By Ted Dewey
Another week passed and Sam Bishop died. The body put to rest in the local cemetery. Bill, Joe and Laura, were seated in the front room of the House. The lawyer, Paul Levie, was just leaving. He had read the will, then explained. “Sam didn’t want to complicate things by dying. That is why he sold this place to miss Laura Adams, for the sum of one dollar and other considerations. He also gave her a bill of sale for the furniture and the pickup and several other items .” He had grinned at Bill and Joe. “I don’t quite understand this, but he says you will understand; You two boys, get all the seeds and bulbs of the. plant, which he calls, THE LOVE POTION. I guess he considered these items quite valuable.”
“What do we owe you?” Bill asked.
“Not a damn thing! Sam took care of that already.” Levie picked up his hat and opened the door. “Good day, folks. And good luck to you!”
After the door closed behind him, Bill broke the silence. “Well brother Joe, it looks like it’s about time for us to move on. Gather up our stuff and head for home.”
“Yes, I guess we must As bad as I hate to.. .”
Laura’s eyes were bright. Tears made them glisten. “Don’t go just yet, please! I couldn’t stand to be alone. Stay for a few days, at least.” Bill turned to his brother. “What do you think? old buddy!”
Joe nodded. “I think we should. We also, have to make plans. We got to decide? what we are going to do with all that stuff in the hot-house. We can’t just run off and leave it here.”
“Please, Bill!” Laura’s voice was pleading.
“O.K. We will stay for a few more days. But at least one of us; had better get our butt over to El Monte, pretty soon. After all, we got a business over there At least I hope we? still do.”
Joe nodded. “We will call Cliff again this afternoon. Cliff Harris. He is our manager over there, Laura. If he says everything is alright, we will both stay awhile. If he needs anything, Bill can run over and help him out. Right, Bill?”
“I guess so.”
“Then It’s all settled. So why don’t we quit grieving and get busy. Bill, you go out and pick the tomatoes and take them to market. Laura and I will clean up this place and get dinner.”
Bill stood staring at his brother-. “Boy, you are sure getting bossy!”
Joe grinned, “Someone has got to take charge around here. Get going, brother dear!”
Bill, picked the tomatoes and loaded them in the pickup. It would soon be Thanksgiving, and the weather was; still quite warm. The mercury climbed to the upper eighties in the daytime, then dropping down into the sixties at night. This was perfect weather, for the thousands of winter visitors that come to spend the winter. Snow-Birds they were called and were mostly elderly retired people who filled the many trailer parks.
A good racket to get into Bill thought If he and Joe had been a little more diversified, and had gone into several different ventures, they would of been a lot better off, but now they had a chance to go into something different.
Yes quite different!
The old man had willed them, two or three tons of those bulbs piled in the storage room and enough seed, to plant acres of the stuff.
Bill wanted to believe the old man’s story, and he did1 believe it, at least to a certain point, but at times, there was that little bit of doubt that kept creeping Into his mind.
The old man had been terribly lonesome, down there in the jungle searching for gold. This pretty young girl had turned on all her charm. Was it her, or this LOVE POTION, that had affected his mind? Or could it be a combination of both? Surely, there was a way to find out.
Then suddenly an idea come to him. It was plain to see that brother Joe and Laura, were having an affair. Why not experiment on them? The bulb was harmless? and had no bad after affects. He could spike the coffee and the orange juice, then he could take Joe back to El Monte and keep an eye on him.
There was a cute little dish over there, that Joe had been courting. He would see that they got together again and watch the results. If Joe couldn’t stay away from Laura for at least a few days, he would be convinced that the stuff was really working!
It would be sort of a dirty trick, pulling something like-that on his dear brother, but what the hell! It would all be for a good cause. Before they invested the last of their fortune on this venture, they had better make sure the stuff worked!
Then another thought come to his mind It was plain to see that Joe was fast falling in love. Was Laura feeding him the Potion? Maybe he was under the influence of it already
Maybe he had better just keep a sharp eye open and make sure! He sure didn’t want to do anything to hurt his dear brother!
Then another Idea struck him. Why experiment on Joe? Why not take the stuff himself? There was that cute little blond bar maid at the tavern on fourth? avenue, that he had been seeing quite a lot of lately. She was sexy, desirable and available.
Bill walked back to the store room, opened the door and turned on the light. He walked over to the pile of sacks and opened one of them. He took out several of the bulbs and laid them down on the table. Each one, he took separately and rubbed it briskly between his palms, then blew away the cover.
He found” a small paper sack in the cupboard, then poured the small kernels inside All but two! These he popped into his mouth and began to chew.
Minutes later he climbed into the pickup and started the motor. He would take the tomatoes to market, then head for the tavern.
He would just play it by ear. But somehow or another, he would get that pretty little gal to swallow a couple of these! Then, the great experiment would be on! In a couple of weeks’ time, he should have a lot of the answers!
Joe stood watching through the slightly parted curtains as brother Bill pulled out of the driveway, headed for town.
Laura was sitting on the couch, a compact in one hand, a tube of lipstick In the other. She turned her head and smiled at Joe. “Is he gone?”
“Yes, on his way to the market.” he walked over to the couch and looked down at Laura. “Feeling better now?”
Laura got to her feet and slipped both arms around Joe’s neck. “Much better.” she whispered. “Now that I know you are going to stay awhile.”
“You couldn’t run me off with a club, sweetie.” Joe put both arms around her and drew her close. “You know that I love you.”
“And I love you so much.” The red lips were parted. “Kiss me darling!”
Joe pulled her warm body close. Her lingering kiss was soft and sweet. Suddenly he released her. He sat down on the couch and pulled her down beside him. There was a serious look on his face. “Sweetie.” he whispered “I do love you. And this is not the LOVE POTION: talking. This is me.”
Laura snuggled dose to him. Her warm breath was in his ear.
“I know, Joe darling. And this is also me. And let me tell you something else. I was in love with you, long before we started running this test.”
“And I was also in love with you.”
“If I hadn’t been in love with you darling, I sure wouldn’t of volunteered to run this experiment. You know that, don’t you?”
“Yes, sweetie, And it works both ways. I was crazy about you, the minute I set eyes on you. You made my blood boil!”
“Oh Joe, I am so glad. I have never loved anyone like this; before! And I never dreamed that sex could be so wonderful!” Her deft fingers un-buttoned the front of his shirt. A warm hand stole inside.
“You little devil.” Joe whispered.
“Don’t you like me to feel you?”
“I love it! You know that!
“I want yon Joe, I need you!”
“Then what are we waiting for!” He jumped to his feet, the girl was in his arms, he carried her to her bedroom and lay her gently down. He kissed the soft neck and whispered in her ear. “The last one undressed, is a rotten egg!”
Her white teeth, bit him on the ear. “It’s a deal!”
A shower of buttons filled the air.
Bill delivered the tomatoes to several fruit stands and several grocery stores. When he was finished, he glanced at his watch. One thirty.
The Happy Hour at Genie’s Tavern, was from two to five. They had drinks for about half price, and the place was always busy during this period. If he went right over there now, very likely it would be deserted He would get a chance to talk to this pretty little blond, without a lot of people butting in.
He was getting rather hungry, and should eat. But what the Hell That could wait. He reached! into the sack on the seat beside him and popped another kernel into his mouth.
A lot like popcorn He thought There didn’t seem to be a place to quit!
Besides, he thought, that brother Joe was having a ball. Probably right now, he was getting a little! Damn his hide, anyhow!
He reached into the sack and drew out a hand full of the little kernels. For a second, he eyed them, “Better not,” he muttered. “Take it easy.”
He dropped all but two, back into the sack. These, he tossed into his mouth. “A couple more shouldn’t hurt!” He switched on the motor and took off.
Minutes later, he parked the pickup) and crawled out. The parking lot was empty. Very likely so was the place inside. He hoped that Genie was not sore at him He had not been here, or called for several days. He had been very busy. He hoped she would understand.
They had got along great and had a good time There had been no Hanky Panky, and he had been a perfect gentleman… too much of a gentleman!
But now, somehow or other, things looked different! That damn Joe, having all the fun and him doing all the work.
He opened the door and stepped inside. The pretty blond was behind the plank. Bill selected a stool and sat down. He put on his best smile. “Hi, Sweetie. How about a bottle of Bud?”
“Hello Bill. Gosh, it is good to see you.” She set the beer in front of him, along with a frosted glass. “I thought maybe you had left the country.”
“Without telling you goodbye? You know better than that!”
“But you haven’t been in or called.”
“I had a good reason, darling! You remember me telling you that my father…”
“Oh Bill, don’t tell me.”
“We buried him yesterday.”
“Oh, I am so sorry! And here I was, thinking bad things about you!”
“Well, you can quit that now. From here on out, you are going to see a lot of me!”
“I am glad.”
Bill stood up and leaned over the bar. “Come here, sweetie, closer.”
Genie stepped up close, her eyes were big and round. Bills arms reached out and went around her. He pulled her close. His voice was soft and low. “I love you, Genie.”
“Bill, have you been drinking?”
“Nary a drop. Do you think I would have to be drunk to fall in love with you?”
“I hope not, but. ..”
“No butts. Kiss me darling!
“Genie closed her eyes and moved closer. Her red lips parted. Bill put his heart and soul in that kiss. Finally, out of breath he moved back. His face was flushed.
Genie moved forward, “More, Bill, more!”
Bill kissed her gently. “That’s all you get for now, sweetheart. But look out for tonight!”
“I will be ready. Oh Bill, I am so glad! And how could I help but love you. You are so sweet!” Bill sat down on the stool and glanced at his watch. “In about ten minutes, the crowd would start coming in. By the way, have you had lunch yet?”
“Not yet. I have a sandwich and a glass of orange juice, in the refrigerator. I was just getting ready to eat a bite.”
Bill got to his feet and headed for the door. A brainstorm had just entered his head. He turned and smiled1 at the girl behind the bar. “I am as hungry as a bear. Don’t eat a cold sandwich. I will be right back with a couple of big Mac’s and some hot coffee.” He opened the door and stepped outside.
It was only a few blocks to the drive-in window. In a few minutes he was there and placed his order. It would take a little while.
But the time was not going to waste! There was a box of Kleenex on the seat beside him. He removed a couple of the sheets and lay them down beside him. He took his knife from his pocket and went to work. A half dozen or so of these kernels cut up fine, would never be noticed. Besides, he had a big head start on that sweet young thing and he didn’t think that would be fair to her. Besides, time was wasting.