Bradley leaned forward in his chair and studied Tara’s face. She had just taken a bite of his special key lime pie, which meant he would have his answer within just a few minutes.

And that made him nervous.

In his experience, women were liars. They acted like everything was fine, like they loved you. Until you pushed the issue. Then the truth came out.

Just like Mother said. She was the only one — so far — who had always told the truth.

“What do you think?” Bradley asked.

“This tastes strange,” Tara said. “Like a mix between furniture polish and Raid.” She made a face.

Bradley nodded. Her honesty was good.

It meant that Mother’s truth serum was kicking in. He didn’t know how it worked, but he knew that it DID, indeed, work. Mother had used it often enough on him while he was growing up — and later on, too. And it DID taste like furniture polish and Raid, too.

He held his hands under the table.

In his left was the engagement ring he’d been saving for years.

In his right was the revolver, aimed at Tara’s heart.

He was merely the marionette in this game, and Tara herself would pull one string or the other, depending on her answer to his next question.

Bradley prayed she was different than the others. There had already been too much deception … too much death.

He smiled across the table at his girlfriend, and sweat glistened off his upper lip.

“So, darling,” he began, “tell me what you REALLY think of my mother.”

(This post was written in response to a Daily Flash Fiction Challenge on


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