2633. Death by coffee mug
© Bruce Goodman 9 February 2023

When Penelope Johnstone bludgeoned he husband, Freddie, to death with a hefty ceramic coffee mug all she could think of was thank heavens there wasn’t any coffee in it.

It’s not that she was callous. The bludgeoning had been spontaneous and the “Thank Heavens” thought came into her head at this tragic time and wouldn’t go away. Penelope and Freddie had been having a quiet cup of coffee at the kitchen bench. Penelope asked Freddie if he thought they should do something special to celebrate their fifty-seventh wedding anniversary next Wednesday, and when Freddie said “Dunno” Penelope saw red and bludgeoned him to death with her empty coffee mug. Penelope could offer no explanation for what had suddenly happened, and all she could say to the judge was “Thank heavens there wasn’t any coffee left in the mug. We’d just got new carpet.”

The judge was wise enough to realize that it was a strange and tragic upturn of events that was neither premeditated nor stemmed from long-term repressed negative feelings for a spouse. In such circumstances the judge lent towards leniency and compassion. He gave Penelope Johnstone a hefty amount of community service and hoped she could move on.

Of course, Penelope was sad yet over the moon with relief. As she said to her friend Samantha on the phone once all was over, “Thank heavens there wasn’t any coffee in it.”

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