By P.S. Gifford
Humphrey Wilson had sat there hungrily ogling the freshly baked glazed doughnuts neatly arranged in the display case in front of him. Behind the counter fresh coffee was brewing, and the combined scents made the saliva in his mouth flow copiously.
�What you going to have today?� The pleasant nondescript young lady behind the counter prompted offering a friendly grin.
Humphrey met her smile and licked his lips.
�I�ll take mixed bakers dozen,� he said �and an extra large cinnamon flavored coffee�
As Humphrey watched on, almost in a trance, the doughnuts were skillfully being taken from the display case by the young lady and neatly packed into a large pink box he had the strange sensation that someone was standing behind him staring at him.
Humphrey turned and saw an older lady seemingly scrutinizing him. He smiled at her. �They look delicious don�t they? There is nothing tastier than fresh doughnuts� He proclaimed excitedly.
The lady just stared at him. She was in her fifties and dressed in a long woolen brown coat, she also wore a neat little brown matching hat with a bow on the front, and oversized glasses sat on her nose.
�Those doughnuts are going to kill you!� She suddenly blurted.
Humphrey just politely nodded, deciding that she was slightly mad, and returned his attention to the now full box of fresh doughnuts.
�That�ll be $5.63 please sir,� the lady behind the counter said. Humphrey paid, and tried to shake off the peculiar little ladies ogling…
As he walked out of the doughnut shop, the strange lady continued to scrutinize him and shrieked at him once more.
�Did you here what I said? Those doughnuts are damn well going to kill you!�
Humphrey tried his best to ignore her and quickly marched out of the shop, with the echo of the odd message still ringing in his ears. As he unlocked his pick up truck and climbed in he still could not shake what the woman had told him. Driving home he continued to mull over the words. He was after all a large man, in fact exceptionally large. But heck it wasn�t his fault he had a metabolic problem. So what if he occasionally ate doughnuts, what business is it of hers anyway? By the time he had reached his apartment, he had gotten over the woman�s words, and was once more enraptured by the sweet yeasty fragrant of his doughnuts.
Ten minutes later he was perched in his oversized imitation leather lazy boy chair and fumbled for the remote. He took a large gulp of his coffee as the television sprung alive.
�Great,� he thought �it�s a Bugs Bunny marathon��
His chubby fingers reached into the doughnut box and grabbed a particularly fine specimen. He examined it for a moment, just as a fox might analyze a trapped rabbit, and then took an enormous bite. The raspberry jelly contained within the fried yeast treat oozed out and splattered onto his white polyester shirt. Humphrey was undeterred and reached in for an even larger mouthful.
It was at this time that Bugs Bunny did what Bugs Bunny does best; makes you laugh and Humphrey did indeed laugh. Not just a light titter either, but a gigantic guffaw of uncontrollable bellowing laughter. It was then it happened; the half chewed mouthful of doughnut slipped down the wrong way, and firmly planted itself in his windpipe. Suddenly Humphrey found himself frantically gasping for air. He fumbled to his feet realizing that he was choking and attempted to make it to the front door, and out into his complex in search of help. But after a few feet he tripped on his pair of fuzzy slippers and fell with a resounding thud onto his tiled hallway. As the scarlet warm liquid oozed from his head and slowly trickled over the grey cold floor tiles, Humphrey lay there helpless and gradually slipped into a final peaceful unconsciousness.
Two weeks later.
Billy Stevens stood there nervously in the liquor store as the store clerk examined his fake identification. On the counter in front of him was a large bottle of peppermint schnapps. As the clerk scrutinized Billy�s older brother�s driving license, he smiled.
�Okay I guess it�s you�That will be twelve bucks
As he carried the brown bag containing his prize to the door, he hardly noticed the peculiar lady in the brown long coat and matching hat. He barely even looked up after she yelled at him.
�That schnapps is going to kill you�Mark my words.�
As Billy scoffed and climbed into his car, the mysterious lady walked away shaking her head.
�It�s a curse being a medium,� she whispered to no-one in particular� �A darn curse.�