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Who Can You Trust?
Jerry’s mother-in-law didn’t really like him to begin with. Maybe it was his past, maybe it was his job, or even the way he cut his hair, he didn’t know, he just knew she didn’t like him.
Jerry’s wife, Anne, broke the news to him at breakfast, on a clear April morning, “Jerry, honey, my mother is coming over for the week.”
All Jerry could do was give a small ugh and roll his eyes. “I know you two don’t get along,” She begged, “but she wants to visit.”
“And you didn’t ask me?”
“It’s my mother! I can’t tell her ‘No, get lost!’”
He let out a grunt and decided to take his coffee and newspaper to the living room, until he heard the doorbell. He turned around and high-tailed it up the stairs. Big Bertha, the big, bad mother-in-law was home.
“Jerry! Get down here, Mother made you apple pie!” Anne hollered. Jerry slumped down the stairs. When he got to the bottom, he put on his ‘mess with me, and this will be a long week’ face.
“Thanks Bertha! You’re so kind!” he vocalized sarcastically.
“No problem, honey child!” she said in her warm, sunny, southern accent. They gathered for a family dinner that night. When Jerry asked if anyone wanted some pie, Bertha yelped, “No! No!” Realizing she was yelling, she soothed her tone back to the sunny accent, “No, honey child, I made that pie just for you!”
Jerry, with a suspicious feeling in his gut, managed to let out, “Thank you?”
At about midnight, Jerry got a craving for some pie. He went downstairs and into the kitchen. He read the note tied to the pie tin ‘made with love and country sunshine’. Jerry thought to himself, ‘This visit is getting more and more suspicious.’ But pie is pie. Jerry took a piece and gobbled it down in no time. He thought it was delicious; he had never had pie this good. He was half way through a second piece of pie when he started to feel queasy. The pie was coming up and it wasn’t going to stay down.
After he threw it up, he found this quite curious because he’s never thrown up apple pie before, and he’s not allergic to anything. He smelt the pie. Something wasn’t right to him, but he decided to care in the morning.
In the morning, Bertha came upstairs, walked into Jerry and Anne’s room, and gave them two hot cups of hot tea. “Thanks Mother.” Anne mustered out of her morning slumber. With a suspicious, curious look, Jerry accepted, “Thank you Ma’am.”
“Not a problem honey child.” She said as she left the room. Jerry looked at his wife, who was enjoying her tea. He looked down in his cup. It looked okay. He gave the tea a strong whiff. Something didn’t smell right, but he couldn’t put his finger on it. He took a sip and looked at the cup questionably. He took another sip and tasted it observantly. He realized something was obviously wrong. He sprayed the tea that was in his mouth into the air. Anne turned to him with a puzzled look, “What?”
“I think your mother,” he paused and looked at his wife with a serious face, “is attempting to kill me.”
She giggled and asked with a chuckle in her voice, “What?”
“Your mom is trying to poison me!”
“You’re kidding right?” Anne laughed. Jerry looked at her with his ‘does this look like I’m kidding” face. “Why do you think that?”
“Taste your tea.” She took a warm sip, “Now taste mine.” The moment that tea hit her lips, she spit it all over the place
“What is that?!” She exclaimed.
“She poisoned it! I swear! And have you noticed she is calling me ‘honey child’? She’s never called me that! And I had a piece and a half of the pie; I threw it all up like I was allergic to it. I’m not allergic to anything. Remember dinner last night? She yelled ‘No, only I could have the pie’? She wanted me to have it because it’s poisoned.”
“Oh my God, Jerry! You overreact!” Anne said with a huge fit of doubt in her voice. Jerry looked at her like he couldn’t believe she doesn’t see what’s going on. Upset, Jerry got up and got dressed. When he left the room, Bertha came by and accidentally, or what looked accidentally, bumped him, “Sorry honey child. I’m going out to meet some of my friends out to lunch, I’ll be back b`y 3:30.”
“Sounds good!” He said with his cheerful ‘Thank you God! Time to snoop and prove I’m right’ face.
Jerry turned around to see if Anne had gone to the shower. When he was sure she was gone, he went into Bertha’s guest room. He first went into the medicine cabinet. There wasn’t anything unusual. He checked the dresser drawer, nothing. Then he saw two books on the side table, the first looked like a diary. He opened it. It fell to the date before Bertha came, it read, ‘I’ve had enough! I am going to Anne’s house tomorrow to end this marriage.’ He turned the page and read last night’s entry, ‘I hope he dies. He shouldn’t be able to resist!’ With crazed panic, he turned to today’s entry, ‘That’s it! It’s the end of my rope! He will die and will be no more!’
He looked at the other book. It was old looking, but when he picked it up he realized it was heavier than a book that size. He opened it up and found a secret compartment with a maroon shaded bottle with a dusty cork and faded white label, which had a thick black skull and crossbones. “Poison.”
That was it. Jerry knew the truth. Bertha came home and Jerry fled the room with the poison and diary in hand. At dinner Jerry spoke up, “Bertha, I caught you. I can’t believe you would try to poison me!”
“What are you talking–”
Jerry interrupted, “You know what I’m talking about! You had to come over to end this marriage, you hope I die, that’s it, and I will die.” That’s when he threw the diary on the table, and slapped the bottle of poison on the table.
“Mother! Is this true?” Anne gasped.
“Why I never! How could you accuse me of this! I was coming over the tell Anne that I’m divorcing Hank, her father. Last night he called me and made me irritated. I wish he’d shut up and die, but I don’t really mean it. As for the bottle, that’s my morphine. I put that label to keep the kids away from it and scare them a little.”
Jerry, full of shame, apologized and went upstairs.
Later that night Bertha came into the room and brought him a cup of coffee and some toast with Texas jam. He looked at her with his ‘I feel like a total idiot’ face, “Thank you for the toast, and I’m sorry about dinner.”
“No problem Jerry.” She said as she left. Jerry ate the toast, sipped some coffee, put his pajamas on. He went back to bed and fell asleep.
Jerry never woke up.