Fan Fiction based on the movie Phantom Thread
April 8th 196X
R (REYNOLDS) is sick again. I had a strange exchange with A (ALMA) . She was cooking the night before and I was looking over her. Not that I need to, she is as competent in the kitchen as in the workroom, meaning adequate.
I reached out to taste the dried mushrooms she was using and she cut me off: “No, I need them all for the meal.” “Don’t be silly, I shan’t be taking more than a touch.” “No Cyril, I must insist.” “Don’t be an imbecile.” “Insist.” And the brainless woo-girl held up her hand against me.
I was not exactly taken aback – A is always taking liberties and she has R on her side – but I thought it best not to take umbrage over such misconduct.
R finally better. He is taking longer and longer to spring back from these EPISODES. I talked to F (FLORETTA the house maid) about A and mushrooms. “Have you noticed anything strange about A and her cooking?” “No mum.” “Does she use mushrooms much?” “I’m sure I don’t know mum.” “I will make it worth your while to give me more information.” “Yes mum.”
[Much has changed in the House of Woodcock since then events of “Phantom Thread”. A has become a valued (in the economic sense) member of the house. She is the designer and sometime model of the mini-skirt line. Although ready-to-wear, it has insured that the House stays open. Fashion is changing so fast that R just can’t care any more. R gets sick at regular intervals. He mostly orders the doctor out of the room. A nurses him. Cyril has observed, waiting. ]
F gave me what I needed. A keeps a tin of mushrooms on the top shelf where no one would notice. I mixed some in with the cat’s food. As expected, the cat was very sick.
“Does R know?” “I’m sure I don’t know what you’re talking about.” “Don’t taunt me girl. I shall make you wish you were lifeless.” “You have no power over me or R.”
I held up the tin of mushrooms. “Would you care to eat of this in front of me?”
She looked and looked. Idiot, did she think she could keep this from me forever.
“I see not. Let us take this tin to R.”
“No” A screamed and there was a kitchen knife in her hand.
“You shall not.” I said.
A dropped it. She held her face in her hands and blubbered. I felt no sense of victory.
I was thinking quickly and considered whether R already knew. He has always been tortured, perhaps this is his penance. R might think that way. A has bewitched him. A turn of phrase, but clichés are made from real evocations.
If bringing it to R would not be helpful, what did I want from this situation? R not to die. Would he kill himself if A were gone? To gaol for poisoning perhaps? With me as the accuser? What gain me there?
R not to die.
“You will listen to me. You are never to poison R again. The housemaids are beholden to me not you. Are you understanding me?” Crying into her hands. I slapped her.
“R won’t take this from you.”
“Shall we go in to him and see?”
“He knows…about the mushrooms…”
“And while talented, he is a deluded man. I have been with him from the beginning and will be with him at the end. Whatever poetic Shakespearean moon calves you have become, I came first. Even that fool knows he is getting sicker with each poisoning. Now that I know, he will be shamed into stopping.”
A ran away.
I saw no need to take any further action.
R dead by his own hand. Or by A. She could have easily put the cyanide bottle in his hand after death. The house accounts have been emptied and A is nowhere to be found. I shall carry on the House of Woodcock. I know talent.