All Stories, General Fiction

My Friend Greg by Elizabeth Day Broschart

I met my oldest friend Greg for coffee when the allegations were at their height. We did not speak of them at first. I inquired on his health, which led to an inquiry on his family, which led back to the allegations. “She’s shut me out,” Greg said, meaning his wife, who had moved from their Manhattan apartment to their daughter’s place in Brooklyn. “Not a word in weeks.” Greg sipped his coffee and his eyes moved shiftily from side to side as if gaging whether anyone from the coffee shop was listening in. “But you believe me, right?”

“Greg,” I said. “Course I do.”

I didn’t.

I thought back to our college days, nights when drunken girls lay splayed on sleeping bags on the floor of Lambda Chi like corpses. How the next morning there were often whispers of misremembering, always surrounding Greg, his larger-than-life personality drowning them out. She was wasted, man. I was helping her, for Christ’s sake. It was an unspoken rule among the sorority girls: don’t fall asleep around Greg Patterson.

I thought of one girl with auburn hair and cornflower skin. She was named after a type of flower. Rose? Violet? And then it came to me like a bright epiphany: Lily. Lily with her tumbling curls like fire, running down the stairs of Lambda Chi, pants unzipped, puke on her Sigma Kappa crop top. She had gone to the Dean. But there was never an investigation. Greg was solid: a legacy National Merit Scholar with a strong jaw and a photographic memory. This was before “Me Too.”

Greg wiped sweat from his forehead. His meaty arms were covered in tiny white curly hairs. “And this intern, she’s contacted all these others. They’re having fun with this. I had to delete Facebook. And LinkedIn.”

I nodded. I had heard just that morning of “the others” in the Lambda Chi alumni group text, the one Greg was no longer a part of. 

“Do you even know them?” I asked. “These other women?”

Greg shrugged. “Sure,” he said. “In passing.”

I knew for sure then. He was lying.

The coffee shop buzzed with chatter, the Autumn light like dust. Greg took a bite of scone.

“God damn it,” he said, chewing, his mouth full of scone. “My mother was right. A woman did ruin my life.”

Oh, Greg’s mother. A new age hippy before it was quaint, she’d walked into the Frat house with smoking incense and tarot cards, offering to read the boy’s fortunes over beers. She’d been quite the beauty. Everyone had liked her. But Greg had been embarrassed by her presence. She always stayed a little too long. Flirted a bit too much. And then there were her visions. She’d announce them sporadically. Kyle, she said to me once. Never drive in the rain.

“Women, you mean.”


Women ruined your life. Not just one.”

“Sure,” Greg said. “Whatever. She was right man.”

I looked out the window. A young girl on a skateboard flew past. “What do you think happened to that girl?” I said. “Lily?”

Greg squinted. He shook his head slightly. “Who?”

“You know,” I said. “From college.” I paused, and as I stirred my coffee, her full name came to me: “Lily Belton.”

Greg’s expression went slack. “Who the fuck cares, Kyle?”

I thought about my own daughter, newly sixteen years old. I thought about the many talks we’d had over the last year: never ride in a car with a boy you don’t know, never sleep in an unlocked room at someone’s house, always look out for the nice guys. How many of these rules were a direct influence of my time with Greg? Who was Greg if not a nice guy?

I decided, right then, I would contact the intern. I would tell her Lily Belton’s name. And after, I would pray to God to forgive me. Forgive me for betraying Greg, my oldest friend. Forgive me for not doing so sooner.

Elizabeth Day Broschart


6 thoughts on “My Friend Greg by Elizabeth Day Broschart”

  1. Elizabeth

    Selecting someone who knows the guy, but not as a victim , someone who is able to confidently deduce from past evidence the guy’s guilt is a great idea. It gives a fresh angle. Hope to see more stories from you in the future.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi Elizabeth,
    I really did like how understated this was. There was enough to paint the picture of an absolute horrific individual without going into detail, that shows confidence and skill from you as a writer.
    Be very proud of that last line, it is superb!
    All the very best.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Understated and all the more effective for that. I’ve known men like Greg & their whining that it’s all a female conspiracy & this nails their entitled attitudes. Excellent.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I am not sure how a meathead like Greg could be the protagonist’s oldest friend. We don’t know what actual qualities he had that would lead to any kind of friendship with the protagonist. I guess he did have a strong jaw. Greg is definitely representative of a certain kind of guy.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. This is very deftly handled and well done. Monsters like Greg exist, and they also have friends – friends who don’t say what they need to hear. This was a great insight into that and superbly written.

    Liked by 1 person

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