Got Any Chloroform?

With our move to short stories––as the next Emma Jones book simmers on the back burner––comes tighter writing, a shorter turnaround, and more opportunities to contemplate how to off someone. In a delightful literary sense, of course, as we have no plans to do a dry run, even if one feels especially homicidally inspired when being tailgated at high speed by a real %#&^%$$er. It is so difficult to visualize world peace in those situations, don’t you think?

One of our inspirations is Cruella De Vil who, while a real baddie, was a baddie with style. The title of this blog entry comes from a scene in (the original animated) 101 Dalmatians, wherein Cruella De Vil is contemplating offing the Dalmatian puppies she has amassed for their coats. She exclaims to her henchmen, Horace and Jasper: “I don’t care how you kill the little beasts, just do it. Poison them! Drown them! Got any chloroform?”

Says Jasper, “Not a drop.”

Never fear, Cruella, there are so many more delightful ways to dispatch someone (but leave the cute doggies alone, please!)

It’s astonishing where we get our inspiration. A summer of hiking in the Sawtooth Mountains made us contemplate how you’d kill someone on a hike and get away with it (and make natural phenomena like eclipses work for you). Skiing together made us think about how to off someone in a blizzard. In one story, we used animals to finger the perp after one of us read a book about how intelligent corvidae are, and that they remember faces and hold a grudge.

It isn’t merely humans we consider dispatching: a current short story under development involves an act of revenge for killing someone’s pet. After long and exhaustive market research and big data analytics (okay, we didn’t use big data analytics but it’s a techno-sexy term we wanted to use), we decided to dispatch a cat (because we both like doggies too much to––gulp––kill one, even in a literary cause). We also decided the cat would be really nasty, so we don’t feel the slightest bit bad for offing Satan, er, Fluffy. (For you ailurophiles: never fear, the cat will be avenged.)

Poisoning, long a favorite tool of mystery writers, is becoming harder to execute. The sales of many poisonous substances are controlled, and others one might cultivate in the garden are easy for the medical examiner to detect. Planning murders requires one to consider more exotic methods of dispatch. Some of the following we’ve actually used: faulty medical devices, robots with an attitude, hacked self-driving cars, lightning strikes, rampaging elephants, meteors, Hawaiian spirits in the form of sharks, super glue, and creamed corn. Okay, we haven’t worked out how the last one could kill anyone, but the last time one of us ate it, she was convinced her mother was trying to kill her.

We are happy to consider suggested methods of killing off people who deserve it. Feel free to leave a comment with your ideas, and please don’t feel the need to check its validity by conducting a test run.

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