Part III

For days, the town was exactly the same. The salesman was long gone, and the townspeople were even more downcast than before; not only were they cheated out of their money, but their hopes had been crushed. Everyone bought and drank from the mysterious potion, some uncertain about how it would work, but wanting to eliminate crime if it meant that each person had to drink the foul liquid. Everyone except Hugh, who still thought the whole idea was bogus. He refused to drink the strange fluid no matter how much the other people would beg, pester or flat out threaten him. “It’s your entire fault we’re all still miserable.” “You have to drink it or the crime will get even worse!”

Exactly six days after the town drank the salesman’s creation, the symptoms began. The people began to seem spaced out all the time, running into things and being unable to focus and read words. The uncanny part was that everyone seemed to be happy.

“Oh, Hugh, dear, you simply must drink from your bottle. It’s true, you won’t have to worry about what’s going on around you, and you’ll never have to trouble yourself with looking at this dreadful town,” Hugh’s mother told him one night. Hugh noticed that no one ever looked him in the eyes anymore, they seemed to stare right past him, as his mother was doing right now. Could it be that they still don’t accept me because I haven’t drank from the bottle? Do they refuse to look at me because they truly believe all the crime in this town will magically disappear once everyone has a sip? Hugh sat down at their kitchen table and stared at his own bottle as if trying to get the answers out of it. What are you? He sighed finally, resigned.

“Okay, Mother. If you say so.” He pulled out the cork and emptied all of the brown jug’s contents in one long gulp. It had a foul and bitter taste, as if the drink itself was spoiled. Hugh still didn’t believe for a second that everyone’s lives would be perfect. It’s probably just in everyone else’s head. He shook his head. This town is crazy. In our efforts to expunge the town of crime, we were robbed of our own sensibility. Yawning loudly, Hugh rested his head against the cold, hard table and wondered to himself what he truly just drank before drifting off to sleep.

The End

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