Tag Archives: arsenic

1540: Things go better with Coke

(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.

1421. Memorable and happy day

Trudi had made an extensive grocery list. She was going to make sure that today would be both memorable and happy. She was going to prepare a special meal. Her husband of eleven years had suggested it. Just the two of them. There were no children. Trudi had hoped for a family but Archie had said no.

Anyway, this was to be a celebration for no reason. It’s good, said Archie, to do that now and again. It was easy to say, thought Trudi, but she was the one who had to do all the work; all the cooking. Hence the long shopping list.

When she got home from the shops she had to make several trips from the car to the kitchen to carry all the food. Archie was watching the sports on tele. Trudi began to put things away in the cupboards before beginning her baking. Then she remembered. How could have she forgotten? But forget she had.

She had forgotten to get the arsenic for the pie. That was the one thing that was going to make her day both memorable and happy.

955. Laced vanilla custard

955custard

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…