If there were a choice that could decide the fate of your loved ones, and whether or not you were put in jail for the rest of your life, would you take it? Of course you would, without hesitation, or at least I did. My name is Evner Dubs. Fourteen years ago I was put in prison for the murder of my girlfriend, Lea, and my best friend, Dexter. We were a merry band of friends. Well, three of us were. I was always the dour one but the others were happy. Lea was the ever-loving sunshine of my life; Dexter was quieter but he laughed when it counted. Of course, the last member of our party whom I have not mentioned yet is Felix. He was always the happy to my morose, loquacious to my taciturn, energetic to my indolent. On top of all this, he was Irish, meaning he had the creative cursing skills of a drunk pirate. I had not been out long before I went to see him.
It was a stormy evening, and, as the moon rose, I shouldered my way past the heavy front door of the “Osrí ar Meisce.” This was the bar Felix owned; apparently, the name of the pub was “The Drunken Oyster,” but seeing as I didn’t know Gaelic and I was too lazy to learn, I had always taken Felix’s word for it.
As I crossed the threshold, I was warmly greeted by the smells and sights of this familiar place. It smelled of good beer and fresh velvet. The tables all had chairs lying face down on top of them, and the booths lining the sides were just as I had remembered. Each had a different member of The Beatles on a poster under glass table tops, all surrounded by iconic settings from their songs. Strawberry Fields, Abbey Road, an entirely yellow submarine, and a church, (presumably the one where Eleanor Rigby was buried). I had never been able to tell, but I don’t know what else in their songs it could be referencing. It had to be said, Felix certainly did have a taste for decoration.
Behind the bar was the man himself, Felix Gallagher. He was using a rag to clean out glasses, methodically holding the rag up to the inside of the glass and twisting until it had gone the circumference of the glass three times over. The rhythmic squeaking from the inside of the glass was almost a testament to how many times Felix had performed this action over the seventeen years he had owned this place.
“We’re closed. Go home.” He did not look up from his action for about thirty seconds. When he realized he hadn’t yet heard the door open and close a second time, he looked at the offender. “Oh… Dubsy, I would think you’ll be needing a drink.” He smiled with that patented Gallagher smile. I could still remember the first time I saw that smile. It had been when Dexter first introduced us.
“Evner, never heard that one before,” he had said. “Does anyone call you Dubsy?” I shook my head. “Great, I’ll be the first.” Then, he flashed that smile. He had called me Dubsy ever since, and that smile never got old.
Felix stopped his robotic cleaning and poured me a tall pint. He knew what I wanted.
“Do you think I did the right thing under the circumstances, taking the plea bargain?”
“I think it was the only thing you could’ve done. Nothing would bring them back, and that was the simplest way to minimize further damage.”
“I was just trying to do something good for once; to be a hero for someone.”
“Oh, Evner,” he sighed. I realized that this was the first time in a long time he had called me by my first name—he didn’t use it lightly. “There are no heroes, Evner. There are only people. You should know that.”
“I suppose I should.”
We sat in silence. Both of us knew I hadn’t killed Lea and Dexter, and now that I was finished paying for a crime I didn’t commit, we could finally be honest about it. Ironically, now that we could talk, we said nothing. What was there to be said? We lived happy lives, he and I, and stayed friends through all of it. I gave a eulogy at his funeral, and when I die, I like to think I’ll get to see him again, one last time.
Here lies the mortal remains of Evner Leroy Dubs
Thought to have killed his best friend and girlfriend, new evidence comes to light after his death that suggests the perpetrator was in fact a man currently on death row for numerous other crimes. This is just one of the new charges surfacing against him.
Dubsy will be missed.