Mrs. Black’s Withering Glare

Last week I posted “Mr. Black’s Knowing Wink” as a one off #FridayFlash.  There were several comments that wondered after Dolores fate, so I was inspired to continue her story…

Mrs. Black’s Withering Glare
D. Paul Angel
1,000 Words

Dolores sat at the interrogation with her head down in silence. The Police had come in that morning to arrest her for Ableforth’s murder! She had just been starting to go through his office and all of his papers when they burst through her front door. She was all aflutter and protesting her innocence when she saw Mr. Black on the other side of the street. She’d wanted to yell and point him out, but he’d given her one of those smiles again; they just seemed to soothe her. He’d once again signaled her to be silent and she’d followed his advice from that point on.

“Well Dolores, still have nothing to say?” asked Clarance for the umpteenth time. He’d been one of Ableforth’s poker and golfing buddies, and was the county District Attorney. She stayed quiet and avoided his angry eyes. “The longer you say nothing, the worse it looks for you, I’m afraid…”

As his implication lingered, the door opened and a severe, matronly woman walked in. She was wearing an older gray, Victorian dress with an elaborate costume jewel brooch at her neck. Her hair was in a tight bun, and she had deep wrinkles around her mouth. “I am here to represent you Dolores,” she said with a wide smile that showed the origin of her wrinkles. “My husband saw your… trouble this morning and informed me.”

“I must warn you Dolores, an attorney at this stage only makes you look guilty,” Clarance said, ignoring the newcomer.

“You may call me Mrs. Black, and you will address any further questions to me.”

“Think carefully, Dolores,” Clarence continued, still ignoring Mrs. Black completely, “Do you even know this-”

He was interrupted by Mrs. Black loudly hitting the metal table in the center of the room. It was loud enough to reverberate, and Dolores was pretty sure she noticed a dent where Mrs. Black had struck it. “You will address your questions to me,” she said to Clarence.

Clarence rose from his chair and turned to face Mrs. Black for the first time. He had his hand half raised to point at her, and his mouth opened grotesquely large to yell at her, when he was hit by her withering glare. Both actions remained unfinished as he slumped back down, looking away from Mrs. Black.

“Good,” she continued, “Now you will listen to me. You have no case and you know it. Which is why you’re in here bullying a new widow in the back of the Police Station. Did you even bother reading her her rights?”


“I didn’t think so.”

“We were-”

“That is no excuse and you know it!”

“Can I finish!?” he shouted, only half rising before sitting down again at her look.

“Yes. You can tell us your theory.”

“It’s open and shut. Dolores poisoned her husband so she could keep the inheritance to herself. She had motive, means, and opportunity.”

“Whose inheritance?”

“They had just come-”

Whose inheritance.”

“Well it was Dolores’.”

“Dolores’s, yes. So. Regardless, of whether Ableforth still lived, or not, she would receive her inheritance?”

“Well of course, but-”

“Would Ableforth have received it if she died prior to it clearing probate?”

“Well… no.”

“And, he would only be entitled to as much of it as she shared, correct?”

“Well, yes, but-”

“So Ableforth had motive to kill her, Right? So, murder weapon?”

“It was a rare poison. I can’t pronounce it, but it kills quickly with little trace.”

“Would a mortician have known of it?”

“Not necessarily.”

“Ableforth did the county’s autopsies, didn’t he?”

When Clarence didn’t answer she asked him again, forcefully, “Well didn’t he?”

“Yes, he helped us out sometimes.”

“So you knew Ableforth then? Tell me. Was he a good man?”

“We played poker every week and golfed a couple times a month…”

“And does that make him a good man?”

“I, uh…”

“Your pause is eloquence enough. I wonder if he spoke of Dolores during your times together?”

Clarence looked everywhere in the room except at Dolores or Mrs. Black. He tugged at his collar, loosening his tie. Dolores noticed the sweat stains under his arms, and was acutely aware of her own sweating; though Mrs. Black seemed wholly unaffected.

“It’s hot in here…” Clarence began before Mrs. Black cut him off, “Yes, that’s what happens when you turn off the air-conditioning. In the South. During the Summer.

“Now, what did Ableforth have to say about his wife?”

“He said she couldn’t keep house worth a shit and she’d be lost without him.”

“Hmmm… so this woman, who according to her husband can’t even take care of housework, would be in a position to know about, and obtain a rare poison you can’t even pronounce? That, to be clear, is your theory?”

“A jury-”

“Will never hear it. The bottle of poison was found in Ableforth’s pocket, he had ordered it and personally received it. It had only his fingerprints on it. Both glasses, in fact, had Ableforth’s fingerprints on them, but Dolores’ fingerprints were only on hers. You have no case.”

This time Clarence did shoot up and thundered at Mrs. Black, “How do you know all that… unless you’re an accomplice?”

“It’s called, ‘Discovery,’ Clarence. You would know that if you’d studied it more in Law School.”

“I scored rather well in Discovery, thank you!” he shot back.

“Yes, with your Professors wife, I believe?”

Dolores was shocked not only by Mrs. Black’s haughty retort, but by how pale Clarence looked as he collapsed back in his chair. Mrs. Black nodded with satisfaction at Clarence and continued, “Well, I’d say Ableforth did himself in while trying to kill his own wife, wouldn’t you Clarence?”

Downcast and defeated, Clarence let them out while muttering disbelieving profanities under his breath. As Dolores and Mrs. Black triumphantly walked down the building’s red brick steps, Dolores found herself really wanting to learn how to smile as Mrs. Black did. Well, that and her masterful glare too.


21 thoughts on “Mrs. Black’s Withering Glare

    1. True story: when Mr. and Mrs. Black are alone together she can barely get a word in edgewise 🙂 I very much enjoyed creating them. I think I will have to bring them back from time to time. I also want to take a look at Dolores too. I think she will be quite changed after this 🙂

    1. Indeed! I am toying with the idea of writing some more of their adventures (Dolores’ as well). I am thinking of Mrs. Black actually being Lady Justice in one of those “opposites attract” type of Marriages. Could be a rather interesting universe of personifications…

        1. Interesting. I never read Piers Anthony. I was working at a thrift store years ago and picked up books 1 and 3 of his Blue Adept series (IIRC). I looked for book 2 for years, but wasn’t ever able to find it. Finally I gave up and sold books 1 and 3 back to a used bookstore. From that time hence i was able to find book 2 without difficulty, but could no longer find either 1 or 3. I knew a sign when I saw it! I might just have to try again though.

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