(Today’s opening sentence has been contributed by Maddie, for which I am grateful).
The problem was Gertrude didn’t know which glass contained the arsenic. She had filled each glass with Coca-Cola (because it contained less added sugar than most natural fruit drinks on sale) but had carelessly not noted which was the one with the poison. In fact, she had noted which glass contained the arsenic, but while pouring the Coca-Cola she had moved each glass to be closer and more convenient while pouring from the large plastic bottle.
To be honest, Gertrude was more than a little odd; some might describe her as a few nuts short of a fruit cake. She had thirteen cats, six foster children, no husband (not ever), and a goldfish. In fact, Gertrude used to have seven foster children, but one of them had died – of arsenic poisoning exactly twelve months ago.
And yes! Today was Gertrude’s birthday, and she liked to celebrate it in a specific way. She would fill glasses with Coca-Cola, one containing arsenic, and give one to each child. She would muddle up the glasses while pouring. That way, the child poisoned would come as a surprise. A birthday surprise! Last year it was Ferdinand. This year it could be… oh! How exciting!
“Children!” called Gertrude kindly, “come and get your refreshing drink of Coca-Cola!” The six children swarmed into the room. She had made little pastry nibbles filled with cream to go with the celebration drinks. Gertrude took one of the little pastries and nibbled on it. It was after all HER birthday.
Suddenly, a piece of pastry stuck in Gertrude’s throat. She had trouble breathing. “Water! Water!” she gasped. Bruno offered his glass for her to knock back.