Sierra put her purse on the kitchen counter and drew out the gallon plastic bag. She opened that and slid out a newspaper-wrapped square the size of a National Geographic coffee table book, sawed through the twine binding with a serrated knife, and folded back the thick layers of black-and-white sheets.
The two-inch-high black box inside was still chilled, thanks to the newspaper’s insulation. Sierra slid the box into the refrigerator, exchanging it for the one already there.
Inside was a plate, and on the plate was an arrangement of paper-thin slices of fish, overlapping one another so that the presentation looked like a translucent white chrysanthemum.
She dumped the fish slices into the sink and washed them through the garbage disposal, following them with half a lemon, to eliminate any fish smell. She wrapped the box holding the empty plate in the newspaper, slipped it and the cut twine into the plastic bag and the bag into her purse.
It wasn’t a long drive from her house to the Seattle airport. She would throw the bag and its contents into the first trash bin she passed in St. Augustine, where she was going for a sorority convention.
Her husband, sharing a $500 plate of fugu with his mistress — costing extra because he bribed the chef to leave just a trippy touch of toxin in it — would be delighted to find it had a richer flavor than he expected. He and his bimbo would laugh over the tingle of their lips and fingertips. They would stagger to bed, lightheaded and happy, and she would come home to discover their dreadful corpses.
If only Evander didn’t love fugu so much. He would never have taken Sierra to White Blossom Sea Food. She would never have met Danny, the sushi sous-chef. Danny would never have seen Evander and the bimbo there together whenever Sierra was out of town, and now Evander and the bimbo wouldn’t be eating the bits the fugu chef had discarded as too tainted.
Everybody always told Evander that eating fugu would kill him one day.