- Jordan Wood
Tea For Two: A Cozy Mystery Short Story, Is Now Available for Sale! Read a sample below.
I never wanted to solve a murder. Not like those people with a burning desire to crack that unsolvable case. It’s never been on my bucket list, that’s for sure. Yet here I am, staring murder in the face. Literally. Mabel’s vacant eyes are peeking up at me over her half-empty tea cup.
I turn her face away, in an attempt to avoid being reminded of my possible impending death. It doesn’t make sense, who would want to kill Mabel and me? To be fair, I’m not completely sure that my death is impending but it appears that the tea has been poisoned. The murderer had to have known that both of us would drink the tea so, it’s only reasonable that the murderer wants the both of us dead.
Mabel had two cups of tea, I’ve drunk one and a half cups. Maybe there’s still time for me. She did gulp her first cup of tea down before I had even finished half of mine. I’ve already called the ambulance so now all there is to do is wait and hope that they get here soon. I’ve even made a point to sit back down at the table, the scene of the crime if you will, so that if they are too late, they can surmise that it was most likely the tea that did us in.
Bloody tea. All those years that I avoided alcohol like the plague only to be killed by tea.
Who would kill us, I wonder again. Granted, we might have made a few enemies over the years. Like the Turner sisters or Jacob or pretty much everyone in town, now that I think of it. Still, who could possibly dislike us that much to poison our tea?
It was no secret that Mabel and I enjoyed our afternoon tea, so it made for an easy murder vehicle. Afternoon tea was our time to share the latest scandals, trading secrets like commodities. We even periodically invited a few, unsuspecting people to our teas, usually to enlighten them that we were aware of all of their deepest, darkest shames. Like Grand Master Chess Players, we moved our pawns according to our whims, deciding who profited and who was destroyed.
It’s been like that since Mabel and I met in school. Our little, one room schoolhouse was our first foray into manipulation. Tommy Pritchard, Mabel’s first crush, was the person that we cut our teeth on. All he had to do was proclaim his love for Mabel. He chose Hannah instead. Well, neither of them could be allowed to carry on. Not with Mabel’s heart in ruins.
Soon the whole town knew that Tommy had gotten Hannah pregnant. It was also “convenient” that she lost the baby before she could show. It’s amazing how quickly people believe the worst in someone, regardless of whether the rumour is true or not. The darker the secret, the better. That way, people can sit and judge, all while silently thanking their lucky stars that it wasn’t them that fell from grace. So, in essence, we were doing the town a favour. Creating some drama in an otherwise humdrum town.
Of course, Mr. and Mrs. Clarke couldn’t show their face in town ever again, no matter how much Hannah swore up and down that the story wasn’t true. According to her, Tommy hadn’t even kissed her. Who would believe that nonsense, though? Two teenagers, up to no good; now that was more believable. Hannah knew that it was us that started the rumour, but nobody believed her. We were just two good girls, volunteering for every cause in town and earning good grades. Hannah told us that she’d get her revenge one day. Maybe this was it.
The Clarkes quickly relocated and every town member with a teenage daughter refused to let their daughters near Tommy Pritchard. An unforeseen complication to our plan, as that meant that Mabel wasn’t allowed near him either. However, as Mabel said, if she couldn’t have him, then nobody was going to have him. She definitely accomplished that.
When we graduated, Tommy skedaddled out of town as fast as he could. He joined the army and, last I heard, he died four weeks later during an exercise gone wrong. Such a shame.
It didn’t matter to Mabel, though, because she had a new beau as soon as we graduated. Earl Lancaster, from the prominent Lancaster family. Two months after meeting, they got married. Ironically, it was a shotgun wedding because Mabel found herself in the family way. Unlike Hannah, though, this rumour was hushed up and nobody dared to speculate about the baby that arrived “early”.
Since the Lancaster family is a big deal in town, when Mabel married Earl, her future was secured. She was now untouchable. Invitations to all the best parties and the finest establishments poured in. Her star was set.
Was I jealous? You bet. My love life wasn’t going as well. The only man interested in me was Bill Falcon, who worked at the local garage. How did Mabel manage to bag a man like Earl and I had to settle for meek, little Bill? Granted, Bill was kind but he certainly didn’t make the money that Earl raked in.
Every time Mabel told me about the last party she attended or the beautiful dress that she recently bought, I seethed inside. She knew that and she loved it. Her favourite thing was to have more and be more than others and, being the better one of the two of us, was the best thing of all.
When she married Earl, I didn’t have any other choice but to marry Bill. There was no way I was going to be left behind in the marriage department too.
Then, something interesting happened...
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