Wayne nimbly swept down the passageway occasionally ducking into doorways to scan the hall for onlookers. At the end of the corridor he found the door locked, and he adroitly picked it in mere seconds. With another quick check of the passage behind him he closed the door and prepared to descend the spiral stair.
Before proceeding he took a small metallic bowl from a compartment in his trouser pocket. Inspecting that the rubber rim-guard was in place he silently placed it on the landing floor, and placed an ear against it. Some muffled sounds of life were detected, but there was no indication of movement on the stairs themselves. He returned the listening device to its compartment, and dextrously made a near-noiseless descent to the next level.
On arriving he again checked for movement above and below, before silently wedging the door at that level shut. He then made his way to the next floor where after checking, silently made his way into the corridor beyond.
This was the place he needed, on this level was the General’s private pantry. On entering he made note of the varying amounts of dust on more costly bottles of wine, and any indications of shelves that seemed to have the greatest traffic. It was then that he saw exactly what he was after – jars of spicy mustard on a shelf that was well used. He had heard that the General was passionate about the condiment. Taking the nearest jar, he used a strap of treated cloth from his sleeve to build friction on the jar’s lid. Once warmed it opened easily, and he drew a small envelope of powder from his other trouser compartment. He added just about a quarter of it to the jar, and stirred it thoroughly before again heating it and returning the lid to get a near perfect seal. Near perfect, but it would provide enough resistance that a casual opening would not reveal it had been tampered with. He then looked at the remaining two jars, and decided to make a sure thing of it. He followed the same process with them, being sure not to use too much or too little of the powder. It needed to be strong enough to kill the General, but not enough to cause symptoms in any would be food taster, at least not until the fat commander had eaten some himself.
The task completed; Wayne retraced his own steps until he emerged on the battlement just before dawn. A skilful descent of his hidden rope, and he was away free with another contract fulfilled.
One thought on “Cutting The Mustard”
Murdered by his mustard a cruel and unusual punishment. Great story, Padre.
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