Sharon Ervin

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Excerpt from JACK SPRAT COULD:

MaryBeth, hands clasped in front of her, stepped forward. “Ms. Flowers, I hate to interrupt, but this murder that you suspect is occurring, is there any urgency?”

The older woman looked surprised. “No, I don’t think so. I think the deed is done.”

MaryBeth stepped closer, ignoring Gray, staring intently into Ms. Flowers’ face. “You mean you suspect Leland Sprat tried to kill your sister and failed?”

Ms. Flowers returned the intensity. “Oh, no. I think he tried and succeeded. She...ah...she just hasn’t quit breathing yet.”

Gray tapped MaryBeth’s shoulder and she retreated a step as he said to Ms. Flowers, “Maybe you’d better give us the whole story.”

“Well, before I had hardly had a chance to get acquainted with Jack...”

“Jack who?” MaryBeth asked abruptly, interrupting again.

“That’s Leland’s nickname,” Ms. Flowers said, not impatiently. “You know, after the nursery rhyme, ‘Jack Sprat could eat no fat, his wife could eat no lean, so, betwixt them both, they licked the platter clean.’”

MaryBeth and Gray both nodded sagely, their puzzled expressions unchanged, remaining focused on the client.

“Anyway, before I had a chance to have him checked out,” Ms. Flowers continued, recapturing the spotlight, “Clover called one afternoon to tell me they were getting married. You could have knocked me over with a feather.”

Gray raised his eyebrows at the prospect, but swallowed any wayward comment.

“Had your sister been married before?” MaryBeth asked, obviously making a concentrated effort to ignore Gray.

My dears, Clover has led a very sheltered life. She had no idea of the er...ah...the rigors, shall we say, of marriage. I tried desperately to talk her out of it. She had only known the man for a few weeks and we didn’t know anything about his background or his marital history or anything. She married him anyway, over my strenuous objections.

“Jack fancies himself a gourmet...a fancy cook, you know.” Her chair groaned as she shifted. “Anyway, he began cooking these very exotic foods, devoting himself to cooking almost all day every day. You may recall that I said Clover was always large. Well, I didn’t see my sister for a while. Of course we talked every day on the telephone. She confessed she gained eighteen pounds the first week they were married."

Gray and MaryBeth gasped as Ms. Flowers continued.

"I imagine that may be some kind of a record, don’t you think?”



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Copyright © 2003 Sharon Ervin Last modified: September 07, 2017