“Could it stop all the crime in our town?” one man yelled out. The salesman thought for a moment, his top hat bobbing to and fro, and he weighed the idea in his mind. Finally:
“If everyone in town took the medicine, then without a doubt, there would be absolutely no crime.” The crowd roared with questions, suddenly intrigued by the man’s product. “How much is it?!” “How does it work?!” The salesman had a huge grin on his face knowing his work was done, and put out his hands in a calming gesture. ‘Please, please, settle down. If you want to know how it works, well,” the man winked, “you’ll have to just try it for yourself. For just one guinea, everyone here can have their own bottle! I have plenty for everyone!” A line immediately began forming, as the man handed out brown, translucent bottles of liquid. Hugh’s mother leaned on her cane and sighed.
“Not having any worry, any problems… that sounds nice.” Hugh looked uncertainly into his knapsack, counting through their shillings.
“I think we’d have just enough to make a guinea, but, Mother…” he looked down at her gazing longingly at the people already drinking from the bottles. “That’s almost all our money for something that sounds too good to be true.”
“Oh, but think of it Hugh! Never having to be troubled by all the suffering in the world. Just being happy. Of course there’s no way to ascertain the potion’s results, but what if it worked? What if it worked, and we foolishly passed the opportunity to buy it? We would miss out on the attainment of inner-peace, and doesn’t everyone want that?” Hugh took in what his mother had said, surprised by her sudden outburst. Sighing, he told her to wait where she was, and headed toward the stand. Much of the crowd had already dispersed, carrying their bottles with excitement, the rest of the townspeople standing around with skepticism at what the man was selling. Hugh dropped his knapsack on a makeshift crate counter and carefully counted out his shillings.
“One bottle please,” he said to the salesman. The man deftly counted the money and handed him a bottle.
“Oh, it’s not for me. It’s for my mom.” The salesman frowned. Glancing around, he leaned in and whispered to Hugh:
“Look, I know these are pretty expensive. I’m going to be frank with you: They aren’t worth nearly as much as I’m selling them for. You look like a pretty jaded guy. Exhausted, fed-up with this town and its crime. I’ll throw in another bottle, on the house. You need it.” Hugh took the two bottles and began to walk away.
“Thanks. I guess.” When he reached his mother, her eye’s lit up with delight. Her shaky hands uncorked it and she took a long drink, grimacing at the flavor.
“Do you feel any different?” Hugh asked. His mother shook her head.
“Well, we should give it some time, shouldn’t we? Let’s go home now, dear.”