One concept that soap operas do not have is time. When a week passes in our time, or normal time, only a day or so passes in soap time. If you have been a long time reader of this column, you may remember about a year ago when I wrote a soap opera called As the World Groans. Well, a year has passed in real time, but in soap time, only a day.
Last time on As the World Groans: Old widow Mrs. Gilgor was talking to her deceased husband of six years when her illegitimate son, Barnes, walks in with his fiancée, Lisa. Lisa happens to be the daughter of the woman who killed three of Mrs. Gilgor’s husbands, including (though not proven) Frank, who is the husband whose spirit inhabits Mrs. Gilgor’s mansion. Mrs. Gilgor does not want the marriage and stomped out of the room, saying she would not allow the marriage while she was around. Barnes then says, under his breath, maybe she will not be around.
Barnes is now in the kitchen making some coffee. He mixes rat poison with the sugar and carries a tea tray up to his mother’s room to make amends. “Mother?” he asks at her door.
“What?” comes an answer.
Barnes opens the door a little. “Do you want some coffee?”
Barnes frowns. Dang it, why didn’t he make decaf? “Sure,” he lied. She’ll be dead anyway.
“No, I don’t want any,” she said. “I feel like having some sugar straight, though.”
“Sure.” Barnes smiled, setting the tray on the bedside table. He took his cup and sat in a chair across from his mother, who was shoveling spoonfuls of the rat-poisoned sugar into her mouth.
“You know, Mom, Lisa is a great girl and I am going to marry her.”
“What makes you think that?”
“You will be dead soon.” Barnes’s mother looks at him. “I put some rat‘s poison in the sugar.”
“They will know you poisoned me,” she stated, still shoveling the sweet sugar into her mouth.
“No, you see, I have connections to a great murderer. So great that she is only suspected of murdering two of ten people, and she has faked her own death. Lisa.” Lisa walks into the room. “Mom, I’d like you to meet your arch nemesis.“
“What? I, I don’t understand,” Mrs. Gilgor gasped, confused.
“It is simple. Lisa is actually Heather. Plastic surgery takes years off your face, doesn’t it?” Barnes remarked.
“No, it can’t be,” whispered Mrs. Gilgor.
“Yes, I’m Heather,” Lisa smiled. “And when you die, I’ll place you with Frank, somewhere where he has been rotting for six years, undisturbed, and unnoticed. Barnes will take over your finances during your absence and then I will marry him. We may then move to Barcelona, Paris, or Davenport, Iowa.”
“I will not allow this marriage! You are too old for my son!” Mrs. Gilgor explained as she fell to the floor.
“I see the poison is already taking effect,” Barnes said.
Mrs. Gilgor is gasping for air as we switch to the hospital room where Charlie’s crooked business partner, Vanessa, is about to inject a poison into his IV. Charlie’s wife comes in because she forgot her purse in the room when she left to get coffee and sees the syringe in Vanessa‘s hand.
“What do you think you are doing?“ asks Charlie’s wife.
After a moment of silence, Vanessa answers, “It is my insulin shot.” The two women stand in silence, looking at each other. To prove her point, Vanessa reluctantly injects the poison into her side. “Now if you will excuse me,” she says, almost ready to faint, “I must find a doctor. Quickly.” Vanessa runs out of the room, leaving Charlie, in a coma, alone with his wife.
His wife sits down by his side and holds his hand. “Charlie, I’ve been waiting for you to come out of this coma for two days now. It is just too long, I need to get on with my life,” she whispers. She reaches into her purse and pulls out a syringe. “I’m sorry,” she says, injecting the poison into the IV. “Our three children will miss you. So will Barky, our cat. You, being in this coma for two days now, forced me to get over the loneliness. I met Jeff at the bar last night. We will head for Rhode Island and start a new life there.” As she injects the last bit of poison into the IV, her husband squeezes her hand.
“Jackie?” he mumbles waking up.
She sits there paralyzed. Does she allow the poison to take effect and start her new life in Rhode Island with Jeff or does she pull out the IV before her husband of sixteen years dies from the poison? Find out next time on As the World Groans.