March 24, 2011 in L
The old man shuffled into the apothecary, his entrance heralded with a jangle, creak and clatter. Powders and poultices jostled for shelf space with dried plants, live insects and animal parts, stacked in disorderly rows. The old man scanned them all, trailing his finger over the labels, squinting uncomprehendingly at the contents of every jar.
“Can I help you, sir?”
Pushing his glasses back up the bridge of his nose, the old man turned to the counter and forced a friendly smile.
“I rather think my problems are outside the purview of your store, sir.”
“You’d be surprised, mate,” the shop assistant shot back. He seemed young for an apothecary, with black, close-cropped hair and smooth chin that the old man doubted had yet to be nicked by a razor. “We have elixirs that will tame oceans and the souls of great men in powder form. That on the shelf behind you is Mulgar root, which only blossoms once every 400 years and which will extend your life by a century. It’s on special this week, for twenty bucks a decade.”
“Wonderful. That all sounds wonderful”, replied the old man, placing one hand on his crumpled heart, “And solutions to many problems, I’m sure. But mine is of a more, uh, sensitive nature”.
The shop assistant leaned forward conspiratorially. “Love potions are my specialty, mate. I have a little something that tastes just like malt. You can slip it in right into her Milo”.
“No, you misunderstand,” said the old man, with more than a hint of irritation. “my partner left me a few months ago. I don’t need a love potion. I need an antidote. I’m far too old and far too tired, I want you to cut out my heart and fill it with something warm and nourishing again.”
“Tsk. Sorry, fellah. You’re on your own” replied the shop assistant, and opened the door, to show the old man on his way with a creak and a jangle. And he stood and watched as the old man shuffled down the street, drawing his trenchcoat tighter.
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