"Best Man Wins,"
selected as one of the
Best American Mystery Stories, 2004 edition

I walked on board Flight 587 from Paris to New York, showed my ticket to the flight attendant, then walked though first class, where I usually sat, and continued back to coach. At Row 22, I stopped and looked down at the man sitting in Seat A, the man who I knew would be there, the man who had been having an affair with my wife for the past four months.

I sat down in Seat B.

Jean-Louis Vachon did not look up from the pages of Le Monde, for he was not a man to be bothered with nods of hello to other travelers. I have known him for nine years, but I wasn't sure how I'd react this time. Five days ago, a computer at home malfunctioned, restoring a hundred deleted files. My wife's words to Vachon left me no room for doubt.

What did I feel when I learned the truth? Bewilderment and bitterness, rage and a sick despair - and I felt them all at once. I have not told her that I know, but each day I struggle to hide my anger, while every night my best and sweetest memories of love are turned into nightmares - with the Frenchman in my place.

I want to know who to blame. Her? Him? Probably both. I'm trying to think clearly now, trying to get back to who I am. Revenge is tempting, but I'm going to solve this problem for good.

(End of excerpt)