Waiting, waiting, waiting: silence. Then the sound outside the window came again. “You were meant to get the shutter fixed!”
“I forgot; I’m sorry, Arnold. Truly, I’ll get it done tomorrow. I promise I will. Absolutely first thing tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow will be too late, Edna. It will keep me awake all night tonight. And you know what I get like when I don’t sleep. Don’t you, Edna?”
She lumbered barefoot across the carpet to clear the table of the plastic and paper plates, cups and cutlery that would make no noise at any stage of their use. They all slipped silently into the plastic rubbish bag that she set by the kitchen door.
“You know what I like about you?” Arnold had asked as he climbed off of her after their first date. Edna shook her head. “You know how to keep your trap shut. If you play your cards right, you could be on to a good thing with me.”
Quietly, Edna felt the small, white tablets crush under the bowl of her spoon. They mixed silently with the cocoa powder and dissolved unheard in the hot milk. He would not have any trouble sleeping tonight.
Arnold’s eyes bulged, his face reddened, his hands grasping at his throat, from which came a final sound of air passing through mucus. Edna stared at him in mute surprise and thought, it rattled!