One Small Thing

Senior year came and Karl decided he’d had enough. So he planned his revenge. June was approaching and with it, graduation. The grad night party everyone went to was the perfect setting to exact his vengeance, and he knew just how he would do it—he’d make poisoned pastries.

Spiced blueberry tarts with a dash of poison should do the trick, Karyl thought. He had made sure to sign up for the refreshment committee so that he could be in control of the food and make sure the right people got their deadly dose of just desserts.

Karl spent hours and hours researching poisons—how to use, where to buy, and how to disguise them. This was during a time when computers did not fit on your wrist, in your hands  or even on your lap. They fit in giant rooms—warehouses really, and only big companies could afford them. Recently they came out with a computer that fit on your desk, but it was expensive. Karl’s dad worked in the computer technology field, so they had a home computer which Karl was able to use as he struggled with reading due to his condition, and help his dad test a new program that allowed text to be read aloud by the computer. Karl liked this program. It helped him make sense of the letters—the letters that always got mixed up and turned around.

Even with all the hours of research, it wasn’t till a few days before the event that Karl found the right poison that he could get without too much trouble. The problem though, was that the electronic reader that his dad had brought home, had stopped working, and Karl had to rely on his own reading of the words. He thought he had it figured out and set about making his dish.


The day came. Karyl was anxious as he placed the plate of poisoned tarts on the table and waited. One by one, they came to the table and picked up a blueberry tart. Karl held his breath as they took a bite, then another and finally finished the pastry. When all the tarts were gone, he looked around the room—expecting to see his tormentors in the throes of pain.


Then, people started to come up to him and tell him how wonderful his pastries were and what was that smoky flavor? Was he going to culinary school to become a chef? Could he make something for next week’s birthday party?

Perplexed, Karl asked his friend to read the name of the poison he’d used in his tart recipe.

“Cardamom,” she said.

And that’s how Karl, the would-be assassin, became Karl the baker. All because of his dyslexia.

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