Best served cold - Part One
“You girls will understand. How do men think they will get away with it? There are so many things that give them away. And they think they are being smart. ‘Sorry, have to work late again tonight; I know it’s a nuisance; have to go away with the boss for the weekend--just couldn’t get out of it’.
“And then there are the smells! Just how stupid do they think we are? The smell of different perfume, the smell of different talc, the smell of different shampoo; and that dead give away--the smell of another bed! All aromas that we girls are tuned in to. Does another woman make them lose what little sense they have altogether? I was prepared to hold back at first, but quickly had second thoughts. How could I ever trust him again?
“I am a smart girl. I studied for a good degree and got an excellent job with a pharmaceutical company developing new drugs. This was an amazing but very complex job. If you have no knowledge of drugs, then you will have no idea just how involved and difficult it is. New drugs can be developed from animal, vegetable or mineral compounds. Every test and every check has to be carefully logged, every result tabulated. The smallest change in a formula can have a dramatic change in result when applied to human or animal. Sometimes the results are not good; this applied to both human and animal experiments. Endless tests have to be done. The cost of drugs is not in the material used--this is very small. It is in research and development where the costs accrue. Out of 5,000 new compounds identified for investigation, only five are ever considered safe to test on human volunteers. After three to six years of clinical tests, only one on average is ultimately ever marketed as a drug.
“It isn’t nice experimenting on living creatures be they human or animal, but without these guinea pigs there would be no modern drugs or anaesthetics. I myself was involved in the development and testing of a drug, which has had a dramatic effect on the treatment and near eradication of a terrible killer disease. (I tell you this so you will know that people in the drug development industries do care and often are personally involved).
“I left this profession and got a job in forensic science, a subject that has always fascinated me. ‘Forensic’ just means working for the court: it entails the gathering of information at the crime scene, the investigation of this evidence, and the presentation of the results of that investigation to the court. With modern technology, many difficult cases are now solved by the forensic teams; it is no longer just a case of fingerprints. I thoroughly enjoyed my spell in forensics, but I felt a strong pull back to medicine. My first degree was in medicine and I decided I would like to go into something less demanding than ‘drugs and forensics’, specifically a job which would offer better working conditions with no evening or weekend work. I would train to be a general practitioner. I had no problem slotting back into medicine and before long was taking my final assessment in Croydon, which I had no trouble in passing.
“I will now explain why I have briefly told you of my work experiences. Until a few decades ago there were quite a number of drugs which could end someone’s life without being picked up by a post mortem or autopsy examination. Over these last few decades this number of drugs has now fallen to just one. This concoction can be made quite easily from something growing in your garden and a substance that everyone will have in their kitchen. The problem is, you have to know which items to use, in what quantities, how to mix them, and how to apply them. There is no room for error. If the substance is applied correctly, the subject will appear to have a cardiac arrest about two hours after application. Death will be nearly instantaneous. Ten minutes later there will be no trace of anything abnormal in the victim’s system. The result of the post mortem examination will be ‘death by heart attack’.
“Whilst working in my first job, I was involved in the development of this drug, and the results I have just explained were found out quite by accident. All workers in the drug development industry have to sign security documents which more or less mean death by gallows if anything of significance is ever divulged out of the lab. It is quite obvious, then, that I cannot divulge this cocktail to anyone. What I didn’t sign, however, was anything to stop me from using something I had worked on. I decided that Melvin, my cheating husband, would have to try a little medicine.
“After the initial development and the long and critical testing by the appropriate authorities, drugs are mostly manufactured in large quantities and then carefully reduced to the required dose size. This, of course, was not an option for me--I had a limited amount of raw material that I could work with accurately. This was no problem: the drug had a long shelf life and would be carefully marked. I still had the personal kit I had bought when I got my first job; this set of tools was for dealing with very small portions of materials. Briefly, it consisted of a microscope, very sensitive scales for weighing tiny amounts accurately, and other instruments for grinding, squeezing, cutting, mixing, etc. I could not have proceeded without this precision equipment.
“When I was looking down on the result of my efforts, my hope was that I had got the proportions accurate. I knew that only a small error would render the drug detectable. I was therefore relying totally on my own skill and taking a tremendous risk. The next problem was to be administration, but this did not turn out to be too difficult. Melvin nearly always had scrambled egg on toast for breakfast. This would prove to be an excellent medium for application--warm and with a strong taste. No way would the slight taste of the added drug be detected. Melvin ate his scrambled eggs in his normal speedy way without any comment, gave me a quick peck, then quickly left the house, calling back that he would be late again and not to wait up!
“Normally it would take Melvin about an hour to get to his office. I expected to receive the call at about ten. It was actually twenty minutes past. I was told to go straight to the general hospital. Melvin had had some sort of attack and had been taken there. I sounded as alarmed as I thought I should and asked for more details, but didn’t get any!
To be continued …
Read part two of this story
Read part three of this story
Read the addendum to this story