Dibney of course was the first one to comment on the choice of wine. “I do say,” he said, “this red is by far the worst I’ve had since I stopped drinking it out of boxes.” He smacked his lips. “It’s not so much a citrus bouquet. Rather, a mouthful of acid.”

Gerald replied to him, “Yes, Dibney, I thought your overdeveloped palate would be the first to pick up on it.”

Dibney swirled the crimson in his glass. The rest of the party looked down their noses at their drinks. “Well what on Earth is this foul thing? What vintage? What year?”

Gerald poured himself another. “I can’t say for certain. You see, I just pulled something off the rack and added the poison.”

Dibney chuckled. “Your jokes won’t cover for your abysmal taste this time.”

Gerald smiled over his glass. The party couldn’t help but notice he was serving himself from an entirely different bottle. “Dear me,” he said. “If I had to endure another one of these petty Thursday evenings with all of you, I think I’d just die.”

Thomas was the first to fall face first into his plate. Elaine went next.

Dibney’s chuckle pupated into a nervous guffaw. “Oh, Gerald, you’re killing me.”

“Yes, I am,” said Gerald. “Let me know if they serve chicken or fish in Hell.”

Dibney died last. He’d scarcely drank enough to warrant a full seizure like the rest. He just sort of looked disgusted and keeled over.

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