The Potion Maker

She smiled. She had big teeth that sat like aging tombstones losing their footing on the well-wormed ground of a spooky cemetery.

Bubbles chemistry close up color. For the Potion Maker
Photo by Pixabay on

He was blind about something as he drank milk from a tall glass and stared out the window. The leaves on the trees in his overgrown yard shook with autumnal fear. The doorbell rang. He hesitated for a moment, drained the glass of its milk, and threw it down into the sparkling clean sink and it shattered.

“I’m trying to focus!” he yelled out. The doorbell rang again.

He went to the front door and tugged it open. A young girl in a white uniform looked up at him. She was holding a basket, the contents covered by a white kitchen towel. “Hello,” she said. “Would you like to buy some eggs?”

He looked down at her, confused. “Eggs?”

“Farm fresh eggs,” she beamed, and she lifted the towel away and revealed to him the cluster of white ovals.

He looked down into the basket. “Are you sure they aren’t poisonous?”

“Poisonous?” the girl laughed. “They’re not poisonous at all. They’re delicious.”

The man rubbed at his chin as he pondered his present-tense situation. “If they’re not poisonous,” he began, “Then prove it. Come inside and cook one of those eggs and let me see you eat it.”

The young girl became concerned. She scratched at her polka-dot face and looked around at the surroundings and through his door and into this stranger’s world. It seemed normal enough. But then again… “I’m not supposed to go into my customers’ homes. It’s against the rules.”

The man sighed and looked out at the world around them, over her head and beyond. “I’ll tell you what… If you come in, cook one of those eggs and eat it, I’ll buy every single egg you have.”

The girl brightened. “Really?”

“Yes. But like I said, you must prove to me they’re not poisonous. The world is a wicked place and trust in others is very hard to come by. At least for me.” He stepped back and opened the door wider. “Come in.”

The young girl selling eggs stepped across the threshold and he closed the door behind her. “Come on into the kitchen,” the man said. “I’ll get you a bowl, a pan and a plate to help you do your magic.” He looked at her and she seemed troubled. “What’s the matter? Surely you know how to cook an egg, right? I mean, you sell them so you must be fully committed to your product, right?”

She tried to smile. “Yes. I know how to cook an egg. I wasn’t born yesterday.”

He directed her to the stove and retrieved what she needed. She set the basket of eggs up on the counter and pulled one out. She cracked it into a pan when it was just beginning to sizzle with a slick of fresh butter.

The man sat down at the nearby table and watched her. “What’s your name?” he asked.

“Penelope Witherspoon,” she said, focused on the egg that was frying before her. She gently shook the pan to check the consistency of the yoke. “I live on a farm down the road. My mother home schools me. She doesn’t believe in the formulaic indoctrination of the modern public school system. She wants me to be a free-thinking individual and not a robot destined to a life of servitude to our corrupt and soul-draining capitalistic system.”

“That’s good,” the man said. “Your mother is a wise woman.”

The girl flipped the egg and cooked it just a bit more before taking it out with a white plastic spatula and putting it on the plate he had given her. She turned to look at him. “Do you have any salt and pepper?”

The man nodded to the shakers sitting on the table like stoic chess pieces. “Right there.”

The girl brought the plate to the table and sat down. She reached out a hand and in turn took the salt and the pepper and shook some of each out over the egg. “I need a fork,” she said.

The man jumped up and retrieved a fork from a drawer and handed it to her. “Would you like something to drink?”

“Do you have apple juice?”

The man smiled. “You’re lucky. I like apple juice, too.” He went to the refrigerator and pulled out a plastic jug from within a forest of other plastic jugs. He poured it into a glass and set it down in front of her. “There you go,” he said.


“Wait,” the man said. “Don’t start eating until I get my phone ready.”

“Your phone?” the girl wondered.

“Yes. I want to make a video of you eating the egg… And surviving. Right?”

“That’s kind of weird. It’s just me eating an egg.”

“The whole world is weird, Penelope Witherspoon. We are simply adding a bit more to it.” He positioned his phone in front of himself and aimed it toward her. “Okay. Eat the egg.”

The girl cut at the egg with the side of the fork and brought a piece of it to her mouth.

“Look at the camera,” he commanded. “The world needs to see your face as you eat.”

She obliged him as she chewed, swallowed.

“Now smile. Act like you are really enjoying it.”

She smiled. She had big teeth that sat like aging tombstones losing their footing on the well-wormed ground of a spooky cemetery.

“Go on. Eat the whole egg… Don’t forget to drink the apple juice.”

She obliged him again. She finished the egg, drained the glass of its juice. She wiped at her mouth with the sleeve of her white uniform. “There. See. I’m perfectly fine.”

The man stopped recording and smiled across the table at her. “Okay. Looks like you were right. I’ll buy the whole basket. Let me just go upstairs and get my wallet from my bedroom.”

A few moments after he left her, Penelope Witherspoon started to feel funny. Her face felt flushed, her stomach felt odd. Her vison was beginning to do strange things. She suddenly felt very tired. Her head fell forward and thumped against the top of the table.

When the man returned to the kitchen and saw her there like that, he knew the poisoned drink had once again served its purpose. “Like a porpoise,” he grinned, amusing himself with the play on words. “A preemptive strike on yet another evil of the world. Young farm girls selling eggs door to door… What a preposterous plot. Why would they do such a thing?”

He picked the girl up and carried her out the back door and across his overgrown lawn and into the forest where no one but himself ever went. The wind chimes in the low branches made their peaceful song in a breeze as he slowly passed through as if in ceremony.

He took her to one of his favorite trees and set her up into a place where two thick limbs formed a junction, a cradle of sort. “Here’s another,” he said to the sky. “Take her to that better place you always tell me about but refuse to let me see for myself.”

The man stepped back and watched as the clouds above split open and released a beam of golden light from the universe. The girl absorbed it and then slowly she dissipated along with it and the storm in its wake churned like time going fast-forward. There was a quick blink, and she was gone.  

The man went back into the lonely, quiet house and cooked himself two of the eggs brought to him by Penelope Witherspoon, the girl from the farm down the road. He ate them. The only sound in the room being his fork scraping against the plate. His mind was struggling to remember what drinks he had poisoned and which ones he had not. He got up and drew water from the kitchen tap and drank that instead.

He cleaned the dishes and put them away. He took one last look out a window and then went up the creaking stairs to his bedroom. He got into his bed and turned on his side. He slept without closing his eyes.


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