House-wife Abby longs to become a widower from emotionally abusive husband, Toby Cavendish, a cruel retail tycoon. He and his toupees are embarrassing. She’s frequently apologising for his rudeness. Divorce or his murder would leave Abby penniless due to a pre-nuptial agreement and unable to support her 75 sponsored children she funds through Toby’s allowance. She’ll inherit, if he dies naturally. Abby feeds Toby cholesterol rich meals to lovingly encourage a cardiac arrest so she can escape this gilded cage and be free to invest his fortune into charities. Time passes. Annoyingly his heart keeps beating. Carol singers from the local paper, led by editor David King, arrive at Toby’s home collecting for the food bank. Despite years of favourable press, Toby gives them nothing, only insults - which infuriates David. Abby’s mortified. While Toby parties at home, Abby goes to make amends. She persuades David not to take media revenge that would financially destroy Toby’s business by donating Toby’s clothes, watches, toupees, wines and his beloved Ferrari to David’s food bank. Over brunch, Abby tells a bald, naked, hung-over Toby of her actions. Media praise his philanthropy rather than cancel him. A bereft Toby clutches his heart and dies.
This story’s inspired by the biblical character Abigail, a beautiful, intelligent woman married to Nabal, a mean, surly and wealthy landowner. She makes amends for her uncharitable husband when he insults well-wisher David, needing food for his men. Nabal, like Toby, drinks and parties while his wife, the diplomat, meets David to offer him food supplies as peace offerings - translated here as modern material possessions. Abigail’s negotiations persuade David not to kill her husband and household. When she tells Nabal what she’s done to make amends, the shock kills him. I was fascinated by 1 Samuel 25:36-38 and wanted to explore Abigail (with artistic licence) prior to this climactic scene. Why would a woman today stay with such a ghastly husband? Down-trodden Abby’s in a toxic marriage and selflessly stays for the greater good - her sponsored children. Her cooking mission helps her survive mentally by giving her hope. However, Abby’s freedom is ultimately realised by her actions to apologise for Toby’s rudeness and prevent him from being killed, metaphorically, by the press. The shock of losing his possessions, notably his beloved Ferrari, hits his life force. His twisted love of materialism kills him, rather than Abby’s ‘killer’ cheesecakes.