I have read a lot of Jack Erickson's short stories and books. Some I've liked a lot and others not so much. There is so much wrong with this one I hardly know where to start; so I'll start with *Spoiler Alert*!
First of all, the "hero" (I hate to call him that) is heading for college with tennis scholarships but also plays football. Maybe, but I'm skeptical. Because of a knee injury he's developed arthritis and he "faces a lifetime of pain, limited mobility and a knee replacement." As a nurse of 40 yrs. and an arthritis sufferer for more than half as long, I have a hard time with that. A joint replacement RELIEVES pain and mobility problems, especially for injury-induced arthritis in a single joint. But then, I guess knowing that it would make it harder to feel sorry for the poor guy working two jobs who doesn't have time to see his finance or his ailing mother.
Apparently he isn't having so much pain that he isn't unwilling to squander a "handful" of Vicodin (which are not so easily crushed by the way and don't dissolve well). The author stretches reality even further when, after a second dose combined with liberal amounts of alcohol not only doesn't render the victim totally incapacitated , he squints his eyes and recognizes his former high school teammate he hasn't seen in ten years.
It's not the suspension of belief the author tries to sell his readers that bothers me the most. It is the way he dismisses morality by trying to sell his character as a " good guy," who in the end states he can be happy--finally -- because of having murdered the man he has harbored a grudge against for a decade? He is now heading off to a new career and promising future as a college professor (which no doubt will provide health insurance for that joint replacement he needs). It seems to me the "villain" in the story was heading down his own path of self-destruction and really didn't need help.
All I can say is: sometimes life sucks. S#^t happens. I like authors who portray "good guys" as ones who make the best out of what life gives you and don't justify murder to settle a score. I wasn't sold.