Truth Water Man

A speed-write written in twenty minutes. Nouns generated via this site: [link]

“No this is the real thing,” she says.

You live together in a small apartment where one of the bedrooms is technically the living room. You’ve put up a wall divider someone left on the street corner for garbage day so that you can pretend there’s some degree of separation, of privacy, from each other. There’s faded roses on both sides of it. You don’t have time to hear about the newest find at the local market the hedge covens have put together when you still need to make breakfast. Then you need to make time to clean your small apartment and somehow it always takes you the whole day.

Whatever she’s talking about is probably fraudulent anyway. A steal, as her mother was always fond of saying whenever she found a good deal in the papers. Except it was literally actual thievery. Those hedge witches were always, at most, fifty-fifty.

“It’s an elixir of truth,” she says, holding up a small vial strung through a fake silver chain. You know the silver’s not real because it’s not giving you a goddamn rash just by being in its proximity.

The vial’s a sample perfume bottle still smelling very strongly of chemicals—you think they were trying for something like a rose in which case they failed miserably. You wrinkle your nose and duck your head so she won’t see you covering up your nose with your fist.

“Please don’t drink that,” you tell her. You’ll be smelling that perfume on her breath for days and days no matter how much she brushes and swishes her mouth out with Listerine until her gums tingle.

She’s already uncorked it with her thumb. All you smell is stale perfume. You can’t even tell if it’s spelled water or just something from the tap.

“It’s a truth elixir,” she says. “What else am I supposed to do with it?”

“Give it to someone you want the truth from.”

She shakes her head, curls bouncing against her shoulders as her blue bow comes loose.You wish she’d forget about the elixir. “That’s not how it works. The witch explained it to me. You drink the elixir of truth so that you know the answer to life and the universe which is the truth of all things.”

“We already know that.” You bang a pot out of the cabinet and you bang it on the stove and then you bang two eggs together and get yolk and shell all over your hand. God damn it.

“It’s not forty-two!”

You scowl as you meticulously pick out the shattered shells and flick them in the sink. You should just leave them in there so it grits between her teeth.

“I’m ready,” she finally says, and before you can stop her, she’s drunk the whole thing down and you resign yourself to fake rose breath for at least a week.

She breathes deep like she’s running a race except she’s standing still.

Since you ran out of milk, you pour a huge dollop of ranch dressing into the eggs, whisk it with a fork, and then start scrambling them on high because you don’t have time to wait for them to cook properly. “You feel any different?”

“I don’t know,” she says. “But the witch told me it was like a gradual process.”

“Of course she did.”

When the eggs are done and you set it down in front of her, she pokes it with her fork. “I’ve never told you this,” she finally says. “But I’ve always fucking loved your eggs. And your coffee. And your face. And you.”

You blush. You’ve only been living together for two years as roommates thanks to an ad from the same paper the hedge coven use to set up their little market. “Just eat your eggs,” you mumble.

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