It always bothered Gladys that the ceramic canister looked so much like an urn. The shape, color and even the solemn weight of the thing gave her tea times a funerary feel. Over the past week she had to knock the container against its corner to collect enough of the powder to retrieve with her spoon. Her loose calculation only gave her about three more tea times with Harold before she’d need to fill the thing again from scratch.
She dumped the chalky powder into her Earl Grey and gave it a mix. She couldn’t say it did much for the flavor, it was just a custom she liked to keep. First with Lyle, then Harold and at some point soon with Garret. She looked at the power in the canister again. She could see the bone white china peeking back at her through the now-limited cover of its contents. “No time like the present I ‘spose.” She took a sip from her team and returned the canister to the shelf.
Gladys caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror. She smiled. Her teeth were immaculately white despite her continual consumption of tea. Not too bad for seventy-six, she thought. Further proof of the restorative power of the additive she was running low on. She didn’t know how it worked, but thought it had something to do with the abrasive nature of the minerals on her teeth.
She reached back into the shelf for a smaller container. One that only she knew existed. The dried belladonna leaves, once shredded, looked identical to her and Garret’s beloved Earl Grey. He’d never notice the deadly substitution. Lyle and Harold certainly hadn’t.
Another sip and Gladys had found herself at the bottom of her tea with Harold. As always, there was a small cluster of clumps at the bottom of the delicate cup. She lifted the cup and scooped the remaining bits of Harold’s cremated remains with her tongue.
Being economical, she mixed the Belladonna leaves into the used Early Grey leaves. She lowered the infuser into the steaming kettle water and called to the other room. “Garret, tea time.”