TUESDAY: What’s for Dinner?


Copyright is held by the author.

SARAH’S COOL Nordic exterior concealed a feverish imagination, inherited from who knows where or which godforsaken member of her family. And that imagination was now clamouring to be released and enfleshed in her outer life.

She weighed her options, dredging her mind for useful snippets she’d heard about bizarre murder cases, unsolved, murderer still at large. Often, when she’d kissed Ned goodbye at the door of their apartment on the top floor of an old building in Paris, and listened to his measured tread descending the steps to the elevator one floor below, silently, with every fibre of her being, she would scream at the locked and heavily barred door, “Die, die, die. Fall down the stairs, break your neck.” Trembling, she would back away from the door, shaken at the intensity of her emotion, wondering if she was a closet murderer, an evil person, a killer at heart. Or was she just desperately unhappy?

Sarah couldn’t quite put her finger on the moment she started having a single thought, a nagging dagger in her mind that twisted and turned and gave her no respite, a thought as vile as it was unexpected, rising from a deep, unexplored place in her unconscious, the thought, the unlikely fantasy hammering her head incessantly like Chinese torture: how to kill her husband.

One time, she’d read of a gruesome murder where somebody had put ground glass in the victim’s food, and the victim had died from multiple internal wounds, bleeding to death almost imperceptibly. She didn’t know how she could put ground glass in her husband’s food without his feeling its grittiness between his teeth, and she thought it too risky. She had also considered putting a pillow over his face while he slept and holding it there until he expired. But that was a bit too “hands on” for her taste. She didn’t want to get caught. She wanted to live her life. She wanted her freedom from the shackles of a marriage she had known was a ghastly mistake right from the beginning. She looked back over their long marriage, and remembered that on two occasions her husband had nearly choked to death, turning purple, unable to breathe, and on both occasions she had performed the Heimlich maneuver, releasing the blockage so he could breathe again. Now she thought that was silly of her, a missed opportunity, that perhaps she should have turned a deaf ear to his gasping cry for assistance. Well, she supposed the desire to help was instinctive in most people, even in aspiring murderers, as she now considered herself to be.

Then one day she chanced upon the perfect way to kill him. Although she was shocked at herself, she knew she was witnessing her shadow self at work, possessing her completely. She gave full rein to her dark side, knowing it was safer to execute the crime in her head than to repress it, and let it take her over completely in her outer life. The perfect, undetectable crime, organic, safe, original, presented itself to her while she sipped her cappuccino one morning. She would start slipping feces into his food, just small amounts, so he’d never taste anything strange. She’d use more spices, more hot sauce, and besides, his taste buds were jaded anyway. He wouldn’t notice anything different. She savoured the thought of his slow decline, due to unknown causes, undetected by a mystified medical profession, and she would be his attentive, loving caregiver. To the end.

She floated, free at last, calm and happy, planning a splendid funeral.

The phone rang and broke her reverie. It was Ned, of course, calling about cancelled dinner plans that evening with visiting German businessmen.

“Well, in that case, would you like me to cook dinner for us tonight, honey?” she asked.

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  1. Susan,
    I liked your story, I particularly liked the narrator’s voice, I just wished you had taken it further.

  2. A picky technical point: the poo probably wouldn’t kill him.

  3. Dave:
    No problem – just add bacteria to the poo and hubby’s days are numbered?

  4. Well I did read about it as scientific fact, a long time ago, so can’t remember where, but it stuck in my mind, unsurprisingly. A gradual death, pretty well undetectable. Just perfect!

  5. Three questions: Why a cool Nordic exterior? Why Paris? Why German businessmen? None seems germane to the story, which I otherwise enjoyed. Who has not, at one time or another, plotted the death of an antagonist? How many of us have carried it out?

  6. Michael:
    Aren’t your questions just a wee nit-picky?
    And what’s wrong with being a cool chick living in Paris?

  7. Thank you Jan! Well for starters, the cool nordic exterior was the opposite of what was going on in Sarah’s fevered imagination. And the setting of the story? Well, I’m European, and I find Paris more interesting than Pittsburgh, and a German businessman more germane to the setting of this story than a businessman from Silicone Valley, for example. I write things set in Europe because I lived there for the first 50 years of my life! Thanks for leaving me a comment though!

  8. It made me feel sick. So, perfect!

  9. Susan,
    Thank you. Now I understand. And Jan, yes, I am totally OCD and a cursed perfectionist.

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