by Phillip Temples
John knew the perfect place to bring Deloris. It was a scenic pasture in the Florida countryside.
Although they’d lived under the same roof for the past twelve years, the two hadn’t been on speaking terms for some time. John had hoped that the idea of divorce would have entered her mind—and vocabulary—but she would never ask for, or grant one. Too stubborn, he thought. He’d have to resolve their estrangement in a less complicated manner.
“It’s beautiful.” Then she scowled. “But—why? Why bring me here? What are you up to, John?”
“Can’t you enjoy nature for one moment without being so cynical for a change?”
She sighed. “You’re right.”
Deloris turned and walked towards a nearby crab apple tree. John knew of her fondness for fresh fruit. When their relationship was warm and caring and they shared frequent walks, she would always stop to pluck jackfruit, apples, mangoes, and figs from trees.
Deloris bent over and picked up a ripe apple that had fallen from a low branch. She bit into the fruit. She appeared to be pleased by its taste. She even smiled at him. “It’s delicious! Come, have one.”
John kept his distance as Deloris continued to consume the fruit. “No thanks.”
“Because. That’s not a crab apple tree. It’s a manchineel tree.”
She shot him a quizzical look.
“You know—a beach apple—poison guava. One bite can be fatal. You’ve just taken several.”
Deloris looked at him with a horrified expression. She dropped the beach apple then she immediately started to experience difficulty breathing as the poison quickly worked to constrict her air passages. In less than a minute she was on the ground gasping, in her final death throes.
“It’s a pity. I did love you once. Perhaps now I can finally meet the woman of my dreams.”