BETTER THAN GINSTERS

Pauline knew for sure that her husband Trevor was having an affair. For one thing, he started to have a shower more than once a week: and for another, he looked in the mirror a lot, practising his most winsome expressions. That did make him look crazed. Pauline observed him closely. He kept his phone hidden, and changed his underwear more often than usual. When she monitored his website visits, she saw that he had consulted ones about Viagra and cheap teeth transplants. Something was clearly afoot. She listened to his muffled conversations, and then afterwards, carefully and deliberately, she shut the door with a gentle thud, to throw him off the scent.

It must be that fat Trixie from the office. She knew how to flatter Trevor, by praising his Agendas and Minutes, and by looking at him from under her eyelashes. Pauline would have to take steps. Her uncle had been a butcher, and she knew how to hang a carcass and how to carve a sirloin. It was easy. Pauline felled Trixie with a croquet mallet and set about converting her into choice cuts. She would make her into a pie. 

 

Trevor’s favourite pie was  steak-and-kidney. The steak was no problem, though the kidneys were harder to get at. In the end, though, she managed to get a nice plateful, and made a succulent gravy from Trixie’s bones. The pie crust was more tricky  (Pauline was a rotten pastry hand) but in the end the pie was ready. It was a triumph: the crust was glistening, and she had taken care to hold it up by inserting a little pottery blackbird in the centre of the pie: its beak just poked through, like in the nursery rhyme.

 

Trevor enjoyed his meal. Afterwards, when Pauline told him what (or who) he had just eaten, he was put out, to say the least: “like it? I certainly do not, now I know what it was. I can’t begin to understand what you were thinking of. Well, it’s up to you to dispose of the evidence. It’s nothing to do with me.”

 

Actually, it wasn’t that difficult. There was a Company picnic the next week, and Pauline volunteered to do the catering. Brawn and  pressed tongue, cold rissoles, Coronation chicken. All Trevor’s colleagues praised his wife’s culinary skills. She noticed that Trevor only ate a  bought Scotch egg. No-one seemed to miss Trixie (rumour had it that she was taking care of a sick aunt), but as Pauline remarked, she was at the party in spirit. 

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© 2020 by Sue Harper

feminist gothic literature | tales of the macabre | fantastic and supernatural | gothic fiction | written by women | gothic literary tradition | gothic fiction | supernatural | fantastic and paranoia | literary female gothic | gothic narrative | stories of transformation and surprise | sue harper | short stories | feminist gothic literature | The Dark Nest | portsmouth university | emeritus professor sue harper | feminist gothic literature | tales of the macabre | fantastic and supernatural | gothic fiction | written by women | gothic literary tradition | gothic fiction | outstanding achievement award | british association of film, theatre and television | professor of film history at portsmouth university | film, media and creative arts | british academy and the arts and humanities research council | stories of transformation and surprise | sue harper | short stories | feminist gothic literature | The Dark Nest |