by Sunny Frazier
This short story was first published in Valley Fever: Where Murder Is Contagious.
“Blame it on El Niño,” my husband said, as he packed his valise.
But I was more inclined to blame the storm clouds hanging over our marriage on Nina, the weather-girl-in-training at the Fresno television station where Doug worked as a meteorologist. I had no recourse but to watch the man slide out of my life like one of those hillside houses in San Francisco.
“Blame it on El Niño,” I muttered as I made myself a cup of Earl Grey. When I reached for a packet of sugar substitute, it was empty. I checked the recently purchased box and found about half of the packets were defective. White powder spilled from the unsealed edges. It figured. Doug always insisted on shopping at grocery outlets for off-brands and foodstuffs well past the expiration date. Someday his cheapness would kill him. I started to throw the box in the garbage can, but changed my mind.
“Blame it on El Niño,” my hairdresser, Manuel, consoled me when I told him of the impending divorce. “Being beautiful is the best revenge.”He proceeded to cut and color my hair and I walked out a different woman. Even Doug wouldn’t recognize me.
“Blame it on El Niño,” said the man behind the counter at a hardware store in a distant town. “It brings the vermin out in droves. This should get rid of your problem.” He handed me a box of rat poison. I threw it in my basket, along with glue and a package of latex gloves.
When Doug came over to pick up the rest of his things, I made coffee.
“I’m glad you’re being adult about this,” he told me as he emptied four packets of sweetener into his cup.”I’ve drawn up a settlement I think we can both live with.”
“Blame it on El Niño,” the driver said when the ambulance arrived thirty minutes later. The streets were flooded by heavy rains that Doug had accurately predicted in the last weathercast he would ever deliver.
There was an inquest into Doug’s death and I, of course, was found innocent. The story of the tampered sweetener made national news and stock in the industry plummeted. I sued and walked away with fifteen million dollars, which was a great deal more than the chintzy alimony Doug planned to give me.
The weather went back to normal and life was sweet again.
Only one person was left out in the cold. But then, I blamed it on Nina all along.
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Brilliant start to my day. Thank you.
Great little story, Sunny!
Oh, I liked this. Love revenge stories. So satisfying. Blame it on El Nino.
Clever flash fiction. Enjoyed it.
Excellent story, Sunny.
Even though I saw it coming the ending made me laugh. Thanks!
I really enjoyed this short story. It was concise and fast moving and funny. What more do you need in a well done murder.
Wow! A woman scorned…