A Free Short Story: The Fool's Mushroom: Part Two
The Fool's Mushroom: Part Two
Later that evening Melanie left for her night shift as usual at the local nursing home; leaving a modest dinner of frozen lasagna for Clifford to microwave when he got in from work or from wherever else he might have been. Melanie didn't want to cause suspicion. Melanie realized that killing her husband successfully required a little patience and a lot of planning. Most importantly the routine must not change. Melanie was an avid fan of 'Agatha Christie's Poirot' and the popular 'Inspector Columbus' was a favorite. Sunday evenings were dedicated to 'Murder She Wrote'. Melanie knew attention to detail was vital. Remaining calm was imperative and an alibi: an alibi was essential.
The only problem facing Melanie was how? How was she going to kill Clifford? Guns just weren't her thing. Even if she joined a shooting club it would take too long to learn how to shoot; not to mention the fact that a great big hole in Clifford's little pigeon chest would surely cause attention. Obviously he'd be dead of shock before the bullet even hit him, but that wouldn't take away from the fact that he'd been shot. No! shooting Clifford was out of the question and anyway, Melanie was pretty sure the police could tell if you'd fired a gun. Foreign Science or something like that. Yeah! Melanie was a keen CSI fan too, she wasn't stupid.
Melanie's thoughts were consumed by Clifford as she did her nightly round checking on the old folks. The air as usual was tainted with the smell of baby food and medicine. As she walked between the beds on the ward checking monitors, smoothing bed sheets and more than occasionally checking for the sign of life; Melanie thought back to earlier in the day. Seeing Clifford like that, spruced up for that woman. God it hurt. But, as Melanie's mother used to say: every cloud has a silver lining and lets face it; Clifford's life insurance was definitely a silver lining. Heck! it was a gold lining.
Ideas flooded Melanie's brain: how to kill Clifford without getting caught? It was a natural assumption that she would be investigated as the possible killer. Knives were out. Melanie couldn't stand the idea of spatchcocking a chicken, let alone stabbing someone, even if it was her cheating shit of a husband. No! Melanie was no good with knives. One of the reasons she didn't cook much was everyone's dislike of finding plasters in their food.
Hiring a killer was a possibility. The doormen at Ziggy's looked like they could do with a little extra cash. Their suits always looked a little rumbled and outdated. They were pretty good at handling themselves too. Fair enough Saturday night bingo didn't generally cause a ruckus; unless more than one person got a full house. Then, it was a whole other ball game; literally. On second thoughts perhaps the guys were a little too complacencent. After all, once you get past sixty, murder probably isin't your thing.
No guns: no knives: no hired killers. This was beginning to get complicated.
Melanie arrived at old Joe's bed, finding it empty; she checked the chart. Nope he was still alive, he'd been moved to the main hospital suffering with Mycetism, whatever the hell that was. Melanie made a metal note to ask the Matron what Mycetism was before she left in the morning. Previous experience had thought Melanie it was necessary to know everything about everyone; just in case.
''Everything go alright last night Melanie?'' Matron asked surveying the ward charts.
''Yes Matron. Everyone slept well. No disturbances what so ever.'' Melanie answered. If you don't count the continuous wheezing, coughing, snoring and farting, she thought to herself.
''Excellent. You're off tomorrow so I'll see you Thursday night.''
''Yes! great. I'll be off then.'' Melanie was just about to leave the nurses station when she spotted old Joe's empty bed through the glass. ''Matron. Just one thing. What is Mycetism?'' Melanie asked.
''Mycetism? It's mushroom poisoning. That's what happened to poor old Joe. He spent the day with his family on Sunday. They went for a picnic in some woodlands near their home. It seems poor old Joe must have picked some poisonous mushrooms and ate them. Lucky for old Joe, Julie the other night shift carer is an avid mushroom picker and new the Bluebell Woodlands well. As soon as the family said they'd been there: Julie put two and two together and realized Joe's symptoms may have been from mushroom poisoning. As it happens she was right.'' Matron mused.
''Jesus poor Joe. Will he be O.K.'' Melanie asked a little too eagerly. A thought of pure delight blossomed in her head.
''He was diagnosed pretty quickly. And it's not one of the most deadly poisonous mushrooms. So he should be alright.''
''Well! that's good to hear. See you Thursday.'' Melanie almost skipped down the hallway. Bursting through the doors she swallowed the urge to throw caution to the wind and joyously sing 'The hills are alive with the sound of music'. Instead she ran toward her car and headed to the local internet cafe.
''There you go. Your up and running.'' The young male assistant tapped the keyboard. ''Coffee?'' He asked.
''No thank you. I won't be long. I'm just looking for a cheap weekend break to surprise my husband.'' Melanie smiled sweetly at the rather geeky looking guy. His unruly hair and dark rimmed spectacles remained her of Harry Potter.
Melanie googled poisonous mushrooms. Numerous names glared back at her. Melanie needed to narrow her search. She typed in Summer. Europe. Deadly. A big grin spread across Melanie's chubby cheeks.
The mushroom she was looking for stared back at her. ''Perfect,'' she squealed.
''Find your surprise for your hubby?'' questioned the Harry Potter look alike peering over the counter.
''Oh yes! I sure have. A really big surprise.''
Melanie read the first paragraph.
Amanita Verna was a deadly mushroom that caused liver failure in less than twenty four hours of consumption. The first symptoms began about six hours after eating. Beginning with unease; cramps; diarrhoea and vomiting. Found in woodlands and harvested in the summer and autumn months. A deadly dosage of one once of Amanita Verna was all that was needed to ensure certain death within twenty four hours.
Melanie continued to read about her new deadly friend. As she neared the end of the article she started to laugh. Bold letters stared out at her from the screen...
Due to the numerous deaths caused by eating the deadly Amanita Verna confusing it with the harmless field mushroom, this deadly fungus is also known as 'The Fool's Mushroom'.
Melanie giggled like a school girl. With Clifford's irritable bowl he'll just think he's having a bad day. He'll never suspect a thing.
''Finished already.'' Chirped the assistant.
''Yes dear. I'm off to get some fresh Mushrooms. My husband loves them. I'm planning to give him a real treat tonight.'' Melanie waved and headed out the door. She knew exactly where to find the perfect mushrooms.
She tucked the printed picture of 'The Fool's Mushroom' in her bag. There was no way Melanie was going to make any mistakes...
''Bluebell Woodlands here I come.''
I bought this book to research mushrooms and it was actually a great little book for a forager to enjoy
Don't be Fooled: Know Your Mushrooms
© 2011 Gabriel Wilson