The Love Potion
By Ted Dewey
As always, the crowing of the roosters awakened Sam. For the first time in many a night, he had enjoyed a good night’s rest.
The smell of frying beacon and steaming coffee drifted into the room. He rolled off the bed and slipped on his trousers. Time to get up.
Bill and Joe were in the kitchen, talking and laughing, chatting with Laura. It sounded like everyone was having a good time.
When breakfast was over, Sam told Laura. “I feel quite strong this morning. While you are catching up on your housework, I will take the boys outside and show them around.”
Laura nodded. “Go ahead, I will join you later.” she turned to Bill and Joe. “One of you keep ahold of an arm at all times. Sometimes he thinks he is stronger than he is.”
Sam led them down the path, that would take them to the green house. All around them were trees loaded with oranges, lemons and grapefruit. “The family orchard.” Sam explained. “We have about fifty trees. We sell most of the fruit to the winter visitors.”
There seemed to be chickens running everywhere. Off to the left, was the chicken house. Ahead of them, was an open field. Sam pointed with his free arm. “There is about an acre out there. On that, we raise garden stuff and sell most of it to the local fruit and vegetable stands.”
Just ahead and off to the right, was the green house. Its low sloping glass roof, glistened in the sunlight.
There was a door in front. Sam opened it, all three men stepped inside. Long lines of wooden benches, were covered with boxes of black soil. Out of them grew everything from beautiful flowers, to big red, ripe tomatoes.
“We raise a little bit of everything in here.” Sam remarked. “Lots of tomatoes in the winter.” He pointed to the opposite side of the building. “Over there are flowers of every kind. Laura makes: up wreaths for weddings and funerals.”
Bill and Joe stood staring about them. “Beautiful,” they murmured.
“It takes a lot of work.” Sam went on. “We don’t get rich, but we make a good living.”
They walked down the narrow aisle, and Sam guided them to the rear of the place. Over to one side, was a. long narrow bench. On it, were many boxes. Several of them contained a, long stemmed white; flower, tinted with a delicate pink. Sam picked a couple of them and handed them to the two men.
“Take a close look.” Sam told them. “Did you ever see a flower like that before?”
Each of the men turned the long stem in their fingers. Joe sniffed the blossom in his hand. “Can’t smell anything.”
“There are a lot prettier flowers in here than these.” Bill remarked. “Are they supposed to be something special?”
Sam slowly nodded his head. “Yes, they are very special.” He moved on to the next box. In it were the same flowers, but these were much larger. The stems much thicker. He leaned over the box, selected one and pulled it from the soil. On the bottom of the stem, was a bulb about the size of a large walnut.
Sam pointed with his finger. “That first box, I planted from the seed. This last one, from the tiny bulb that grew on the bottom. The tiny bulb I planted in this last box and out of it, grew this large flower with the cluster of small ones.” He drew a small knife from his pocket and cut the bulb from the stem. He rubbed the thing briskly between the palms of his hands He held it close to his face and blew away the cover that had come loose, then held out his hand. In it, was many small sections of broken-down bulb, each about the size of a kernel of corn.
“But what is this all about?” Bill asked.
Sam glanced down at the objects in his hand. “This,” he said, “or maybe I should say, some just like these, prompted me to do what I did twenty years ago. Now, would you like me to tell you about it?”
Bill and Joe exchanged glances, then nodded.
“It’s getting hot and humid in here.” Sam wiped his brow with the back of his hand. “Let’s go out and sit in the shade and I will tell you all about it!”
The three men were comfortably seated at a table, in the shade of an orange tree. Three glasses and a cold pitcher of orange juice was in front of them. The very efficient and devoted Laura, seemed always to be standing by.
Sam Bishop leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes. He was going to tell these two boys^ of his, a very strange and true story. One that was long overdue. Just where would be the best place to start, he wondered. He had better make it as short as possible. Too much talking was no good, at this stage of the game. He tired very easily.
He opened his eyes and stared at the two faces in front of him. Both men were leaning forward, patiently waiting.
Sam took a deep breath, then began to speak. “As you know, I was a mining engineer. My work took me all over the continent. From northern Alaska, to deep into South America. I spent very little time at home.
“Your mother and I, had very little in common. It seemed like that all she wanted from me, was the money I brought home. It wasn’t a happy marriage, at least not on my part.
“That spring twenty years ago, I was hired by a large mining cooperation. They sent me to Central America, along with a small crew to run some tests on some placer mining property which they had leased from the Nicaraguan government.
“It was located on the Coco River, near the east coast about half way between British Honduras and the town of Bluefields Nicaragua, an old English slave trading colony which was abandoned after the civil war.
“In the early days of the Americas, the Spaniards had moved in on the Mosquito Indian. Then came the English, who brought the black man from Africa. And there were more.
“So, after hundreds of years of inter-marrying, they become one race of people. Somehow the English language dominated the rest, and is now spoken by everyone.
“They are a handsome race of people. Not exactly white, not black yellow or red, but a dusky tan.” Sam closed his eyes. A smile came to his face. “And those brown skinned girls, were really something!”
“Of course, I was twenty years younger, then. And being a normal human being, with every passing day, they become more beautiful. Especially one. Her name was Nena.
“There were three of us men from the States. A book keeper, a chopper pilot and myself. We hired a crew and ran tests on the gravel bars, searching for gold. We had our own private chopper. We covered quite an area.
“We had only been there a short time, when my partners brought into camp two of the pretty young maidens. Suddenly I become very lonesome. I was alone and I began looking around.
“Nena was one of the girls that worked for us. She cooked, did washings and other chores around our camp. She was a beautiful girl, and had only eyes for me. She was eighteen.
“She waited on me like I was some sort of a king. Her heart was full of love and compassion. Never before, had I met anyone like her.
“I will never forget my last week down there. My job was finished and I was going home for Christmas. I was packing my things and noticed that the girl also had her bags packed. Surely, she didn’t figure on going along. She knew I was married, and we had an understanding.
“I asked her. ‘Are you planning on going somewhere?’
“She put her arms around me and drew herself close. There was a twinkle in her eye. ‘Yes.’ she whispered.
“Where?” I asked.
“She laughed. ‘You will see!’
“Finally, I was ready to go. The other two men, would stay another month. There was still some work to be done. The pilot would fly me to the city of Managua. Here I must wait five days, in order to get an exit visa. They make sure you pay all your bills, before you get on that plane.
“I took Nena in my arms and kissed her. ‘Thanks for everything.’ I told her. ‘And may God bless you.’ Her big brown eyes were bright, but there were no tears.
“‘You will be back soon.’ She whispered.
“I shook my head. ‘No, sweetie. This is it. Good by.’ My eyes were stinging as we took off.
“We landed at the airport and took a cab to the city. Our first step, was to the Nicaraguan embassy to apply for an exit visa. The pilot, his name was Ed Sanderson, would stay and keep me company until my plane departed. We got a room at the Gran Hotel and settled down to wait.
“Time passed slowly. There was a restaurant and bar, just off the main lobby. We had a. couple of drinks and a big dinner. Then back to our room and wait.
“That night, we got very little sleep. I rolled and tossed, reaching for Nena, and she wasn’t there. I thought I must have kept Ed awake most of the night. He also, got very little sleep.
“We got up at daybreak and went down to the restaurant. We drank coffee, until it about ran out of our ears:. Then we had breakfast.
“The day was hot and humid. There was no rain. This was the dry season. We took a stroll through the park. We walked down to the lake and skipped stones across the smooth water.
“It was a good day for drinking beer. We took in all the pubs within blocks of the hotel. And there were many. We must have been quite plastered, when we finally stumbled into bed.
“Along toward morning, I awoke. I was crying out Nena’s name. Reaching for her. I got up and turned on the light.
“I glanced at my watch. It was four o’clock in the morning. Ed, was sitting on the edge of his bed, fully dressed, smoking a cigarette.
“‘Can’t sleep?’ I asked him.
“‘Hell no. And I can’t figure it out. I usually sleep like a log.’
“‘Me too. I should have brought my little Chick with me. I wish to God that she was here. I know Nena wanted to come along and go to the states with me. Now, I wish I had brought her.”
“Ed got to his feet and began pacing up and down the room. ‘Sam,’ he said, ‘I am doing you no good waiting here with you. As soon as it is daylight, I’m getting the hell out of here! Going back to my little Chick.’
“I didn’t hesitate one second. ‘I am going with you.’
“Sam quit talking and poured himself a fresh glass of orange juice. His hands were shaking, as he held the glass to his lips. He set it down and closed his eyes.
Bill broke the silence. “And then?”
Sam slowly opened his eyes. “I am getting really tired, boys. So I will cut the rest of this, real short. Nena was all packed and ready to go, when I returned to camp. There was a sly look on her pretty face. I had a feeling that she knew I would return for her.”
“A few days later, we landed in L.A. We made plans and worked fast. I rented her a small apartment, close to my office. She was badly in need of new clothes so I bought her a whole new wardrobe.. God, she was beautiful, decked out in all that finery! Somehow, I just wanted the world to see this beautiful, creature. I was so proud of her!
“As you probably remember, I belonged to the Elks Lodge. I knew that those old boys in there would sure turn green with envy, if I walked in there with her on my arm. I guess I thought I could get by with it, just once.
“It was just three nights before Christmas, when we stepped through that doorway. I never dreamed that your mother and some of our friends were inside.”
Sam stopped talking and took another sip of the orange juice. He set the glass down and cleared his; throat. “From here on, you know what happened. I gave your mother everything, including the custody of you two boys. All I kept, was the money I had in my personal bank account.
“Nena and I left L.A. and came over here to Arizona. We bought this old place. Fixed up the house, and raised a big garden. We did a lot of work on the green house and started raising flowers. We didn’t make a lot of money, but we were very happy.
“Then one day when she was coming home from town her car was struck by a truck. She died on the way to the hospital.” Sam stopped talking for a moment, and wiped his eyes. Tears made them glisten.
“I was all alone for some time. I almost went crazy. I advertised for a house-keeper. That is how I met Laura. She has been with me since that time. That was about two years ago.”
Sam shifted his weight in the chair. Trying to get in a more comfortable position. The pain was getting un-bearable. Soon it would be time for Laura to bring his medicine.
The flower that he had pulled out of the box in the green house, was lying in front of him. He picked it up and turned it around in his fingers. A faint smile came to his face.
“And now.” he said. “Would you like to hear the rest of the story?”
As though spellbound, the two men nodded.
Sam reached in his pocket and pulled out the remains of the bulb he had taken apart in the green house. He opened his hand and laid them on the table. Both Bill and Joe, reached out and picked up several of the kernels.
“Looks like garlic.” Bill commented.
“What are they?” Joe asked softly.
Sam looked from the flower to the kernels on the table. Slowly he shook his head. “I really don’t know what they are, but I know where they come from, and what they do.”
Laura came walking up to the table. In her hands was a small tray. On it was a glass of water and a couple of capsules. She smiled down at Sam. “Time for your medicine.”
Like an obedient child, he picked up the pills and chased them down with a glass of water. Laura walked away a few steps, stopped and turned her head. “Just holler, if you need anything more.” Once more, she vanished into the house.
“Quite a gal: you got there.” Joe commented.
Sam nodded. “A wonderful girl. I don’t know how I would have made it without her. She is one in a. million.”
Bill rubbed the kernels in his hand. “Let’s get back to these little fellers. I am fascinated!”
Sam picked up the flower by the stem. “When fully matured,” he said. “A flower like this, will produce hundreds of tiny seeds, which in turn, produces thousands of these little kernels. But now to get back to my story. I feel much better, now.
“That night that Ed and I spent in Managua waiting for my visa, about drove me crazy. I knew that something was the matter, but I couldn’t put my finger on the trouble. Neither could Ed. It wasn’t until we had settled here in Yuma, that I finally discovered what had happened.
“One morning Nena was getting breakfast. She was in the process of putting coffee in the perculator.1 was in my bare feet and slipped up behind her. First, she put in the coffee. Then she reached into another container and drew out a couple of these little kernels. With a sharp knife, she chopped them up and dumped them into the pot.
“Naturally I was curious. I asked her. ‘What the devil are you doing? What was that you just put in there?’
“She was rather startled for a moment. Then she turned and smiled up at me. “Just a little love potion, darling. An old family recipe.’
“I was dumbfounded to say the least. I reached into the can containing the kernels and drew out a handful. I looked them over closely, then slowly a light began to dawn.
“‘How long have you been feeding me this?’ I asked. She laughed. ‘Since the first time you slept with me. Also, I have been taking it. It works both ways.’
“My thoughts went back to those two nights in Managua. Was it possible? I took her by the shoulders and turned her around. ‘Were you feeding me this stuff just about the time I decided to go home for Christmas?’
“Again she laughed. ‘Yes, darling. I doubled your potion those last few days. She put her head on my shoulder; there were tears in her eyes. ‘I had to make sure you would return for me.’
“I had one more question. ‘And where do you get the stuff, here?’
“Her answer was. ‘Out in the green house. I have been growing it with the rest of the flowers. I brought many seeds with me.”
The two men examined the small kernels In their hands.
“Must be potent stuff.” Bill remarked.
“And she called the brew a love potion. Correct?” Joe asked.
Sam nodded, then slowly got to his feet. “Well boys,” he said, “now you have heard the rest of the story. So, judge me, as you may, but I would bet, that if either of you. had been in my place, you would have done the same thing”
Suddenly Laura was beside the old man. She took him by the arm and guided him toward the open door. “Time for your nap.” She told him. “You have had enough excitement for one day.” They disappeared into the house.
The two men exchanged glances.
“Quite a story!” Bill remarked.
Joe nodded “And quite a gal, that Laura. Boy, I could sure go for her!” He glanced down at the small kernels in his hand. “I think I will chop up some of these and try and figure a way to feed them to her. She is something!”
For Chapter One go to this link: