Artwork: AKG '25

Red Dye 40

Author: EAT '24
As seen in: Suburbia #

I walk in the door, yoga pants bunched tight around my middle-aged buttocks. My husband thinks I’m going to my pilates class. My girlfriends know I’m meeting with a group of insurrectionist suburban feminist moms, intent on poisoning their husbands to death using Red Dye #40. 

It all started back in college, the fashionable thing was to eat organic and become a political lesbian. But me and my friends, we knew there was a better way to fight the patriarchy—by killing its members: Men. We married the most horrible frat guys we could find and used our feminist rage to slowly poison them with household carcinogens.

The instructor calls the meeting to order. She leads us through a set of double leg stretches to warm-up before reaching behind the elastic bands and pulling out the goods.
“Who needs a refill ladies?” We shudder. So cancerous it glows in the moonlight: A bag of Twizzlers.

Lara, a painfully thin woman towards the back raises a trembling hand. How any husband could believe she actually engages in the grueling physical muscle-building exercise of pilates is beyond me…yet he suspects nothing in his dye-induced haze.

“My husband” Lara begins in a shaky voice, a voice no one would expect to be a killer, but would correctly assume is vegan, “The doctor told us…he had a cancerous growth.” 

We all lean forward, ears pricked. After 20 years, could our plan finally be working? “It was just the weird-looking mole kind though, they cut it out with ease.” We were disappointed, but congratulated her for the years of sun exposure she had encouraged, and sunscreen she hadn’t nagged him to wear. The instructor handed Lara the Twizzlers, hopefully they would help.

In my house, Doritos are for daddies only. Daddies and death, that is. Skittles are his favorite snack. They fatten up his DNA replication sequences for eventual biological slaughter. His water bottles are BPA extra. He keeps his phone in his pocket. 

The fake butter at movie theaters? Yeah, he eats that. I even bought him some to eat at home. When they outlawed most trans fats, I stockpiled twinkies. For him. And does he ever suspect I might be trying to kill him? He thinks I keep him out of my “crazy paleo-keto whoozit” diets out of love. He thinks I put the wifi router on his side of the bed out of love.

We join our hands to close the meeting with a prayer for one of our fallen soldiers, Wanda. She got cancer and died. The doctors said it was a genetic predisposition, but I believe it was from second-hand exposure. Which is why I wear spanx—extra protection from the carcinogens radiating around my house. And also because instead of going to actual pilates class I spend my weeks plotting, which is not nearly as good for burning off the remnants of my last 2 pregnancies. 

I get back in my minivan, ready to return home to my man. Dreaming of the day the only man I have to return home to is my son. And wondering about the day I’ll teach my daughter-in-law to continue my legacy. 

I stop by the grocery store on my way home. For my family? Kale Fauxlet mignon and cauliflower rice pilaf. For that man who lives in my house? Carbs, wonderbread.