A Free Short Story: The Fool's Mushroom: Part Three
The Fool's Mushroom: Part Three
''For heaven sake, this isn't a woodland it's a bloody rainforest.'' Melanie moaned trudging through the undergrowth. ''Jeez, I'll have a heart attack looking for these blasted mushrooms.'' Melanie decided to stop for a minute and catch her breath. Wiping a damp hair from her forehead, she gazed about her. A sea of bluebells carpeted the forest floor. A leafy canopy shaded her from the summer sun. And then Melanie spied the most wonderful thing. Peeking out from the roots of a giant oak tree: were hundreds of little white caps.
A great big smile spread across Melanie's chubby face. ''The Fool's Mushroom.'' Melanie giggled. ''How wonderful to meet you.'' She greeted. Kneeling down, Melanie inspected the mushrooms. Taking the picture from her pocket she did a thorough examination. ''We don't want to bring home field mushrooms do we? No! we want the poisonous ones for sure. Specially for my cheating little shit of a husband.'' Melanie picked the mushrooms putting them in a small plastic bag. ''Ok I reckon that's a good few ounces. I better leave some incase I need to kill anyone else anytime soon.'' Melanie brushed the dirt form her tubby knees and headed back to her car.
Later that evening Melanie was busy in the kitchen preparing dinner for Clifford. Music played in the back ground. Melanie was singing along. All was right with the world. At 5.30 pm right on time Clifford came through the door. ''Hello. You seem in a good mood.'' Clifford said pecking Melanie on the cheek. ''What's that song? It sounds familiar,'' he added.
''Licence to kill. From the Bond movie.'' Melanie responded twirling the knife in her hand; the thought of a spatchcocked Clifford coming to mind. ''Dinner won't be long. It's your favorite, mushroom stroganoff.''
''But Melanie you know I play snooker with the boys on Wednesdays.'' Clifford said peeping around the door. Off course Melanie knew he played snooker on Wednesdays, although these days he probably wasn't playing balls with the boys. That was the whole idea. She wasn't planning on eating the poisonous stroganoff, but Clifford didn't need to know that. Melanie smiled to herself. God she was good at this. She was beginning to wonder why she hadn't killed the creep years ago.
''Oh! what a shame. It must have slipped my mind. I was so looking forward to a cosy dinner together. I even bought a nice bottle of Chardonnay.'' Melanie smiled sweetly at Clifford.
''Well! I guess I could cancel.'' Clifford smiled back.
Melanie's smile almost slid of her face. ''No! darling that's alright. You go ahead. I'll have mine and you can have yours later. Now go on, before I change my mind.'' Melanie waved her hand at Clifford. He smiled and left the kitchen. Melanie turned back to the pan of frying mushrooms. Grabbing the last of the mushrooms she threw them into the pan. ''Let's go for a world record. See if you don't croak in less than 24 hours.'' Melanie swirled in some cream and started to hum.
The next morning Melanie got up and went into the kitchen to get a drink of juice. Clifford had already left for work. She wondered if any symptoms had started yet. Maybe she'd call him in a bit. Opening the fridge door Melanie stared in horror. The plate of stroganoff sat on the middle shelf. ''What the hell?'' Melanie seethed, ''That idiot. I'll... I'll kill the bastard.'' Melanie slammed the fridge door and stormed into the living room. Picking up the phone she punched in Clifford's mobile number.
''Hello.'' Clifford answered.
''Hi darling. It's only me.'' Melanie said, at the same time thinking; not your tarty little girlfriend. ''I went to bed early last night, I was tired. So, I was just ringing to say hi. I... I noticed you didn't eat your dinner.''
''I was a bit late. And anyway the pub landlady made a plate of sandwiches for us, so I wasn't really hungry. Don't worry honey your efforts won't go to waste. I'll eat it tonight.''
''Ok darling. You'll have to make more rice though. The rice from last night won't be nice. I'm going into work early tonight, one of the girls asked me to cover for her. She's going to some dinner party. I'll see you in the morning.''
''Alright honey, Bye.''
Melanie put the phone down. Everything was going to be fine. It was even better than fine. With any luck by the time she got home in the morning Clifford would already be half way to hell. That's where cheating husbands went to; hell. A thought suddenly occurred to Melanie. A very clever thought. Melanie grinned like a cheshire cat and trotted down the hallway to get dressed.
''I want one for beginners. He's only just started to take an interest.'' Melanie said to the bookstore assistant. The young girl handed Melanie a book. A big mushroom adorned the cover and the words 'For The Hunter Gatherer in You' stood out in bold print. ''Perfect. I'll take it,'' she grinned.
That afternoon Melanie got ready for work. She had put the book on gathering mushrooms among Clifford's other books on the shelf in the living room. She would say that Clifford had picked the mushrooms himself; a new hobby of sorts. Melanie took one last look at the stroganoff in the fridge. Rubbing her hands, she said to herself, ''I love it when a plan comes together.'' Grabbing her coat and bag, she left for work.
The next morning on returning home the first thing Melanie did was check the fridge. The stroganoff was gone. ''Yippee.'' Melanie danced around the kitchen. ''Clifford's gona get it... Clifford's gona get it.'' Melanie laughed. ''Gosh all this excitement has made me famished. Melanie noticed a pot on the hob. Taking the lid of she peered inside. ''Aw... Clifford. How nice, you made one of your soups for me.'' Melanie smiled. Switching on the hob she went to change.
Melanie sat down to the table with the steaming bowl of soup. ''Hmm tastes pretty good.''
She was half way through her soup when she heard the front door open. Clifford stepped into the kitchen. ''I have someone I want you to meet.'' Clifford said. His face was pale and he looked a little strange.
''Why aren't you in work?'' Melanie asked. Thinking he should look sicker than he did.
''I took the day off. I have something important to tell you.'' Clifford gestured with his hand to someone standing behind the door.
The chocolate haired woman stepped into the kitchen. Melanie dropped her soup spoon. ''What the hell... '' she stammered.
''This is Marie. She's my half sister. I didn't even know I had a sister. She tracked me down a few weeks ago. We've been spending a little time together. We wanted to know each other a little before we introduced each other to our families. You know... to make sure it was the right thing to do."
Melanie's face went white. ''I... I...'' She looked at the two of them.
''I know this is a shock. I realize this is going to be difficult... but...'' Clifford raised his hands to his face. They were shaking.
''The... the stroganoff.'' Melanie said.
''What?'' Clifford looked blankly at Melanie.
''The stroganoff.'' Melanie repeated.
''For heaven sake Melanie. Who cares about the stroganoff.'' Clifford cried in exasperation. Marie clasped her hands and looked desperately at Clifford.
''It wasn't... it wasn't good. It was... '' Melanie was beginning to feel a little uneasy. Her stomach felt sick.
''Melanie. I didn't eat the damn stroganoff; so I don't know if it was good or not. Please, it doesn't matter.''
Melanie looked up at Clifford. Realization dawned. Everything was going to be alright. He hadn't eaten the mushrooms. Thank sweet God... he hadn't eaten the mushrooms.
''Darling. You're right. I apologize. Marie, I am delighted to meet you.'' Melanie stood from the table and held out her hand.
Marie smiled. ''I've heard so much about you. I am so happy to finally meet you.
Clifford watched the two women. His anguish began to fade. ''Sit down and finish your soup. I'll make us some tea.'' Clifford said.
Melanie sat back down to finish her soup. Her thoughts were a mad jumble in her head. ''It's very good soup Clifford. I couldn't quite put my finger on the flavor.'' Melanie swallowed a spoonful. Her stomach was in a knot.
Clifford smiled and said. ''Oh! It's your favorite, honey. It's mushroom, mushroom soup.''
Dropping her soup spoon, Melanie began to choke...
© 2011 Gabriel Wilson