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Killer Chocolate Cake

by Shawn Kirby 4 months ago in fiction

Just Desserts

Killer Chocolate Cake
Photo by kaouther djouada on Unsplash

We never suspected that Tye Tyson was a dead man before he even walked into my cafe for lunch. In the five years, Naomi’s Cafe and Doughnut shop had been open I had never seen Tye or any member of his family inside our restaurant. Tye Tyson was a used car salesman. Almost everyone in town had a story about being swindled by Tye. Everyone knew who he was because of his over-the-top and outrageous car sales commercials which usually involved livestock. As in “Don’t be chicken to buy a new car! Come on down to Tyson Motors! Tell them Tye sent ya!” All with live chicken running around. He was quite a showman.

My name is Naomi Warren and I own Naomi’s Cafe and Doughnuts. My little cafe is in a small town on the North Carolina coast called Tangerine Springs. At 11:30 am we switched from selling doughnuts to catering to our lunch crowd. That day we just had two people still sitting from our breakfast crowd. My best friend Christie Lui was the manager of The Happy Shogun, the Japanese restaurant next door. Christie had a meeting with her boss for a late breakfast. They were sitting at a table near the window. The Happy Shogun was only open for dinner on weekdays from four till eleven now that tourist season was over.

It was about 11:40 am when “Tye” Tyson walked through the door with his three grown children, Irene, Edward, and Dan. They took a table near the door and began to talking loudly. They sat there about two minutes before they started waving us over and asking for menus. I had been around Tye once before at a cocktail party. He had grabbed me on my posterior, I ended up pouring my Gin and Tonic all over him. Thinking back on it, it was a waste of a good Gin and Tonic I should have just hit him. I thought that was why he had never been to the cafe but from the looks of things he had no idea who I was.

I have two employees, Sierra, my waitress and talented baker, and Dion, who was our doughnut maker and chef. Sierra took one look at my face and went over to Tye’s table. She passed out menus and took drink orders three Diet Cokes and one unsweetened ice tea.

Tye already had a Diet Coke can in his hand and Sierra brought him over a trash can so he could throw it out. Sierra smiled at me as she brought out the drinks and took the sandwich orders. She could tell I was not happy they were there. They were a whiney bunch and I was afraid their presence would drive customers away. Sure enough one of my regulars looked in the window saw them there and kept on walking.

Tye nodded to Christie and Michael Chin the Mayor of our town and owner of the Happy Shogun.

“Do you have it?” Tye asked.

Michael seemed shocked, “You want it here, now? I thought we were meeting later at the restaurant?”

“Come on Michael you know I hate foreign food. this is as close as I’ll come to your so-called restaurant.”

Now I was really glad no one else was in the cafe.

Michael Chin is a quiet well-mannered man who took a risk in bringing Japanese cuisine to our small beach town. The risk paid off and he now has the restaurant next door and two franchise stores. He is also our Mayor and tries hard to do the right thing for the people of Tangerine Springs. I felt sorry for him and I wondered what power Tye had over him as he excused himself to run next door to get whatever Tye was demanding. Michael came back and handed him an envelope. Tye stuck it in his pocket as if he did this sort of thing all the time.

I wondered what was in the envelope.

Christie and Michael were talking quietly and looking over at Tye and his brood. Then Michael left, I assumed for his restaurant. Christie looked over at me and gestured for more coffee. I brought it to the table.

“What a jerk!” she said.

I nodded in agreement. “Can’t wait till they leave.” I tried to whisper but I needn’t have bothered. The group was so loud they didn’t care about anyone else in the cafe. I noticed they had finished their sandwiches.

Tye was telling his children how great he was at selling cars.

Irene, Tye’s daughter, owned a boutique across the street. I had heard that some of her sales staff had moved on to other jobs.

“Dad, you remember how you told us your dad gave you a loan to start the car business?” She asked.

“Of course and I paid him back.”

“I am trying to get the boutique off the ground and I could use a little help.”

“Oh honey, you have nothing to worry about. Who wouldn’t want to buy clothes from my little girl.” He smiled his toothy grin at her.

“But dad, I could use more than you just telling your friends.”

Edward said, “Dad some money seems to be missing from the accounts at the sales office, did you borrow some again?”

“Edward, you worry too much, I am sure it is fine.”

“Yeah Edward,” Dan chimed in, “It is all good, we will make up the money and more besides right Dad.” He winked at his father. “Dad have you given any more thought about me becoming the face of Tyson motors? You are getting older and I am sure the public would be excited to see a new face.”

Tye was unruffled, he hollered across the kitchen. What about dessert? Do you have any chocolate cake? He coughed a little and was breathing a little heavily but maybe that was normal for him.

“We do sir, does anyone want anything else. We have some good desserts." Sierra asked. Irene ordered cheesecake and Dan also ordered chocolate cake. Edward ordered macaroons.

Sierra had just baked our decadent chocolate cake that morning. The cake was moist and chocolatey with a light ganache icing. Sierra delivered the desserts from the kitchen and Tye and his children started eating. Tye had almost finished his cake when he began choking. He gestured to his children. They yelled and asked for help. Edward tried the Heimlich thinking Tye was choking but to no avail. Sierra called for an ambulance. Everything happened so fast.

Irene screamed “Are there nuts in this cake? My father is deathly allergic to nuts.”

I ran over to help and explained that we were an allergy-free bakery no nuts were used in any of our products specifically for that reason. They pulled out an epi-pen, just in case, and stabbed him with it.

“Give me the cake Irene screamed, I am going to have it tested, and if I find any trace of nuts you will be out on the street.” Sierra ran to the back and cut about half the cake wrapped it and brought it back to Irene.

We heard the ambulance pull up but Tye’s face was purple by the time it arrived.

They put him in the ambulance. I saw one of the EMTs shake his head, which I took as a bad sign. Irene jumped in the back of the ambulance. The boys agreed to meet them at the hospital.

I put the closed sign on the door and locked us inside knowing the police would be here in minutes to investigate. I turned to my staff and Christie. “Wow! I hope he will be all right!” I said.

“He did not look good when he left,” Christie said.

“Look under that table, there is an empty vial. That was not there when they came in. I know because I swept after breakfast, and I would have seen it.” Sierra stated.

Don’t touch it I said,

Christie said “ I may know what kind of poison it is. It could be Pufferfish venom? Yep there it is in my phone Tetrodotoxin, I have heard of the symptoms and it works very quickly.”

“Pufferfish venom? Where would someone get pufferfish venom?”

“I am not sure? Our restaurant serves Pufferfish, but we have ours sent prepackaged so there is no danger of poisoning. I think whoever did this, didn’t know that. The poison is 1200 times stronger than cyanide.”

We heard a knock on the door, it was the chief of Police, Linda Moody.

“You had a busy morning. I regret to inform you that Tye Tyson is no longer among the living, so this is a murder investigation as of 15 minutes ago. They think it is some kind of fast-acting poison. Do you have anything to tell me?”

“Yes,” we all said in unison.

We explained that Irene’s boutique had not been doing well and we heard her ask her dad for a loan. Edward mentioned some discrepancies in the books at the car lot. His Dad just shrugged it off. We told Linda we found a vial and that Christie thought it might be pufferfish poison. Dion remembered they brought in a Diet Coke can.

“That poison is highly toxic,” Linda said.

Christie explains that we thought someone was trying to frame The Happy Shogun. She told Linda that they got their Fugu already prepared with no poison. We think it is someone who knows we sell pufferfish but not how it is purchased or prepared. They may have been framing Michael. He was having an affair with his secretary at city hall and thinks no one knows. Tye was blackmailing him.

“So Christie and her boss didn’t kill him. huh! Has to be one of the kids. They were at the table, they had means, and they all had a motive.”

Dion explained that Dan wanted his father’s dealership. His dad does all the commercials himself and Dan thinks of himself as being very photogenic. He really would love the opportunity to be in front of those cameras.

The techs picked up the vial carefully and placed it in a plastic bag. Then they collected the Diet Coke can from the trash can. Thank you for the information. We will have the lab put a rush on it. I will let you know when you can reopen. with that Linda left.

Two hours later Linda called us back. We were still closed for the day and moving slowly because we were in shock. We were just finishing the last of the coffee and Christie had gone next door to get ready for their dinner rush.

“Are you sitting down?” Linda asked

I put Linda on speaker and we all said yes.

“We didn’t find any fingerprints on the vial but we found Dan’s fingerprints and his father’s on the Diet Coke can. There were traces of Pufferfish toxin in the coke can. Dan seemed completely confused when we questioned him. He couldn’t understand why we weren’t questioning the owner of the Happy Shogun. I explained that the poison couldn’t have come from there. But they have Pufferfish he said. That was when we knew it was him. We question his siblings they seem to be in shock. We think Dan acted alone. Thank you for your help. You are free to reopen” I had her on speaker and my staff cheered.

“Who wants chocolate cake?” Sierra asked.

We all ate a piece in Tye’s honor. Not the nicest guy, but he didn’t deserve what his son did to him. We sat down with cake and coffee. The cake was rich and moist, one of the best Sierra had ever made.

“Should we start calling it a Killer Chocolate Cake! “Sierra asked.

fiction

Shawn Kirby

When I was six years old my teacher said she could not teach me to read. Would I never read "Winnie The Pooh" stories by myself? I went to private school and became a voracious reader and writer. I became a librarian and now a writer.

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