It’s time for another amazing adventure!
I was walking to work this morning, trying to find the balance between going slow enough to not fall on my ass on the icy sidewalk and getting to the warmth of the train station as fast as possible, when from an alley I heard someone shout out at me.
Usually I ignore any kind of shouting, especially that which comes from alleyways, but it sounded like the woman was yelling, “I eat llamas!” and I was intrigued. I paused and turned in the direction of the alley. An old woman stood, huddled against the wind in her shawl and tattered coat. Her thinning, white hair stuck out in clumps from underneath the shawl. She raised her dirty, mittened hand and beckoned me over to her.
“I have something for you,” she said immediately.
“It doesn’t have to do with llamas, does it?” I replied.
She wrinkled her brow like she was trying to decide whether I was joking or not. “No.” She rummaged through the folds and pockets of her coat until finally she pulled out a vial of lavender liquid. “This!” she exclaimed.
“No thanks,” I replied. “Not really into drugs, body fluids, or whatever the hell else that might be.”
“It’s a magic potion,” she replied.
“I’m not into those either.”
“Don’t you even want to know what it does?” she asked.
I pictured all the trains that were going by, and me not on them. “Not really. Listen, lady, I have to get to work.”
She paid no attention to my protest. “This potion will do one of three things: 1.) Grant you your heart’s desire, 2.) Give you a superhuman ability, or 3.) Your taxes.”
I snorted. “My taxes?”
“For the rest of your life,” she added. “You’ll get a pretty good return too.”
“And what does this magic potion of yours cost?” I asked, ever wary.
Clever marketing. I thought over her offer. There was no real downside that I could see to taking this potion, assuming of course that it was indeed a magic potion and not some food coloring and bodily fluid afterall.
“Can I smell it?” I asked.
She nodded approvingly and uncorked the vial. “You are very wise,” she said, waving the vial underneath my nose. The liquid inside smelled pleasantly like rose water.
I shrugged. Or attempted the best shrug possible while wearing three layers and wrapped in a scarf. “Sure, okay.” I gave her a dollar bill, nobly told her to keep the change, and took the vial.
I was about to knock it back when she put her hand on my arm to stop me. “But first, a warning!”
“Shouldn’t the warning have come before you got my dollar?”
She waved her hand, “Potato, potahto. The warning: be careful what you wish for–you just might get it!”
“Isn’t that the point?” I retorted. [I was never good with warnings.] “You have been warned,” she replied. She turned and scuttled off down the alleyway, leaving me alone with my recently purchased, lavender-colored magic potion.
I shrugged, and drank the potion. It tasted like rose water (a fact which may or may not be unpleasant, depending on your fondness for Turkish Delight). I myself have never cared for it, and therefore grimaced as the liquid entered my mouth. I swallowed quickly.
I stood there, waiting for lights to emanate from my orifices and music to fill the air. Nothing. Attempting another shrug, I pocketed the vial and resumed my walk to the train station. Perhaps it was taxes after all. I passed a Starbucks on my way to the station, and, as I passed the front entrance, a man wearing a tan trenchcoat and carrying a leather briefcase hurried out, nearly knocking me over in the process.
“Terribly sorry,” he said, his accent English. “I’m a bit late. Take this, won’t you? I’ve no time for it.” He handed me his tall coffee and bag containing a slice of coffee cake. Excellent.
I put the cake in my shoulder bag, continuing on to the train. The train pulled up as I stepped onto the platform. “Great timing!” I thought to myself. I sipped the coffee, flavored with hazelnut (my favorite) as I rode the train. I had caught the right train apparently, and was able to sit down despite the fact that it was rush hour. That almost never happens.
Finally I get to work, and as I sit down my boss approaches my desk. “I just wanted to let you know that we’re giving you a promotion.”
“Wow, that’s great news. I am honored.”
She leaned in and lowered her voice. “It’s the weirdest thing. I was going back and forthbetween you and Steve–I think you both would have been great for the job–but suddenly you walked in and I thought to give it to you for being here first.”
I nodded. Good timing, once again. “Say, would you like this coffee cake?”
“I adore coffee cake,” she replied, taking the Starbucks bag from me. “Thank you!”
Looking back on the morning, it would appear that the magic potion has granted me some kind of superhuman good timing. I guess I shouldn’t complain, but it’s not really the first thing that comes to mind when you think of superpowers. At least let me fly or see through people’s clothes or something.