She always wore cherry lipstick.
A fixture at the Blue Orchid’s karaoke night, Val always sang the same three songs, screeching classical garbage off-key at a volume that made a mic redundant.
She’d clutch the microphone in her hands, white knuckled, and plant her lips on the mesh windscreen, leaving behind red smears of greasy wax embedded in the tiny metal latticework. The saccharine perfume of berries clung to the mic long after.
Acts that followed Val made vain attempts to wipe of her fruity residue. They didn’t know that the flavor helped mask the taste of her poison.
Mine: She always wore cherry lipstick. It masked the poison’s taste.