. I didn’t
want to hold it, but it was the only way I would feel safe talking to
her considering that she was distraught. “Let’s go to the livingroom and
“I think you talk too much.” She said angrily while pulling the latex
gloves from her hands. She went to the bathroom and washed her hands.
She put the gloves into the toilet and flushed them down.
“You’re not thinking Rosie. You just flushed a pair of rubber gloves
down the toilet. I’m surprised it didn’t flood the toilet.” Her
personality changed so quickly, she seemed really angry about something.
She returned to the livingroom and picked up the phone. She dialed the
“You’re going to turn yourself in?” I asked in amazement. I guessed that
she had decided to face the music. I left her to discuss matters with
the police. I would stand by her side for as long as she needed me. I
went into the bathroom and looked at myself in the mirror. I think what
I was really looking for was reassurance. So much was happening so fast.
“The police will be here soon.” She told me. Her tone was bitter. It
didn’t seem right considering all I had done to help her. “You know,
before all this is over, I want you to know how I really feel about
“What do you mean?” “I mean, you have always thought that you were
better than me, you took all the nice looking guys and for once, I had
hoped that you would be a friend and not some straight arrow.”
“I’ve never taken anyone from you. Who have I taken from you? Why are
you so angry with me? You’re my best friend.” The police arrived. I
could hear the sirens from outside. She would be gone from my life very
soon. I needed to straighten things out before she was gone from me
“Rosie, I had no idea that you felt that way about me. Tell me, exactly
what I did to hurt you.” There was a knock on the door and she opened
it. The police entered and started toward the livingroom. She looked at
me with all the loathing she could muster up. “You killed my boyfriend!”
I was in shock, before I could say anything, the police was grabbing my
arm and pulling a bloody knife from my hand and taking pictures of me. I
was escorted to a patrol car and Rosie was left behind to talk to the
police. My lips couldn’t even sum up the words to explain how the knife
got into my hand. Cleverly so, her fingerprints would not be on the
knife nor would they be at the apartment. She probably planned all of
this just for me.
I had a legal aid attorney to defend me and she recommended that I take
a plea. She said that it’s better to admit to the crime than to give the
judge the impression that I’m trying to make a mockery of the court. I
took one look at the judge and knew that she was right.
I received a lesser sentence of 20 years with 10 being the minimum
served. After being locked up for 7 years, the only thing I can remember
is Tony sitting in court with his arms wrapped around someone I once
called my best friend. The two of them had set me up.
Tony had killed his friend and he and Rosie plotted to make me the fall
guy. Needless to say, it worked. I had no proof and certainly no alibi.
“Keep your enemies close and your friends even closer.” I told my new
cellmate. I’ve told this story to eleven people since I’ve been here and
not one of them got my point. I looked out the window and uttered
“Revenge is a bliss. See you on the outside!”
Hope C. Clarke is publisher and author
of suspense with a twist of romance...