Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis
“The Case of the Salt and Pepper Shakers” by Aimee Bender
Card picked: Eight of Spades
From: McSweeney’s Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales, ed. by Michael Chabon
Thoughts: An unnamed detective is called to the site of a double murder. The husband has been stabbed and the wife has been poisoned; their bodies found curled together like a yin and yang symbol. As the detective talks to family, friends, and the couple’s own private chef, curious facts are revealed. He always liked pepper and she always liked salt. They were, therefore, the perfect couple. Unfortunately, things change. He developed a sensitivity to spicy food and could no longer stand pepper. Hypertension caught up with her, disallowing salt from her diet. Could such a couple stand to have their identities stripped and, maybe worse, swapped? Or did their chef, tired of cooking such unbalanced foods, poison the wife and frame the husband?
This is a very low-key tale for a story with two dead bodies on the floor. In a sort of noir move, the detective really gets no lines. He’s mostly an observer, though a weirdly obsessed one. He goes as far as staying over night in the couple’s ranch-style house in order to better contemplate their salt and pepper shaker collection. In the end, he’s left wondering how he and his own girlfriend would fare if so individually changed. It’s a question many long-time couples deal with.
Is This Your Card?
Appropriately, today’s magical bonus is from a duo: