A Dish Best Served Cold

If you stop and think about it, Thanksgiving is the perfect time for a family murder. All those relatives gathered under one roof; all that food setting out on the table for hours. A murderer couldn’t ask for a better alibi than a bit of ptomaine poisoning. Or perhaps a sleepy drive home, zonked out on tryptophan; who’d ever think to check the brake line? So when I decided to kill my cousin, Megan, I zeroed in on Thanksgiving.

Megan had been a thorn in my side for years. She was one of those kids that would pinch you black and blue under the table while smiling sweetly at Aunt Nell. I’d get in trouble for screaming, and Megan would look at me with big, innocent eyes. Then she’d pinch me again. I knew better than to tattle, and no adult ever figured it out.

As we grew up, we realized that Nell Abernathy was our only rich relative. One of four siblings, Nell was a prune-faced single lady who lived very well indeed, though she had no visible means of support. I often heard my family’s bitter remarks about the sister who stole their inheritance. Dad and his brothers and sisters stayed angry about it their whole lives.

Maybe Megan and Nell shared some family DNA for meanness, I don’t know, but they grew closer and closer over the years. Megan was especially attentive as Nell aged, driving her to innumerable doctor appointments, gathering in groceries and crawling about on the floor to dust the deeply-carved legs of the Chippendale chairs. Sometimes, she’d go over to Nell’s and spend the whole weekend cooking up big meals so there’d be leftovers for the next week. Then the two of them would giggle late into the night over old movies.

I didn’t particularly like Aunt Nell, but still, I resented Megan for once again pinching me under the table, figuratively speaking.  As Nell’s only nieces, we’d inherit a small fortune when she died, but at this rate, only Megan would get her paws on it. I contemplated cutting in on some of Megan’s do-good attentions to the old bat, but really, I had better things to do. It just seemed simpler to take Megan out of the picture, and poison was the neatest way to do it. I volunteered to bring the dressing to Thanksgiving dinner.

“You know I always make dressing to stuff the turkey,” Megan said.

“That’s stuffing. This will be dressing. Of course, it won’t be as good. Everyone loves your stuffing so much, there’s never enough. When it runs out, they can eat my dressing.”

Flattery always worked with Megan. She agreed.

You can find anything on the Internet. With a little Googling, I came up with a plan. The eggs…they’d be a little off. Just enough to show up in the toxicology tests, if there were any, hiding the trace of cyanide. Now, I had to make sure only Megan ate the bad dressing. No point in slaying the whole family. I’d make a test batch and take it to her the night before. Revenge is a dish best served cold, but mine would be warm and tasty.

“I don’t think I have the spices quite right. Just taste it and tell me what it needs,” I’d say. “You’re a much better a cook than I am. Here, have some more. ” And she would comply, happy for the chance to tell me my food was lousy.

All went as planned. I knocked on Megan’s porch-lit door on Thanksgiving Eve, carrying my covered dish of death. She ushered me right into the kitchen, where she was cooking for the next day. I was surprised when she offered her own stuffing for a taste test; she who was always totally confident that everything she did was perfect. Oh well, I could play along.


From the Tipton Times:

Two cousins, June and Megan Abernathy, died the day before Thanksgiving. Cause of death is suspected food poisoning. Relatives became alarmed when the women didn’t show up for the family’s annual dinner and went looking for them. They were found dead on the kitchen floor of Megan Abernathy’s home.

Their aunt, Nell Abernathy, said, “They were such lovely girls, and so close. My only comfort is to think that now they will be together forever. ”






3 thoughts on “A Dish Best Served Cold

  1. Just desserts, I say. Fantastic story. Think I will read aloud for our Thanksgiving dinner, right before the dressing is passed around!


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