I heard the dog whine. I could see his shadow pacing back and forth through the crack under the door. I chuckled to myself. If only he had thumbs he could open the door and save my life. But he didn’t have thumbs. He was a dog. I felt a puddle of wetness spreading out all around me. The viscous liquid was hot and sticky. Somewhere in my mind, I knew what it was, but I couldn’t recall the word. I tried desperately to remember how I ended up on the floor here, in this room, my clothes soaked. I didn’t feel any pain apart from a profound frustration that I knew it was beyond my power to leave this place. I resented the dog for having the power to move freely. I tried to shout to the dog, but all that came out was a hoarse croak.
Suddenly there was a commotion all around me. The dog quickly skittered away from the other side of the door. The world flooded with a bright, white light, and then my mind struggled to comprehend what I saw, my worst nightmare had come to life. My mother in law stood above me with a smile, cackling as she stepped over me and called for my wife to come help. When Dorthy rushed into the room, she gasped and grabbed her phone out of her back pocket, quickly unlocking it and hitting on the camera app. She took a picture of me on the floor and a smile spread across her face, “How the hell did you end up on the floor covered in mom’s famous hot apple cider. This is definitely going on facebook.”
I rolled my eyes and reached my hand up, asking for her help to stand. “You should be nicer to me, I just had a terrible fall,” I croaked out. When she helped me up, I saw my dog finally running over to me with a towel in his mouth, and I patted his head for being so smart. I felt bad that I blamed him earlier as he didn’t deserve that. The door was closed until my wife opened it, he couldn’t help it. “The drink went down the wrong tube and I started choking, then I lost my balance and fell onto the floor, and I think I sprained my ankle. Thought I was going to die for a second.”
I heard a chorus of laughter and looked over to see my mother in law and her husband laughing at me with twin smug looks across their faces. I always knew they never liked me, hated that their only daughter married a struggling actor instead of some hot shot lawyer or something, but I didn’t care. I loved Dorthy, our dog Princess, and our small house by the city, and no evil parents were going to change that. “Don’t be so dramatic dear, not only did you waste the gift I brought to you both, but now you’ve created a mess that Dorthy’s cleaning,” Mrs. Gionatovi said.
I ignored them in favor of helping Dorthy clean the spilled Cider. She looked at me carefully before smiling softly and asking, “Is your ankle okay? Do you need to sit down for a while, yanno, away from the inlaws?” I shook my head and smiled back, “Just give me a minute to change and wash off and then everything will be as good as new.” I walked out of the room, whistling for my dog to come over and follow me into the bathroom. Once I locked the door I got undressed and changed into a pair of sweatpants and a shirt. Sighing, I pet my dog while staring at the dirty clothes covered in cider, I couldn’t quite place it but there was something off about it. The stain was turning a bright green on the shirt and I felt quite nauseous, which was weird considering I had only choked and the hot apple cider wasn’t a green color. Pulling out my phone I quickly typed in ‘liquids that are a color green’ but none of the responses made any sense. Suddenly feeling the urge to throw up, I bent over the toilet and puked out a bunch of green liquid. Coughing as I got it all out, I sat on the floor and leaned against my dog, feeling exhausted, nothing was making sense.
I frowned and sat up, making sure I was clean so I wouldn’t have to change again. Standing up again and running my mouth under the sink and taking a big swig of water, I tried to calm my racing heart. Pulling up my phone again I searched, ‘Vomiting green liquid’ and the result I got was shocking. There was no way she could do this to me, I knew she didn’t like me, but trying to kill me was a whole new low for her. “RAT POISON” was staring at me in big bold letters.
Storming out of the bathroom with my phone in one hand, held out, and my clothes in the other, I stopped right in front of my mother in law. “News Flash Beth, rat poison only works because rodents don’t have a gag reflex, if you give a human rat poison, they would immediately puke it all up. So not only did I survive your attempt on my life, it also made me skinnier,” I yelled at her.
Everyone in the room was silent and looking at my phone and the clothes in my hands. I heard shocked gasps and whispers from my wife’s cousins and aunts in the room but all I could focus on was my mother in law, Beth Gionatovi. Her eyes were the size of her face and she looked around, shrinking in on herself. My wife sauntered over to me and read what was on my phone screen before looking at my clothes, at the big green stain, and rushing to the bathroom to see the throw up in the toilet. I watched as she then scurried out and grabbed her mom’s bag, trifling through it before pulling out a bottle of rat poison. She looked shocked and mortified.
“Mom, how could you? Someone call the cops and an ambulance!” she shouted. She quickly came over to me and checked my pulse, “that’s why you choked earlier wasn’t it?” I nodded and held onto my stomach as I was still feeling a little bit queasy.
The police arrived before the ambulance and my wife told them everything that happened, showing them the bottle, clothes, and my phone. I watched as they bent her over and put her in handcuffs before dragging her out and into the police car. Even as I felt sick still, all I could think about was that she was finally out of my life for good, no matter what cost it had taken on my body for this to finally happen. I looked up and made direct eye contact with my father in law. “I didn’t know, I swear. I never approved of your guys’ relationship but I would never go this far. You didn’t deserve this. She must be off her meds again. I promise we won’t bother you guys anymore.” He looked remorseful and genuinely sorry, so I nodded my head and thanked him for his honesty.
Once the ambulance finally arrived, I was boarded and sent to the hospital. They pumped my stomach and my wife held my hand the whole time. Everything was finally over and I sighed in relief. No more crazy holidays with the in-laws and I could finally breathe. First time being poisoned and hopefully the last, I thought.
“I’m so sorry about everything. I never knew she could be so spiteful and evil, I didn’t even know she was capable of anything like this. I always just thought she held some stupid grudge against you, not actual hatred. I promise they are out of our lives for good from this point forward.” I leaned in and kissed her and wiped away the fallen tears streaming down her face.
“Everything is all good, I promise. We’re okay now and hey, I finally lost that last pound I’ve been trying to lose since the start of the new year,” I joked to lighten the mood and she smiled at me, kissing me again. “Happy Thanksgiving I guess!”
I laughed again, “Yeah what a great way to spend the holiday indeed. Family, cider, and a deadly case of rat poison.”