THE LOVE POTION
The Arizona sun was sinking in the west. Although the month of November was half gone, the temperature was still in the upper eighties.
Sam Bishop was sitting in a rocking chair on the back porch of his old adobe house. Several big Pecan nut trees furnished shade for this area. Tacked to one of them, was a board with lettering on it. It read: SAM’S PLACE.
There was a slight breeze blowing occasionally. The silence was broken by the sound of nuts falling on the metal roof.
Sam’s days were numbered and he knew it. He had just been released from the Yuma General Hospital. They had cut him open once more and took a look. No need for more surgery, the Cancer had spread. They had let him rest for a few days, then sent him home.to die.
“Better get your affairs in order” The doctor told him. “You got sixty days, at the most.”
Sam had not been surprised, and he was ready; the sooner, the better. He was crowding seventy-five and had lived a full life, a very full life. There had never been a dull moment
A soft hand fell on his shoulder, “Are you comfortable, Sam?”
He turned! and looked up into the pretty face of Laura. His housekeeper and all around helper He nodded “As good as possible, I guess. Maybe a cold drink of water, would help.”
The young woman patted him on the back, then disappeared into the house.
It had been a lucky day for him when she had answered that ad he had put in the newspaper. He couldn’t have made it this far without her.
His beloved wife, Hena had suddenly been taken away from him. She had been coming home from the wedding chapel, where she had just delivered a wreath of roses At the corner of eighth and B avenue, a truck had struck her broadside Killing her instantly
This was a little over two years ago. Laura had been with him since that time.
The back door opened and she came out with a tray in her hands. On it was a pitcher of water and ice cubes. She set them on the small table by Sam’s chair.
She poured the glasses full and handed one to Sam. A folding chair was leaning against the house. She opened it up and sat down beside him.
She took a sip from the tall glass and glanced at the watch on her wrist, “Almost three.” she said. “I hope they get here soon.”
“Maybe they won’t come.”
“They will. I talked to both of them on the phone. They said they would leave El Monte yesterday morning, and should arrive here sometime this afternoon. I looked at a California road map. El Monte is this side of L.A.”
“I’ll bet you will be glad to see them.”
Sam bowed his head. “I don’t know just what to expect. It’s been twenty long years. They were just twelve the last time I saw them.” Sam took a. drink from the tall glass, then set it back on the tray. He closed his eyes and leaned back in the chair.
“They will- be thirty-two, the fourth of next month. Twin boys; we named them, Bill and Joe. There would be no nick names for this pair, we decided.”
“I’ll bet they are handsome boys. They sounded really friendly on the phone.”
“How in the world, did you ever locate them?”
“It wasn’t easy, but I knew I must find them. After all, they are your flesh and blood, and your only living relatives.”
Sam nodded. “And now that I know they are coming, I can hardly wait. You are a very understanding woman, Laura. And I thank you from the bottom of my heart. And when I pass on, this place is all yours. You deserve it. My lawyer has taken care of that already.”
“But Sam, your boys might expect…”
Sam shook his head. “I was quite a wealthy man when their mother and I were divorced. I gave her and the kids almost everything. I just kept what little cash I had in the bank. The boys should be quite well off.”
“But won’t they think they deserve more?”
A slow grin, come to Sam’s wrinkled face. “Like I said. I have deeded all the property to you including the furniture, the pickup, and now your signature is on our joint bank account. Yes, everything will be yours. All but a few things I would like the two boys to have.”
Sam’s grin widened. “Just a, few things that I have acquired in my travels. They won’t be disappointed. Anyhow, my will is all made out and recorded at the courthouse.
You can make yourself a good living here, Laura. And God knows you know how to do everything. You have did it all, these last few months.”
Tears came to the young woman’s eyes. “Thanks, Sam. You have been so good to me and I will miss you so much.” she bowed her head.
A motor car pulled into the driveway and stopped. Two men got out and started walking toward the house.
Laura sot to her feet and headed for the door. She turned and smiled through the tears. “I will be inside. Holler, if you need me.” The door closed slowly behind her.
For a moment, Sam Bishop set staring at the two men coming up the path. As they drew closer, there was no doubt as to their identity – Bill and Joe, his sons! The one on the left, was Bill. There was a small dark mole, just over the left eyebrow.
They were handsome pair, and except for this one thing, they were as much alike as two peas in a pod. They were both tall, with slim narrow waists. Their hair was black and cut quite’ short. Their faces clean shaven. Both were smiling, showing white even teeth. They stepped upon the porch and looked down at the old man in the chair. The one on the left, spoke, “Dad?”
Slowly Sam nodded his head. “Yes, Bill.”
The two men exchanged glances The one he had called Bill, stepped forward and thrust out his right hand. “You can still tell us apart!”
Sam took the extended hand. “Yes, son, and welcome home, both of you.” He staggered to his feet and put an arm around each of their shoulders. His eyes were bright with tears. “God bless both of you.”
For a moment the three of them stood there. It would have been a joyous occasion, had it not been for the fathers: illness.
The two men lowered Sam back into the chair. “Take it easy.” Joe told him. “Save your strength.”
Sam wiped his eyes-with the back of his hand. “Grab a couple of those chairs and sit down. God, it is good to see you again!”
“It’s our fault as much as yours, Dad,” Bill told him. “We could have found you if we had tried.”
Joe nodded. “I guess we were a little bit bitter. We didn’t stop to think, that we had never heard your side of the story.”
A faint smile, appeared on Sam’s face. “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you. Especially back when you were twelve years old.”
Bill nodded. “Unbelievable things do happen. And it hasn’t exactly been a bed of roses, for the two of us.”
“You got to get kicked in the teeth, a few times,” Joe added, “before you get brains enough to understand. Very often, things are not what they appear to be.”
Bill nodded. “Strange things happen sometimes. But not usually that strange!”
Sam’s cheeks were flushed. “I didn’t get a chance to explain to you boys. I don’t think it would have done any good, anyhow.”
Joe nodded. “You were quite a hero, to us, Dad. A big shot mining engineer, traveling all over the world making lots of money.”
Bill nodded. “We will never forget that Christmas, twenty years ago. You were working on a project somewhere in Central America. You wrote and said you would be home for Christmas. We were very excited, and wondered what you would bring us.” He hesitated for a moment, then a faint smile came to his face. “To say that we were not prepared for what you did bring home, would be an understatement. Would you like to talk about that?”
“We are older and much wiser now. Maybe we would understand,” Joe added. At least we will listen.”
Sam sighed. “It’s a long story, and I doubt if it will, still, make any sense to you. You will have to keep a very open mind.” He looked from one face to the other. “But I would bet,” he said, “that if either one of you had been in my place, you would of done the same thing.”
“Maybe.” Bill’s voice was low.
“We are listening.” Joe added.
Sam looked from one face to the other. “Before I go into this matter anymore, there is a few questions I would like to ask the two of you. To begin with, are you married?”
The two men exchanged glances. Both shook their heads. Joe answered. “We were both married about ten years ago. Married sisters They weren’t twins, but they were both alike. Our divorce was final this summer.”
“Any children?” Sam asked.
Both men shook their heads.
“And how about your mother?”
Both men bowed their heads. Bill answered. “She passed away about five years ago. Died of a heart attack.”
“Sorry. Then I guess you boys inherited everything. You should be setting pretty. I suppose those two women you married, walked away empty handed.”
From the looks on the faces of his two sons, he knew he had struck a vital spot. “Women aren’t always the most loving creatures in the world.” he added. “How much did they take you for?”
“Plenty!” Bill muttered. “They didn’t give up easy.”
“Too bad. And just what have you boys been doing all this time? What kind of work do you do?”
Joe answered. “About the time we got married, we went into the automobile business. We had several agencies and a half dozen used car lots over in the Los Angeles area.”
Sam raised an eyebrow. “What do you mean, you did, have?”
Bill turned to Joe. “I think we had better tell him.”
Joe nodded. “We might just as well.” he turned to the man in the chair. “We are just about busted, Pop. I guess we weren’t very smart. We got caught with hundreds of big gas’ guzzling cars. No one wants them anymore. We took one hell of a beating. We had so sell everything at auction, to pay our bills. We got one used car lot left, it’s; in El Monte.
“And there went the Bishop fortune,” Bill added.
Slowly a smile spread over the old man’s face. Somehow or other, this sounded like good news to him. Maybe now, these two handsome boys of his, would understand. He would tell them exactly what happened twenty years ago. Then if they believed him, he would start them on a venture that could lead them’ to fame and fortune!
He glanced at his watch. “Four o’clock.” he muttered. “Time for my medicine and my nap. We will go inside and you will meet Laura. She is my housekeeper and a very dear friend. She will feed you and keep you entertained. I must call it a day.”
The old man staggered to his feet. He hung on to the chair with one hand, and pointed with the other. “Out yonder is the green house. In it we grow many things. In the morning when I am stronger, I will show you around and tell you the story that you have been waiting twenty years to hear!”