Thursday, April 16, 2015

Letter N: The Choose Your Poison #AtoZChallenge

     "Here, chew some gum." She rummaged around her in purse and handed him a piece.
     Martin made a face.
     "It'll settle your stomach. Remember how I used to give the kids gum when their tummies were upset?"
     He took it and began to chew, making a wet smacking sound. The nails of her right hand dug into her palm. She'd grown to hate everything about him these days. Once he'd been a fairly well-dressed, neatly groomed man. But now that he'd quit working his belly had bulged, his teeth had grown downright mossy, and he showered every third day - if she was lucky.
     "Hey, this ain't bad." He belched loudly, a noxious cloud of sour Chinese food wafting over her.
     "Here, spit that out and have a fresh piece. Your lunch doesn't seem to agree with you."
     He rolled down the window and spat. "Hope that ain't hangin' on the side of the car," he grunted, taking another piece of gum.

     His nausea grew worse that evening; she continued to ply him with gum, insisting that it would help, even as he progressed to intermittent vomiting. By midnight he was "sweating like a racehorse", by morning he was convulsing, and by lunch he was gone.
     "That dang Chinese food," she replied, when their son tearfully asked what had happened. But she couldn't remember what town they'd stopped in to have that fateful meal.
     She lit a cigarette.
     "Ma, I thought you stopped smoking."
     "Surely you can understand how rotten this is for me. Making the arrangements, and all." Even dead, he was a pain in her ass. 
     She got up and dumped the overflowing ashtray into the garbage, covering the empty cartons of nicotine gum.

*Children and pets are most at risk for nicotine poisoning. A full pack of cigarettes contains enough nicotine to kill an adult if the cigarettes were eaten rather than smoked. 
    

16 comments:

  1. quite a grim story, did she have a strong reason to poison him?

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    1. She's a bitter, selfish old woman. He's a grumpy, messy old man who can't be bothered with hygiene or manners. Both terribly unhappy with the other - and life. He might have tried to get rid of her first except it would have been too much effort.

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    2. thanks, she does have a cause

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  2. Never would have guessed that. Very well written.

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  3. Cigarettes are nasty. I can;t believe when I was but a wee young punk I smoked.

    Stephen Tremp
    A to Z Cohost
    N is for Numerology

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    1. Oh, well, if that's the worst thing you did as a "wee punk"...

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  4. Nicotine gum - yuck. Sounds as disgusting as smoking.

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    1. Never tried it, so I can't weigh in on that! I can tell you that I ate some Feenamint laxative gum as a kid. Luckily it wasn't enough to poison myself.

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  5. "his teeth had grown downright mossy" love it!

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  6. Funny twist, but I'm not sure it would be practical to kill somebody with nicotine gum. Thanks for sharing anyway!

    Come visit me at http://chriskelworth.com/blog/

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    1. I'm not sure either, but hey, it's fiction. All of the actual nicotine poisonings I came across were children.

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  7. That was interesting. Can you really kill a person with nicotine gum?

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    1. Absolutely, if they ate enough of it.But I don't know about the taste. Or how much they'd actually have to chew. It IS true that eating an entire pack of cigarettes instead of smoking them would kill most adults. I'd have to ask somebody who's actually chewed the gum and find out what the taste is like.
      Large amounts of ingested nicotine causes stomach upset, which is why I had her blame his stomach issues on the Chinese food and keep plying him with the gum.
      As a final note, nicotine is an insecticide; one of the oldest botanical insecticides in use today.

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  8. Clever-& very enjoyable! Good luck with the rest of your a to z challenge.

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