By Stephanie Cavanaugh
NO MATTER HOW much you love someone, there are times when your fantasies grow dark and the urge to dispatch the object of your (usual) affection blossoms.
If you’ve been together many years you’ve probably considered the usual methods, the knives and other lethal weapons, the gentle push at the mountaintop or staircase, the dropped hairdryer in the bathtub, the tampered car brakes (does Triple A still have that $100,000 fatal accident coverage?). Please do share your faves in the Comments section!
Poisons should be right up there as well; rat poison and arsenic come immediately to mind. But most things are poisonous, if you use enough of them, including such seeming innocents as potatoes (glycoalkaloid), apple seeds and raw lima beans (cyanide), tomato leaves and stems (solanine). Dirt, we might add, contains arsenic. Some people like eating dirt. Just saying.
Then there are the gloriously lethal flowers, with their sprightly colors and tender leaves.
If you’re a devotee of Agatha Christie, you’ve surely come across digitalis, yew, poppy, henbane, ricin, yellow jasmine, datura, belladonna, cyanide, and monkshood. How lovely the thought of the dotty little old lady puttering in her greenhouse, tending her flowers. Such pretty, pretty flowers.
With the exception of hemlock, Shakespeare’s poisons were unnamed. Mystery writer P.D. James made lethal a cocktail touched with insecticide (brand not mentioned); neither does Nathaniel Hawthorne name his poison in he short story “Rappacini’s Daughter.” This seems terribly lazy: Different flowers offer such fabulous suffering, convulsions, running sores, hallucinations, comas . . . Well, one wouldn’t notice if one were in a coma, but one could be brought on with a tisane made of angel’s trumpet, a drop-dead-gorgeous flower, and so aptly named.
Ah, flowers, not only are many of them classic killers, they’re so romantic. And unlike rat poison and the like, you can grow them yourself in garden or greenhouse, even one of those clever herb boxes with the grow lights.
Did you know that flower colors, particularly those of roses, signify different emotions? You might color-key your flower selections to reflect your mood. For instance, yellow points to jealousy and infidelity, orange to pride, and red to passion.
Did you know that small doses of arsenic were once used as a skin-lightener? Just saying, again.
Tinctures, Tisanes, and Salads—the Basics of Dispatchery
Tinctures. Tinctures can be made at home with plants. It’s a fairly slow method of murder but, since they remain fresh for years, it yields an opportunity for prolonged theatrics (yours) and also the opportunity to put the operation on hold.
Making a tincture per Healthline.com: “The simplest way is to submerge herbs in alcohol in a glass jar . . .
- Fill a glass jar two-thirds to three-fourths of the way up with finely chopped fresh leaves. Fill halfway with dry leaves and roots, bark, or berries. And fill one-fourth of the way up with dried roots, bark, or berries.
- Pour grain alcohol of 40% to 70% over the herbs to the top of your glass jar, covering them completely.
- Cover the jar with parchment paper and then screw on a metal lid.
- Let it sit for 6 to 8 weeks.
- Place a cheesecloth over a funnel and allow your tincture to drip through.
The strained liquid is your tincture. You can hold onto it for years if bottled and stored in a cool, dark place.”
Tisanes. A tisane is a tea made from herbs, flowers, and plant leaves. Faster acting than a tincture, some of these potions are near-instantaneous killers. To make one, gather your flowers and /or leaves, put them in a pot and pour boiling water over them. Let steep for a few minutes, and serve. If you wish, add a bit of sugar or honey to taste.
You might also treat your loved one to a juicy steak accompanied by a totally toxic tossed salad. Beautiful in texture and color, and swiftly lethal, would be a mix of rhubarb and tomato leaves, jimson weed, studded with red nettle berries and apple seeds. Chop a couple of Fool’s Funnel mushrooms on top and off he goes!
Don’t forget to top the salad with your beloved’s favorite dressing.
And . . . Happy Halloween! (Insert maniacal laughter here.)