One Last Drink
by Laurel Montgomery
I greatly desired the man’s death, even imagined it; he could not be suffered to live. You, who so well know me, know it was not covetousness, as my wife ventured to suggest- that she should utter such against her own husband! Her slander against me proved the poison in the man’s deranged poem that haunted and taunted, incessant, unceasing.
I had his acquaintance years prior but dreamed not of meeting again. Such simplicity, such justice in the path set before me as my eyes knew him in the street. He wore the greyness that came on him in his younger days, marking the madness consuming his soul. Madness he inflicted upon us all with his writings. Nevermore. You must understand my course predetermined. What just man, sane man, could deny it? Not you, certainly.
He had a weakness, this supposed genius of our age.
"Mr. Poe! Mr. Poe! How luckily met!" He could not guess my revulsion at touching the vessel of such insanity as dwelt within him.
"The very same! Join me. You must not walk alone on Election Day in Baltimore. Here we are at Gunner’s Hall. Come, have a drink. I’ll see you safely home."
"I should not. I am-I should not."
"You cannot deny me the pleasure of raising a glass together in celebration of your accomplishments. It is many years passed. Come, one drink."
"Ahh. One last drink." So you see, it truly was he, not I, that chose his manner of death.