Heart of a Killer


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                                                         By Kathy VanWey


            Murderous thoughts are racing through my mind. Oh, the deliciously, delectable plots and plans I had engineered over the years to get rid of my mother-in-law.

             “Ca-lank,” the ambulance door opens.  “It doesn’t look good,” the paramedic whispers to the orderly.

            Hey, Goofus! That’s why we called you!

            “I’m Doctor Roberts.  Is this your wife?

            Oh, great! He looks younger than Doogie Howser. 

            “Yes, it is,” my husband answers.

            “What happened?”      

            “We don’t know. I was outside when my mother yelled to me that Karen started gasping for air and passed out.  We immediately called the ambulance.”

            Honey! I swear the old bitty waited a half-hour before she told you.

            “All she had was a soda,” my mother-in-law says.

            Baby doc is shining a light into my eyes. “Your wife has had a stroke.” 

            Did not! I just can’t talk or breathe.

            “The damage is irreversible.”

            Hey Junior!  Can’t breathe here.  Can you say tracheotomy? 

            Do you want to notify family? Clergy?

            “Call Father Frank,” the old bag suggests.  “He can give her the last rites and absolve her sins.”

            Mother Mary Battleaxe has won. The forty year war is over.  I hope Father will forgive the unspoken sins. Naturally, I never confessed to homicidal fantasies.  I euphemistically called them “impure thoughts.” Really, I never would have done anything to hurt her.  But, the actual calculating and conniving has been exquisite mental health therapy for years.

            “Mom, better call him.”

            The plots I had come up with, like poisons for instance. I was strongly considering arsenic, when of all the blasted times, our church youth group staged a production of “Arsenic and Old Lace.” That ruined that.  I thought about something exotic, like the poison from a blowfish, but that was way too complicated. My favorite was a blowgun and poisoned dart. Years of smoking…well, you know.

            “Think I should call her sisters too?” Mommie Dearest offers.

            For a while, I considered hiring ‘professional’ help. But guess who’d have to do the clean-up? All that blood and body splatter, yuck! A hit-and-run sounded good, until I remembered our $500 deductible. I’ve envisioned her hanging from the ceiling. Too impractical. She outweighs me by fifty-sixty pounds.

            “The sooner the better,” he responds.

            For decades I ponder ways of making it look like a suicide. But, anyone who’s met the old hag knows she’s just too mean and spiteful to knock herself off. You’d think after the countless Matlocks, Jessicas, Columbos, and Law and Orders I’ve watched, that I could come up with something creative.  All those juicy tidbits I’ve learned from CSI and Forensic Detectives.  I have to admit it. I just don’t have the heart of a killer.

            A nurse is checking my vitals, “Doctor, the patient is blinking her eyes at me.”

            “Reflex,” he assures everyone.

            Hey Bozo!  Trying to get your attention here. Just because I can’t talk doesn’t mean I can’t hear.

            “Does anyone smell a funny odor?” the nurse asks. “Like a sick combination of almonds and stinky sweat socks?”

            “My nose is stuffed up,” Doogie replies, “I can’t smell a thing.” 

            “It’s probably me,” my husband says. “I was doing yard work.”

            Honey!  It’s a different type of sweaty smell.  More putrid.  Even I can tell that.     

            “I made Chicken Almandine, a new recipe,” his mom pipes up.

            First time in twenty years she’s invited us for a home-cooked meal.  Does that seem suspicious to anyone besides me?

            “It made the whole house stink.”

            Your house always stinks.

            “I bet the smell is on my clothes.”

            It would go away if you ever showered and did your laundry!

            “Father Frank!  Thank God!” my husband says. “You got here in the nick of time.”

            “…dear Lord, we commend this soul to you, to live with you in eternal paradise.  And we ask you to forgive her trespasses as she trespassed against others . . .”

            Father’s voice is fading fast. Wait a minute!  Almonds?   Smelly socks?  Damn! Cyanide! The bitch spiked my drink with cyanide!

            Why didn’t I think of that?