Year 2021, Bronxville, NY …………
I saw red. Alice had played me for a fool. She’d been carrying on behind my back for a few years. I no longer had a strong attachment to her, but that didn’t mean that she had the right to attach herself to someone else. Let her go to the moon with Charlie boy, I figured, but it would be a one-way passage. I’d see to it that she’d have no need of a return ticket.
I remember looking at those three x’s that ended her note. Yuck! Kinda old for that kiss-kiss-kiss stuff, wasn’t she? And who gave her the right to call me a chump? Well this chump was gonna show her a thing or two. She had signed her death warrant. All I had to do was figure out a way for her to die on the moon. And I probably wouldn’t even have to pay for a funeral. Sounded good to me.
I watched and waited, biding my time until I could plan a way to do the deed. Alice herself gave me my solution two weeks later. She was listing all the stuff she’d have to bring with her on her trip and mentioned about being sure to bring her vitamins. My ears perked up. I had minored in chemistry in college and was sure that I could mix up a little rat poison concoction and slip it into a few of her capsules. I did my research, got my supplies and was ready when opportunity came a-knockin.’
It did just that a week before the trip when Alice proudly announced at breakfast that her packing was complete. Not quite, I thought. Luckily she was working late that night and I had the house to myself. And free access to her luggage.
It really was pretty easy. Based on my research, I whipped up the rat-poison mixture, opened up six of the vitamin capsules packed in her travel bag and replaced the capsule contents with my special blend. It was a cinch to seal the capsules tightly again. I complimented myself on the fact that the tampering was completely unnoticeable. Perfetto my Italian chemistry teacher would have said. You may think it was overkill to doctor six capsules, but I wasn’t taking any chances. If the first capsule didn’t kill her, I figured that there were five more “bullets.”
Back to the present. I checked my watch again and saw that there were still a few minutes before my show started, and I headed for the kitchen for a couple of aspirins. Those aches weren’t getting any better. I still felt really drowsy and now my stomach was churning too. When I went to the kitchen I grabbed a couple of Tums, in addition to the aspirin. I was also a little dizzy, but I was sure that after a few laughs with Ralph and Alice Kramden, my sickness would pass.
Returning from the kitchen, I decided to check my email and was disgusted to see another email from Alice. She had been on the moon now for over two weeks, but she still insisted on sending me three or four emails a day. Good grief! Didn’t she have better things to do on the moon? If nothing else, this email roused me from my lethargy. Here’s what it said:
Hope you’re doin’ OK without me. I’m having the time of my life. Oh, forgot to tell you…don’t think you’re going nuts if your vitamin supply seems to have doubled. It did! The last time I went to the doctor on earth she gave me a prescription for special vitamins for the space trip. I took the new meds with me and removed the old vitamins from my travel bag. I know you and I had been taking the same vitamins, so I just dumped the extras into your vitamin bottle. Waste not, want not, right? Luv ya.
I wanted to postpone thinking about the heart of the message. Instead I concentrated on the beginning and ending. Sweetie? She had the nerve to still call me that? I felt like barfing. Then there was that Luv Ya at the end of the note. Double barf! This wasn’t helping the sick feeling in my gut. Not at all, but the beginning and the ending were merely annoying, compared to the heart of the email, which I read again. Alice was right about one thing. I was a chump after all and an unlucky one at that. I knew why I felt sick. I had all the symptoms (exhaustion, aches, dizziness, sick stomach) of someone who had taken rat poison, the poison planned for my unfaithful wife. Rats!
I must have taken one of the poisoned vitamin capsules that I had prepared for Alice–one of the bunch she dumped from her bottle into mine. Rotten luck.
I was in trouble. I racked my brain, trying to recall the phone number for emergency services. No luck. I thought it was three digits, but I suddenly couldn’t remember any of them. And if I did, I probably couldn’t dial them, even if I were to succeed in grasping the cell phone on the table near me. And I doubted that I could even do that.
I knew then that I wouldn’t get to watch The Honeymooners that night.
Or any other night.
Original publication by Kings River Life Magazine