(5 minute read)
by Anne Lowe
Shifty is the word that suddenly sprang to mind. Shifty would certainly describe his behaviour, giving Bernice her first clue to Arthur’s infidelity. She lovingly stroked the giant marrow resting on the kitchen table and mused to herself how her suspicions first began. That particular morning had started pleasantly enough. They had sat in the conservatory having their toast and coffee, with the sunlight straggling the roof and the blackbird singing his first song.
“What are you doing today dear?” Bernice had asked, hoping he would suggest a trip into town to buy a new television. Arthur didn’t like spending money but their set was twenty years old, even if Arthur had insisted there was nothing wrong with it.
“I thought I might go to the allotment. It looks like being a nice day and I want to get those shallots in.” She’d noticed the flush appear on his cheeks, a sure sign that he was lying.
“You seem to be spending an awful lot of time at that allotment with nothing much to show for it. Those turnips you entered last month didn’t even make third prize and there were only three entries.”
“Well, it’s all this bad weather we’ve been having that’s putting them off.” Arthur had then risen from the table, a sign that the conversation was over.
The second clue was Arthur’s preening. He was constantly looking in the mirror whilst trying to hold his stomach in. Come to think of it, she was sure what was left of his hair hadn’t seen his usual barber, as it seemed to have developed a bit of a quiff at the front, with a hint of tinted hair gel at the back and sides. After that Bernice made a point of checking Arthur’s phone, credit card statements and the linings of his pockets. This was guaranteed to throw up a host of worse-case scenarios, such as the receipt from Dearings, the jewellers. It amazed her that someone as mean as Arthur could suddenly think money was no object. She had been lucky to get an out-of date box of chocolates, but now it was bracelets and diamond rings that weren’t sparkling in her direction.
The third clue was his membership to the gym, something he once would have scoffed at. You would think all the extra exercise he was getting down the allotment would be enough, but no, three times a week he would parade in his new tracksuit and trainers in the vain attempt to develop an elusive six-pack.
Her best friend Marjorie insisted it was just a mid-life crisis and the rest was all down to Bernices’s imagination. Little did she know then that it was Marjorie who was the cause of this crisis. Arthur had had a soft spot for her ever since she’d complimented him on the size of his cucumber.
The fourth clue was the wedding ring. Off and on it went like a magician’s disappearing act. This made Bernice realise that it wasn’t just Marjorie who was leading him astray. She wondered if Marjorie knew she was being two-timed! His litany of excuses were sometimes very believable and Bernice had to admire his energy and resourcefulness. However, his cheeks got redder and redder and then he’d also developed a nervous twitch.
There was only one option and that was to make sure he never did it again and what better way than to put rat poison in his Trim ‘n Slim Ready Meals. Marjorie wasn’t a problem as once Bernice told her about his affair with a much younger woman, she knew she wouldn’t be too concerned when Bernice threw him out. In fact, she was very sympathetic. She would deal with Marjorie later!
He’s now resting peacefully under the far side of the allotment. Everything she planted there seems to flourish. Smiling, Bernice gave the marrow one final pat before sticking on it’s label.
Arthur is certainly winning prizes now!
Copyright © 2021 – Anne Lowe. All rights reserved.
About the Author
I spend my spare time planning my next murder, the plotting, the place, my next victim. Will it be a neighbour, a so-called friend, a lover who betrayed me? I’m hoping it won’t be long before you find out. Just to reassure you, I’m really a nice person! Love, Anne.
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