955. Laced vanilla custard


Eloise wasn’t stupid; in fact she was rather clever. She had a degree in Chemistry and had worked for a time at some industrial plant before getting married off and having three children. But now, for whatever reason, she wanted to step off the planet and be done with it all. But she desired to die a seemingly natural death. She didn’t want to foist the reputation of a graphic suicide upon her family.

Eloise would throw dinner parties and quite sophisticated ones too. For several years she practised with arsenic. Just a little arsenic could make it look like her guests had got food poisoning. Once she had perfected the technique she would make several of her guests ill from food poisoning, and administer the big dosage to herself. How tragic (but totally natural) would be her death.

The occasion came. The guests arrived.

There was Lord and Lady Milford. Lady Milford would get a mild bout of food poisoning from a trifling dose of arsenic in the Three Cheese Ravioli appetizer.

There was Hector Staffordshire and his partner Countess Ascrida Rognvaldsdatter. Hector would get a mild bout of food poisoning from a trifling dose of arsenic in the fresh homemade Caribbean Angel Hair Pasta in a rich creamy chardonnay sauce, topped with fresh calamari, shrimp, and capsicums.

The other dinner guests would get off scot free, apart from Eloise herself. She would get a terminal bout of food poisoning from the decadent slices of apple, caramelized with cinnamon and dark rum, served over arsenic-laced vanilla custard.

Everything almost went according to plan, although Lady Milford had a cheese allergy so Eloise served the arsenic to her husband. It didn’t matter who got food poisoning as long as it was someone.

Next the Countess Ascrida Rognvaldsdatter kept sharing little bits of poisoned calamari to Hector Staffordshire, as lovers do; giggling and shoving little titbits of this and that into each other’s mouth. It was most annoying, but both would pay for it in the end.

And then came the dessert-time. Eloise got muddled. She had dished up the dessert and couldn’t remember which one had her portion of arsenic-laced vanilla custard.

Lady Milford and the Countess swept into the kitchen to help, uplifted all the dessert plates at once and deposited a dish in front of each guest. One of them would die. But who? All began to eat.

And then Eloise remembered… Her three children were in the kitchen tucking into leftovers…

51 thoughts on “955. Laced vanilla custard

  1. Susanne

    Oh no! It’s Eloise who should have received the portion of just desserts. Dear oh dear. (By the way, you outdid yourself with the names in this one, especially Ascrid Rognvaldsdatter!)

      1. Susanne

        Yes, that explains everything. My youngest daughter decided this morning she would teach herself Korean and was showing me her work. I’m pretty sure there must have been cross-pollination between Korea and Scandinavia.

  2. Sapience

    That’s tragic!
    I really wish there’s another part of the story which continues to tell that something (please it be anything!) happened which saved the lives of everyone and everyone stays happy!
    Your writing style is amazing!

    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      Thank you for much. Your comment is an honour! Something similar happened in real life in New Zealand where a guest took home some of the dessert to give to her little boy – who subsequently died.

    1. thecontentedcrafter

      Indeed – we must plan our custard demises minus the dinner party Those interfering guests can put a real spanner in the works! Oddly, I found myself thinking of a dish of peaches and custard last evening with some longing ……. I must have been channeling our writer friend!

        1. Bruce Goodman Post author

          My naan used to make bread pudding too – but she died! Which reminds me – I am starting to make a list of words that we possibly presume have the same meaning from one country to another but don’t: supper being a case in point; and tea – and yams – and oca – and… this list will quite change the way we comprehend events in each others literature! I’m not ready for suggestions yet, as I’m a flea in a bottle at the moment…. but it’s a good idea, do you think?

    2. Bruce Goodman Post author

      What is the sauce of all this dis-custard stuff? I too shall take a lesson from this story as well – a fair warning not to muddle up my demise with any dinner party.

  3. umashankar

    As you get closer to the number 1000, you get deadlier and deadlier. One of these days I am going to step back and begin counting all those corpses.

    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      I shall watch it later this evening – Dennis Potter is one of my favourite writers, so I want to savour the moment. Loved the Mozart during the credits at the start!

    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      Thanks. All my names are taken out of the local newspaper’s daily obituaries. Although I do muddle up the first names with the surnames so that it’s not recognizable!

  4. Rustic Recluse

    I like how indiscriminate she is with who suffers the food poisoning. Now, what a timely piece of writing. I am suffering a mild case of food poisoning as I type. A result of something a family member made for lunch. Should I be concerned?

  5. colorpencil2014

    What a deliciously wicked story…and ending like that!!! Crumbs!! I read it three times but decided I could not bear the thought of the kids keeling over and decided the Nordic countess should get the the arsenic laces vanilla. her Viking blood will make her bare the suffering and probably survive and Louise will come to her senses…someone that can cook so heavenly should not think of suicide ;o) xo Johanna

  6. Pingback: The Barbecue | derrickjknight

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