Monday, 15 August 2016

Baby Writing Challenge SUPER//OVERTIME//MODE Story Twelve: "A Nice Cup of Tea"

Okay, so the baby's been born now (details to follow!), so strictly speaking - according to the rules of my little challenge that I set myself - I should stop now. However, not only do I have words still outstanding but I'm also still having a lot of fun. I think I'll finish off the words I've still go at my own pace and see where I stand.


Here's the next story in the sequence. The word "consequence" was obliquely suggested to me by my aunt who joked that I was using my writing challenge to avoid thinking about the future. The future has now arrived in all of its delicate, beautiful, poo-dispensing glory.

The random genre picker gave me 'black comedy' which is a lovely fit with the word.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you - 'A Nice Cup of Tea'.

A Nice Cup of Tea

I didn't know how to dispose of a dead body, but it was too late to start worrying about that, given what was on the kitchen floor. I'd googled “how to dispose of a dead body” on my phone but halfway through the first article I realised what the police would make of my search history.

My next search was “how to hide internet searches from the police”.

It wasn't supposed to have happened like this. My plan had been to make Kara sick slowly, not drop her stone dead on the test run. It was supposed to give me ample opportunity to mull over the consequences of killing my flatmate and stop if it didn't seem like a good idea. It wasn't supposed to end with a dead body and no plan.

Considering my current difficulties, the cyanide salts were surprisingly straightforward to get: the internet is wonderful for all sorts of things. It'd gotten complicated when I had to get the package back from the Post Office. First, I'd lost the little card they'd put through the door when I'd been out and then I couldn't find any ID: Kara had thrown a magazine – 36 pages, 2 staples - over the top of both once she was done reading it. Then the car wouldn't start.

Absolute nightmare.

I mean, you'd think that in this day and age you could collect parcels with a thumbprint or a retina scan, but no. They wanted a driver's licence. They wanted a passport. Without them, the fat man behind the counter will argue until you want to murder him.

But no: one murder is quite enough.

When Kara borrowed my “BEST ESTATE AGENT IN THE WORLD” mug without asking, I realised that she needed to die. It was made just for me, for my birthday: sea green with white text and a happy cartoon house. It had three chips in the upper rim and a small crack where the descending curve of the handle met the body of the mug. One day, it would need to be fixed with an application of superglue. She didn't realise that the mug was as fragile as a butterfly and it was really her unthinking barbarism that lead me to my fateful, fatal decision.

It seems drastic, but she wouldn't take a hint! Along with the mug, she kept leaving her dirty dishes stacked up like it was my job to wash them! What else was I supposed to do? I'd asked several times and left a very polite note. I'd exhausted all the options left to a civilised human being! The mug was really the last straw; killing Kara was practically self-defence.

I poisoned the water filter on the big American-style fridge she'd bought; she was at it like a hummingbird to a feeder so she could get her '8 glasses a day'. It didn't take long to slit the white plastic and spoon in some crystals. They'd dissolve whenever she filtered new water and hey presto! Gradual cyanide poisoning.

It had been very hot today.

She'd drunk surprisingly often, given her size and build.

It's also possible that I might've overdone the dosage quite a lot. Maths isn't a strength of mine.

She did fall down dead almost immediately, which suggests a calculation error.

First thing's first. I stuffed Kara's body into the pantry cupboard and shut the door with a pleasing click. It'd restrict my access to soup, but I needed to consider my next steps without distraction. Just because Kara didn't think through the consequences of her actions didn't mean that I had to fall into the same trap.

The washing-up gloves went on with a pleasing smack of retracting rubber but the green liquid detergent bottle only wheezed asthmatically. How like Kara not to tell me that the washing-up liquid had run out!

I finished her dishes as well as I could: two highball glasses - frosted around the bottom third, two plates – salmon pink with a faded corn sheaf motif and two breakfast bowls with glutinous cereal stubbornly stuck at the bottom. When they were all neatly stacked, I could breathe again.

There was a slump and a thump from the pantry as the body slid into a new position.

That was annoying.

Everything went quiet again; finally, I could focus.

I made myself a mug of green tea: water just cooler than boiling, 3 minutes, no stirring and absolutely no use of the cyanide-laced water from the fridge filter. I had to use tap water instead, which has an unpleasant metallic taste, but it was a necessary sacrifice.

The tea was acceptable and I served it in my personal mug, which was clean and without blemish or stain. did they dispose of dead bodies in films?

There was a knock at the door and I sighed. There was never enough time to do things properly.

When I opened it , I saw what's-his-face. Kara's boyfriend. Dark maroon jacket with a silver zip, threads hanging from the wear on the right cuff where he leans on it: I'd know him anywhere.

She's not here...uh...” I started, but trailing into awkward silence.

Mark,” he says.

Yeah...Mark. She's not here. Goodbye,” I said, but he stuck his size 10 black leather shoe into the closing door. I've had trouble with him before: he lacks manners.

She said she was home,” he replied, tapping the silver ring on his right hand with his right thumb three times.

No,” I reply politely. “Go away.”

He pushes past me into the house. Rude. People like that always get their comeuppance.

Kara?” he called. “Shana is being weird again. Come on! The film starts in half an hour.”

The house was silent and still. Lovely.

Not here Mark. Go away,” I repeat. A sudden germ of anxiety has begun growing in my gut. If Kara's body shifts again, this will all get very disorganised.

Kara texted me at the police station and told me to meet her here straight after my shift,” he insisted. Those dangling threads at his cuff swayed against his hip. I itched to cut them short.

There didn't seem to be any way for a polite person to deal with a situation like this. After all, I had asked him to leave several times and he hadn't. Wasn't that a crime of some kind? As a police officer, shouldn't he know better? I couldn't call the police, though - not with a dead body in the pantry. How could I resolve this situation? Ah.

Of course!” I said reassuringly. “She's just gone to the shops. Why don't you have a cup of orange squash while you wait? There's freshly filtered water in the fridge.”

His eyes narrowed, but I retreated to the toilet to avoid any other questions. I stayed there, counting slowly and evenly, until I heard a loud thump on the floor of the kitchen. Quiet again.

Of course, he'd spilled his orange squash all over the kitchen floor when he fell. Typical. I couldn't even start mopping until I'd stuffed his body into the pantry with Kara's. There was absolutely no access to soup now, so clearly that couldn't be a permanent arrangement.

If he'd still been alive, I could've told him about the consequences of rudeness. His loss, really.

Eventually, I managed to mop the floor clean again, wondering all the while how it was possible for dead people to be so disorganised and messy.

The house was quiet and still and clean once again. Time to finish my green tea and really give this corpse problem some thought.

There was a knock at the door.

Kara? Mark? We're still waiting outside for you. If we don't go now, there'll be no room left at the car park,” a familiar voice called through.

It's Chas or Davie or something but when I opened the door, he had another friend with him: a lady who wears three silver rings on her left hand, one inlaid with copper. They're both police officers as well: both have seemed polite enough when I've seen them with Mark.

I was starting to think that maybe killing Kara for using my mug might have it's own consequences. Action, reaction: that kind of thing.

The only solution here was to sit down once it was calm and think everything through quietly, anticipate all the consequences and plan properly. That meant getting rid of these two.

They've just gone to the shops,” I said brightly. “Please...have some tea while you wait. The tea bags are in the left cupboard and there's filtered water in the fridge.”

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