Matthew is getting tired of waiting for the cancer to finally claim his eccentric aunt Annemarie. So he decides to help nature take its course… by adding some morphine to Annemarie’s beloved tea.
The Milk Jug
It’s neither beautiful nor valuable, but the milk jug has been in Beth’s family for four generations now, passed on from mother to daughter and travelling from France via Germany to America. But when Beth brings it home to her apartment in a hipster suburb of Philadelphia, the milk jug stretches her relationship with her boyfriend Ryan to a breaking point…
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Some background information:
- Spiked Tea is a short story of 2800 words. The Milk Jug is a short story of 1600 words. Both stories are digital premieres and have never been published previously.
- Both stories were written as part of the July short story challenge. The idea was to write a short story per day in July 2015.
- At the time I was writing these stories, the annual German literature competition Ingeborg Bachmann Prize was going on, where several authors read unpublished texts, which are subsequently discussed by a jury of various literary critics, all in front of a live studio audience as well as broadcast live on TV. I usually try to catch the Bachmann readings on TV, because I find the public dissection of literature highly fascinating. Watching the Bachmann readings also influenced my own writing and so both Spiked Tea and The Milk Jug are Bachmann Prize type stories, only with a criminal twist.
- The various North German specialties that Annemarie cooks in Spiked Tea are all genuine dishes (and can be rather offputting, if you’re not used to them, or even if you are) as is the East Frisian style of making and consuming tea.
- It is perfectly possible to make “Pinkel” from scratch BTW, though we mostly buy it from the butcher.
- The Milk Jug is a story inspired by an object, a writing exercise we sometimes did at university. In this case, the object was a vintage milk jug owned by my parents. Here’s a photo. And yes, it really did belong to my great-grandaunt once and yes, her name really was Caroline and she really did live in North Eastern France. The rest of the story is fictional though.
- The cover image is a stock photo by Polish photographer Marta Rosek.