Silly Factor © 2013 Shlomo Reuben
First Twenty Years
George and Sarah were twins, born on 8th November, 1979. They would fight almost always. It exceeded the limits of tolerance for both Henry and Tiffany, their parents, to hear their children fight all the time. One would have to get hold of either George or Sarah, and both of them would be punished to plant five trees in their own backyard. Of course, both the kids would have at least one of their parents training and helping them out to plant trees. During their twelfth year, both Sarah and George came to an understanding, so intense, that all fights and arguments came to a standstill. Even though Henry and Tiffany were happy about it, they were concerned for both of them.
During the times of schooling, George was interested in playing all kinds of games whenever he would get free time. His parents had given him a collection of sports gear. It consisted of sports shoes, clothes, and sets for lawn tennis, table tennis, cricket and soccer. He was also gifted a sports bicycle with a helmet. Henry and Sarah were proud of George, since the day he started winning all sorts of matches – badminton, tennis, athletics. They both believed in him being a sports star some day.
On the other hand, Sarah would display interests for current trends in fashion. She had Barbie dolls and houses. This year she had dreamt of being greater, like a supermodel. She was gifted various make-up and designer sets, designer books, glamorous dresses, high-heeled sandals, flashy lipsticks, show-off goggles, trendy finger polishes, hair extensions and designer purses of her choice. She used to draw her set of clothes whenever she had free time and show them to her parents. They would gladly appreciate the beautiful designs she had drawn all by herself. Their instincts told them she would become a Fashion Designer some day. George and Sarah were happy for all of their birthday gifts and it felt as if their dreams were becoming true.
By the age of nineteen, George and Sarah had become the hottest people in their school. Since three years, George had already become the captain of the football team, and not even a single game was lost by them. Sarah was always on number one for the list of guy’s most wanted girl in the entire school. There was not a guy, who didn’t fall for her. Although she didn’t have a boyfriend, she could have had any guy from school.
The Twentieth Birthday
The birthday party was held at their huge mansion having an area of 2500 square feet, which included a grand swimming pool in the backyard. The family had shifted places four times since Henry and Tiffany were married. Both worked, before they got married, and were secure on financial terms after being through all the hardships. Relatives and friends from different countries arrived and stayed at the mansion. The guests wore excellent party wear, with all the make-ups to display their energetic feel and beauty to all.
It was fifteen minutes past five in the evening, when George dressed up for the party in his room. His girlfriend Jane, had rejected his marriage proposal, which had made him upset and depressed last night. He could not concentrate on today’s advancing events and was living on his memories. When his father Henry knocked on the door and opened it, he saw George staring down at the floor, sobbing. George wished he never should have woken up today. But Henry convinced George to cheer up, and pushed him to move on and hope that life was filled with good surprises. About thirty minutes later, he was all set and ready to meet everyone.
Sarah was excited for the family reunion, arriving from countries such as India, Israel, Australia, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, Japan, New Zealand and United States of America. She loved cultures, arts and architectures of various places from these countries. She was eager to talk with everyone. They had all arrived in London yesterday and had went to sleep early last night for today’s big day.
During the early morning hours, Tiffany made three fantastic cakes, each one having equal diameter and thickness enough for everyone to have their share. One of them was a Black Forest, which was George’s most favourite. Another was a Pineapple and Vanilla cake, which was Sarah’s own favourite. The last one was a Chocolate cake topped with pieces and crumbs of variety of chocolates sprinkled over it on all sides. All of them were made carefully, as Tiffany was not an expert at making them. By eight in the morning, all three cakes had been placed on the kitchen table to cool down. Three bottles containing different variety of powdered peppermints were placed beside the cakes. Tiffany placed a note on each one of them as she knew which combination went perfect.
At quarter past eight in the morning, Sarah came down in the kitchen to ask for her mother’s suggestions, which of the polishes would match her dresses she had selected for wearing. Tiffany was busy with all the preparations, for which Sarah was ignored. Sarah went to the kitchen table and sat on a chair and placed the three polishes on the table, right in front of the three bottles of powdered peppermints. The labels of all three polishes had been removed, and the polishes were transparent. This new technology of nail polishes displayed colours, only when it touched with fingernails. While trying to decide on the polishes, Sarah was called by her mother, and she went to greet their relatives, staying within London. It was Jacob and Norah, her uncle and aunt, who had always been close to her and supported her in growing up. She was glad to see them come by and welcomed them inside. They all hugged one another. Sarah gave them a bear hug as she was full of excitement.
Lunch was served at twelve o’clock and everybody were engrossed with it. It had various dishes of kosher chicken and fish, cottage cheese and other dishes made in Italian, Mediterranean, Indian and Mexican cuisines. The smell was wonderful, and nobody could resist having such good food.
During lunchtime, George was inside the kitchen, sitting on the same chair, Sarah had sat earlier this morning. He had seen the three cakes placed in the refrigerator when he picked up a bottle of vodka and beer. George consumed all of vodka and beer within twenty minutes. He was already feeling dizzy, and he put his head on the table, supported by his chin, his eyes staring blankly towards the three bottles of polish as well as the other three bottles of powdered peppermint placed behind them. He slept within ten minutes. Not a soul came looking in this kitchen for four hours, when George woke up suddenly with a headache. He came to his senses within seconds and looked at his watch. It displayed five o’clock. He stood up from the chair and rushed to his room to get dressed for cutting the birthday cake at six o’clock.
There was high volume of work in the other kitchen to clean utensils, plates, forks, spoons and glasses. Housemaids were hired and everybody were busy dancing, talking or eating. Everyone was excited in one way or another. It appeared as if everyone wished for an endless day today.
At six o’clock, when George and Sarah were enjoying the company of their family and friends, Tiffany and two of the housemaids came with the birthday cakes she had made early morning today. Everyone gathered around a table after they placed the cakes on it. It was exactly thirty minutes past six o’clock when both Sarah and George cut their favourite cakes first and then cut the chocolate cake together. They had started the tradition of cutting out three cakes, one for their favourites, and another to display the bond of twins. Everyone sang the birthday song and pieces of all three cakes were shared by everyone present, including the housemaids. Soon, it became irresistible for everyone to relish only one piece of each cake, after Tiffany had garnished them with peppermints all over. Within minutes, all three cakes had been eaten and there was nothing left of it, except some bits and pieces.
A documentary movie was set up for everyone on a projector. It had all the videos of George and Sarah, since birth until about three months back, when they had been to Australia. The documentary started at half past seven and everyone became engrossed in it. Even the handmaids watched it with excitement. Everyone was sitting on their seats, all the time staring at the documentary. Nobody even took a break. They were staring at the screen all the time. At eight thirty, when the documentary was over and a blank screen was displayed, nobody even moved a muscle. There was not a blink in all the eyes, and were open all the time, staring into the screen.
After an entire night passed, a courier deliverer came by the next morning, who received no response, and went along the side of the mansion to look for anyone inside. He came outside a large living room and saw more than twenty people sitting down on chairs, watching the screen. He felt, they were hypnotised. When he tried calling on their number, nobody picked up the phones, even when it was heard ringing. He decided to call the police.
When the police arrived at the mansion, they secured it, and found that forty-four people were dead while they were all sitting, all of them staring at the screen. When the police saw the documentary movie about George and Sarah growing up, they believed some family reunion must’ve occurred. A thorough check was ordered throughout the mansion, including the backyard. The scan revealed that about half of the people were not from Great Britain. They found the camera with which photos were taken during the family reunion. But the most important clue was when they found out about cameras, installed in every room of the mansion. An order was now dispatched to collect the footage from all the cameras.
On viewing through the camera footage for the past twenty-four hours, they came to an understanding as follows:
“Sarah, who was fond of applying nail polishes, went to her mother for her suggestions in the morning. With no suggestions provided, she had placed all three polishes on the table, in front of the powdered peppermint bottles. When Sarah was called on by her mother, she forgot about the nail polish bottles on the table. During lunchtime, while everyone were having lunch, George, who was disturbed, depressed and upset since last night, had consumed high amounts of alcohol, and while dozed, he mixed each one of the polish bottle with the powdered peppermint bottle. George was not in his senses, while mixing the polishes with the powdered peppermints. When he woke up at five o’clock, he had rushed up to his room to dress up, probably without the knowledge of mixing the bottles. At half past five, Tiffany and her handmaids had helped her garnish all three cakes with the powdered peppermint. When these cakes were eaten by everyone, they were poisoned in a way, there was no time for them to panic, and had died of either a heart attack or of a brain stroke.”
When a sample of bits of cake were sent out for forensic analysis, the results came out positive for traces of finger polish. The incident had occurred because of ignorance and irresponsibility and the entire reunion of family and friends had become a tragedy of loss.