Tomato Soup


Heads, I add cyanide to my husband’s soup. Tails, I add salt.

I toss the coin and it shows tails.


“Darling,” he wails from the living room. “I am starving.”

Yeah, I bet.

He had come home, late as usual with his usual crap of an excuse: “Year-ending darling, books of accounts need to be audited, you know.”

What he had been in the process of auditing, I know very well. That whore’s body. In his cabin. When everybody has gone home, he tallies her tits. Bastard.

I stir the salt into the tomatoes, add water to the saucepan and raise the flame to bring the soup to boil. I hear him switch on the television and he shouts as if I am fucking deaf: “I think I will have a bath first.”

That’s right, you prick, wash the slut’s scent off your body. Perfume, that by all rights, should have been mine. Perfume that costs 4k for a few bloody milliliters.

I toss the coin and it is tails again.

Fuck. Fuck.

I look at the spot where the washing machine should have been standing. There is a lame, cheap laundry bag in its place.

“I know I promised you the front-loader darling,” he had said in his unctuous voice. “But this investment opportunity came up…after a few months, okay?”

He thinks I am a dumb broad from the boondocks, too fucking stupid to figure out what is going on. Investment opportunity? Yeah. The money that should have been spent on my comfort, on my washing machine, had been ‘invested’ in a weekend in Kathmandu. With that bloody slut he calls his manager.

I stir the soup with a ladle.

Heads it is cyanide, tails it is chili flakes.

Tails again. Shit.

How long has he been bonking her? Before we got married, I am sure. They must have been at it like a couple of drunken goats when my parents were negotiating my dowry with his fat, greedy witch of a mother.

He thinks he is very clever by having his credit card statements sent to his office and hiding the counterfoils in the inner folds of his laptop bag. Yesterday, I found them. It was worse than I thought. He was paying for her groceries, her bloody mobile bills and even her land-line bills.

Land-line bills? For fuck’s sake. Give me a break. What kind of man pays his mistress’s land-line bills?

The soup boils over, I switch off the flame and wait for it to cool.

I hear him come out of the bathroom. He increases the television’s volume and the trashy beats of an item number rattle the windows.

I toss the coin again. Tails.

Lucky fucker.

I pour the soup into a chipped bowl, place it on a tray and carry it in the living room. He is staring wide-eyed at the screen that is showing a b-grade heroine’s ample cleavage. I remember the occasions he had smirked at my modest bra size.

He takes the bowl of soup, peers into it and looks up at me. “But darling, you forgot the coriander. Darling, you know how I love coriander, not too much, just a little bit. A wee bit? Eh, darling?”

“And by the way, darling,” he adds as I carry the bowl back to the kitchen. “I have invited my manager home for dinner tomorrow. Poor thing, works so hard, you know. Make something special, will you? Darling?”

I place the bowl of soup on the ledge.

I toss the coin. Heads it is cyanide, tails it is coriander.

It shows heads.

Yes, yes.

~ fin ~

Simha Sagar Raja Manoor is that rare noir writer who is a practicing vegetarian. When this Mumbaikar (one who hails from Mumbai, India) is not reading or writing hard-boiled fiction, he works as a creative director with He has already published Black Sugar, a collection of noir stories and is now working on a set of flash fiction stories.