The blunt instrument was a frying pan

I’LL tell you this now because after today I shall be in jail. For murder, and I may not get another chance.

It’s about eggs. Fried eggs.

After fried bread, fried eggs are my favourite food. You have to cook them in butter.

There’s something about fried eggs in butter. They smell like a banquet, and that touch of salt that comes naturally in the butter is enough to draw all the flavour from those marigold yellow yolks, to coat your mouth like a culinary feather bed.

Except that I’m not allowed. Five years ago, when my wife caught a terminal dose of dietary concern, I was told eggs cooked in butter were bad for me.

I’d be so full of cholesterol my heart would explode like a blocked pump — and what’s more I’d never be able to go to the lavatory, she said

Cooking oil, she said, was the all the go. Less cholesterol, no salt.

She never mentioned that cooking oil is as tasty as a drained sump, nor the way it makes everything smell like a back-street Shanghai dim sim.

Nevertheless, because I am touched by my wife’s concern, I have fried my eggs in cooking oil for five years.

It’s not been easy. Every time I fry an egg I reach for the butter. Every time I reach for the butter I remember — vividly — my wife’s words of five years ago, and I put it back.

I pour in cooking oil and I cook my eggs and I am conscious of the fact that a light has gone from my Sunday mornings.

Somehow you can’t look forward to a fried egg that’s dripping oil in the same way you look forward to one dripping butter. It’s like comparing surf and sewage.

Still, I’ve done the right thing. I’m going to live longer. It won’t be as much fun, and on Sunday mornings I might not bother to get up, but I shall be older and fitter (with even more sad Sunday mornings to look forward to).

Last Sunday I got up late, with fried eggs on my mind. Fried eggs that I would cook in oil.

I didn’t sing; my shoulders were not back and my back was not straight.

I sagged. I scuffed my slippers down stairs. Because I was late my wife got up, too.

I trudged into the kitchen. She bustled in behind me. I reached for the butter, as I have every Sunday morning for five years. I paused, as I have every Sunday morning for five years.

“Butter is bad for you,” I recited silently, as I have every Sunday morning for five years. “Too much cholesterol. Also constipation.”

I put it back. I think I sobbed. I reached for the cooking oil. I poured it into the frying pan where it lay like a hangover.

My wife, watching, said, “What are you doing?”

“Cooking the eggs.”

“In cooking oil?”

“Yes.” I felt virtuous. Depressed, but — so long as she approved — virtuous.

“You idiot. You can’t fry eggs in cooking oil. You have to use butter.”

“But- but you said butter was bad for me!”

“Don’t be ridiculous. Why would I say that when it’s not true. They’ll taste disgusting. Here… take the butter.”

“But five years ago you changed to cooking oil. You said…!”

“Nonsense. I’ve never fried eggs in cooking oil in my life.”

No need for a forensic investigation. The blunt instrument was the frying pan.