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Open Features: Earl Grey

Derek Mcqueen's tale concerns a lady who sought revenge with a cup of tea.

I put another tablet in John's tea; that was the fourth. The man had said it would take eight. 'They would dissolve in a few seconds and be tasteless,' he said.

'I need them for a sick dog,' I told him, which in a way was true. I've got two kids, both lads; Adrian eleven and David nine. I worried that they might find the tablet tin so I hid it under the mattress in the spare bedroom. No one had slept in there for some years because of the damp. It would be safe in there I was sure.

John finished his mug of tea. I always made him his favourite Earl Grey, not forgetting the tablet of course.

He had a job as a financial adviser and often worked late at the office in Bracknell. Fortunately for me he always wanted his mug of tea however late it was.

Our marriage had been perfect or so I thought and then a phone call from my best friend Elsie Goodchild suggested otherwise. I put the phone down and cried my eyes out.

When I'd had time to recover a little, I was sure that Elsie must be mistaken. 'I need a plan if I'm not to go mad,' I thought. I had a little money left me by an aunt, Rose, my mother's sister. It was supposed to be for a rainy day but I decided to have John followed after work by a private detective. I knew Roland Brennan from time spent at the Wilshaw Golf Club. He was expensive but he was very good they said.

John was on his sixth 'mug of Earl Grey' when Roland gave me the news I had dreaded. He had followed John's car to a cheap B & B in Dungworth Street and as Roland had suspected, he was with a woman. She was a very attractive blonde and her name, he said, was Elsie Goodchild. They had been 'seeing' each other at the B & B for several months.

John had a seizure a week after his eighth mug of Earl Grey. I kept the funeral simple; a really cheap casket, Earl Grey tea and biscuits after, that kind of thing. His sister Gladys wanted a gravestone for him but I said, 'no, over my dead body.' She didn't like that. She hasn't spoken to me since.

I phoned Elsie and asked her why she didn't go to the funeral. She was sobbing down the phone. I asked her to come over for a cup of tea. I had another eight tablets in the tin under the mattress.


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