By Ted Dewey
Joe put away the vacuum cleaner and sat down on the couch. His chore was finished. Laura was out in the hothouse, making up some flower bouquets for the wedding chapel. They had phoned in the order.
“This life can be really beautiful,” Joe thought, “and this woman of mine is really something!”
It was all like a dream come true. Whether or not the LOVE POTION that both of them had been taking twice a day, had anything to do with it, he was not certain. All he knew was that he was madly in love with her, and nothing in the world could change that.
His mind drifted back to the woman he had married. Oh, she was pretty enough, and at times she could be real nice, but not very often!
She really liked to quarrel. She found fault with everything. She delighted in giving him hell for small things like leaving the lid off the toilet seat! She treated this, as a major crime!
She spent hours in the bath tub. Every day, filling it full of bubbly and just lying there! She couldn’t have been dirty, at least, not on the outside!
He had tried to keep up with her, as far as cleanliness was concerned. After a day’s work, he would come home and head for the bathroom.
For a while, he had got by with, this. But not for long!
The shower was just off the kitchen. As soon as she heard the sound of water running, she would turn on the minute minder on the stove. The second the water went off; she stopped the thing.
After a brisk rub-down, he would slip on a pair of shorts and come out. She would curl back her upper lip into a snarl, that would scare hell out of a Doberman Pincher! She would point at the minute minder and shriek. “Don’t tell me you got that filthy hide of yours clean in just ten minutes!”
Sometimes it would be fifteen or twenty, but the results were always the same. And this, all happened in the bath room!
When a woman is young and in her prime she is a beautiful creature. God had meant it to be that way Some of them keep right on being beatlful. Of course they fade and wrinkle, but down underneath, the beauty is still there.
Joe could see no way, that a woman with the disposition of his ex-wife, could retain any of her beauty. As the years passed she would become old, ugly, mean and nasty!
Then suddenly a pleasant thought entered his head. Maybe it was all for the best! Maybe now, he would appreciate this wonderful woman, „.Laura Adams
Bill drove into the driveway and parked: the pickup. He got out and walked up the steps to the back door. Joe was there to open it for him. “Come in Bill. How goes the battle? Get rid of all the tomatoes?”
“Sure, no trouble.” he reached in his pocket and drew out a hand full of crinkled bills and laid them on the table.
Laura came out of the living room into the kitchen. “I will fix you some dinner. I’ll bet you are starved.”
Bill shook his head. “Don’t do that. I got hungry, so I ate a bite uptown,” he grinned. “I stopped in and had a cold beer at Genie’s. We were both hungry, so I slipped out and got us both a hot sandwich.”
“Is that the pretty blonde’s name where we had that beer when we first got here?”
“That’s the one. Do you approve?”
Joe laughed “Naturally, brother dear. I think that is great. And now that you are home and can look after things here for awhile, we have a little job to do. Got to deliver some flowers to the wedding chapel. So if you will excuse us.”
“Go right ahead. And Laura. How about borrowing your kitchen while you are gone? Want to use your juicer and blender, for a little bit. I am invited to a party tonight and I am supposed to bring some fresh orange juice.”
“Sure; anytime You don’t need to ask!”
The couple walked outside and got into the car. Evidently the flowers were packed and ready to go. Joe started the motor and they took off.
“Sure make a lovely couple,” Bill murmered. “That girl is blooming like a rose ”
He had made plans of his own and didn’t waste any time. He headed for the hothouse and picked up several of those lumpy bulbs. Next, he picked a basket full of oranges from a tree that bore a fruit that was juicy and sweet. Then he headed for the kitchen.
He found a gallon jug and went to work. With the electric powered juicer going, it didn’t take long to fill it to the brim. He poured some of it into a glass and tasted it. “Great.” He muttered “Just great!”
He cleaned up the juicer and put it away. The next step, was the blender He plugged it in, set it on high then turned to the bulbs.
He ripped two off them apart and counted the kernels Twelve in each, twenty-four in all.
He did some fast figuring: eight pints to the gallon, a glass would hold about eight ounces – about sixteen glasses to the gallon.
Genie told him that she always drank a glass; of orange juice for breakfast as well as one with her lunch at noon.
Pop had said, “Two or three off these little kernels a day, and a woman will bloom like a rose. If you double the potion and she didn’t have a man, she would go looking for one.
Bill did some more fast figuring. This gallon would last her, eight days. That would be three kernels a day – a mild Potion
He rubbed the cover off another bulb for another twelve kernels. He put them in with the others. They didn’t seem to amount to that much.
Pop said this stuff had no bad affects and was not habit forming. He had better use enough of it to give it a good test. He reached for another bulb!
He put the lid on the blender and turned on the switch. In a few moments the bulbs were as fine as powder.
His next step was mixing the powder and the juice. He put the mixture in some big bowls and stirred with a spoon and then poured it in the blender. Minutes later, he poured it back into the jug. It was full to the top with a little bit left over. He wondered how it would taste. Well, there was only one way to find out!
He went over to the frig and popped a couple off ice cubes out of the tray. This would cool it down a bit. He rattled the mixture around for a moment then took a sip. “Not bad! Not bad at all. He took another taste. “In fact, it’s damn good!”
He set the glass down, cleaned up the mess and poured another helping into the glass. Then he filled the jug to the top with water’. The stuff was too sweet anyhow.
Bill had a date tonight with Genie. He would pick her up at seven O’clock. She lived in a small house across the river on the California side in the town of Winterhaven.
He had better take it easy, watch his step and not let himself get carried away. Once was enough living with a woman like the one he had taken for a wife.
She was very much like the sister Joe had married. Yes, she even growled when he left the toilet seat up. He couldn’t figure out why a little thing like this, would upset her so much.
And that snarl. The upper lip rolled up and back… and those terrible sounds that went with it.
Yes, she was a mean one alright. And to top everything off, she was a nocturnal! Would sleep all day and prowl around all night. She would never go to bed until the late late show was over on T.V. Then usually she turned on the short wave radio and listened to the truckers.
When she gets old she would be an old bat for sure. A ding bat!
When she was awake in the daytime there was always that cigarette in her mouth and a cup of coffee in her hand. No wonder she couldn’t sleep!
In the evening when he returned from work, he would open a bottle of beer and sit down for a moment. “You are a regular damn drunk!” she would yell.
Yes, she was; full off all kinds off nasty tricks. The last and latest was that snoring bit. When she would finally come to bed, she would lay there and cough for about an hour, a result of smoking too much. When sleep finally came, she would snore, and snore, and snore.
By this time, he would be wide: awake and couldn’t go back to sleep. He had tried rolling her over gently, to see if that would help. Usually, this backfired. She would be all elbows and claws and would scream, “That damn snoring of yours, keeps me awake! I can’t stand it!” Then she would get up and head for the couch.
Bill set down the empty glass and looked over at the full jug. He was still thirsty and got up and picked the thing up and put it in the frig. Better not drink any more, he thought. A good cold glass of water, would have to do for now.
Bill Bishop, parked the pickup in front of the twelve wide mobile home and got out. In his left hand was a beautiful bouquet of flowers that he had cut and wrapped in a damp piece of newspaper. In his right hand, was a gallon jug of orange juice. He glanced at the watch on his wrist. Seven O’clock; right on time.
Genie had the door open wide. “Come on in, Bill. What in the world have you got here??” Bill grinned and handed her the bouquet. “Flowers for a very beautiful lady.”
The girl un-wrapped the flowers and stared at them for a moment. Her eyes grew big and round. “Oh Bill, I have never seen anything so beautiful! Where in the world did you get them?”
“Cut them myself. Right out: of the hothouse.” He set the jug off juice on the table. “Also for the prettiest girl in the country, who told me she likes orange juice, I squeezed this out all by myself.”
“Oh Bill, you are a darling. I could kiss you.”
“Why don’t you?” He held out his arms.
The girl came into them and snuggled close. Her eyes were closed, her lips parted. The tantalizing smell off the perfume she was wearing, seemed to enhance her beauty. He drew the slender body close and kissed the soft red lips. She responded to every touch. Suddenly a warning signal flashed through his brain. Take it easy. Don’t get carried away.
He released the girl and smiled down at her. Her cheeks were flushed, her eyes bright and shining. His own blood felt like it was about to boil over.
He glanced at the gallon jug setting on the table. He had chewed up several of those little kernels today, plus a glass off the juice. Did that have anything to do with this sudden passionate feeling that he had suddenly acquired for this lovely creature?
His eyes moved back to the girl standing in front of him. The pretty, naturally blond hair parted in the middle, hung in shimmering waves. The sky-blue eyes were full off shining stars. From the top of her head to the tip of her shoes, she was a thing of beauty. Probably that stuff in the Jug, had nothing to do with his feelings toward her. Why let it spoil everything! Once more his strong arms encircled the slender waist and; drew her close. He kissed her gently and whispered.
“Darling you are the greatest. And I think I am falling in love with you.”
“And I feel the same way.”
“I feel like celebrating. Where shall we go tonight?” “I don’t care. Shall I mix us a drink and we will talk this over?”
She stepped back and picked up the flowers, “I must put these beautiful things in water.”
“Sounds like a winner.”
“So you just make yourself at home, and I will do just that.”
I have a bottle of Vodka and can stir up a couple off screwdrivers. How does that sound?”
“Great. I see you got a nice stereo and lots off records. Mind if I take a look?”
“Not a bit. If you find something you would like to hear, put it on.” She picked up the flowers and the juice then disappeared into the kitchen.
Bill was a great lover of music. So was Genie, it appeared. About a hundred’ albums off long playing records were in a metal rack. Right at the head off the list, was one of his favorite recording stars. Kenny Rogers. He put it on the turntable and adjusted the volume.
Hanging on the wall between the two speakers, was a framed diploma. Bill stepped up close and looked it over. It said Genie Louise King was now a Certified Public Accountant. Just under it was another. A license to practice in the state off California.
Genie came walking back in and placed the vase full of flowers on the table. “Got them in water now. Aren’t they beautiful?”
“They sure are. But not nearly as pretty as you.”
“Thanks, Bill. Now I will go fix the drinks.”
Bill set down on the couch and closed! his eyes. Kenny was now singing one of his old favorites. “The Gambler.”
Genie brought in two tall glasses filled with cracked ice, orange juice and vodka. She set them on the end table and sat down beside Bill.
He picked up the glass and stared at it for a moment. The bright red color was a dead! giveaway. It was the LOVE POTION!
OH well, he thought Another glass or so shouldn’t be too much. He would get this test over with. God hates a coward!
“Here’s to you, sweetheart.” he grinned.
“And the same to you! “
They clinked glasses and each took a swallow.
“I see you looking at my diploma and license on the wall. Were you suprised?”
“I guess so. Just a little.”
“Did you read the dates on them?”
“I didn’t look at the fine print.”
“I hope you approve. I am real proud of them. I just got the license a few days ago.”
“You must be a Californian.”
“Yes, I was born and raised in L.A. I went to college and took up bookkeeping. When I graduated I got a Job keeping books for a guy that called himself, The Crazy Trader. A used car dealer.”
“You worked for The Crazy Trader?”
“Yes, for about three years. I went to school nights, and worked days. Did you know him? You mentioned something the other night, about you and your brother being in the automobile business over there.”
Bill shook his head. “I have never met him personally, but I have heard about him.”
Genie smiled, “Nothing good, I would bet. He is as crooked as a snake I was glad to get out of there. I hope I didn’t get contaminated. But let’s talk about something else.”
“I like to talk about you. I am curious. Whatever brought you over here? Did you buy that tavern in Yuma?”
Genie took a drink from the tall glass, then set It down. “I am flattered that you are Interested in me, so I will tell you. Mother and dad, split up years ago. I don’t know where she is now. My dad, was a bartender. That is the only business he knew When I was twenty one, he sold out and moved to Yuma.
That was five years ago. He bought that tavern and ran it until he died. That was this last spring. I was the only heir.
Business was very slow at that time of year when all the Snow Birds; pull out.”
“And you have been running it since then?”
“Yes. And now that I have my license, and business in the tavern has picked up, I think I will sell the darn thing and go in business for myself. What do you think?”
Bill picked up the glass in front of him. “I think it is time for a drink.. Here’s to your success.”
Both glasses were raised. “Here’s to both of us!”
Genie sat her glass down and licked her lips. “Boy, that is sure good orange juice. A lot different than that canned or frozen junk you buy out of the stores.”
Bill took another sip and! nodded his head. “Sure Is good, alright. I made it from those little Keno oranges There Is a couple trees of them over there. They have a lot of seeds, but the juice is great . I threw away the seeds, then added some LOVE POTION for flavor.”
The” girl moved closer. “And what is this love potion?”
Bill slipped an arm around her and drew her close. “Darling, it is a flower that grows in the hothouse. It comes from Central America Legend has it that adding the root to food or drink, stimulates love and affection.”
“Oh Bill, you are so sweet. Bringing me flowers, and even some in the orange juice. How romantic!”
Both glasses were dry. “Would you care for another?” Genie asked. “Hadn’t better drink any more and drive. They are getting mighty tough, here In California.”
“I know.” “Would you like me to take you out to dinner? Or maybe to a club and dance a bit?”
The girl snuggled closer. “I guess I am not in a dancing mood, darling. And as far as something to eat, I can make some sandwiches right here. If we want to dance, we have music. We can take off our shoes and dance on the rug.”
Bill took the girl in his arms and kissed the red lips. Her slender white arms were wrapped around him, drawing him closer. Her voice was soft and low. “Oh Bill, I love you so much! I don’t know what happened, I guess you just swept me off my feet! Let’s not go anywhere!”
“If I drink anymore.” Bill whispered. “I will stay till morning.”
Her hot breath was in his ear. “Is that a promise?”
“I mean it.”
The girl broke away and picked up the two glasses. As she glided toward the kitchen, she turned her head. There was a big smile on her face. “Stay right there, I will be back in a flash!”