Jeremy Ruten

Some Potions

Okay, so let’s just, let’s just chew on some dots for a while. Some yellows, some whites. Okay: all set.

Great, I’m in the subway tunnel. I just like walking it. When the train comes, you press against the curvy wall as it passes. Maybe high five some of the passengers. Ahh, there it is. My favourite shop: Pain Poisson. Only accessible by walking the tunnel. It’s that exclusive. It’s mostly Halloween costumes in there, but once you push through all those, you come to a small rack of swirly potions. Yes, I’ll take one of each please, yes I’ll have a receipt for these, no, no I don’t want to become a member. Oh and triple bag it willya?

I’m like the little kid wearing his pompom toque and his stubby brown mittens pulling his wagon full of bread. The strangers applaud; it is whole wheat, sliced, bagged & clipped, like the pros do it. Everyone wants a loaf. But no. They’re for the animals in the forest. Yeah, this kid’s in league with the animals. Yeah, try stealing a bread. Hyenas will come out of hiding and tell you to put it back, and if you don’t, they’ll totally punch you out and take you to animal prison, which is just the big cave where they store all their board games.

You know what? I'm not like that kid at all. I’ve just got a bunch of potions around my belt, unable to try them out till I get into the open. Oh, well here we are. A lovely park. There’s a swingset. It’s over top of a fire pit. I love this crazy city!

Alright, here goes the first one. It’s called “Colonel Mustard Can’t Do a Kickflip, and Neither Can You”. I glug it down. For a while, my limbs turn into various pastas. But then it all settles and everything is quite normal. I try doing a kickflip but I can’t. But then, I realize I couldn’t do one before the potion either. So I don’t know if it worked or not. Pff, useless.

Second one is called “Saturn’s Oasis”. The contents look sketchy. I mean there’s like tiny shaggy horses drinking tiny potions of their own in there. But I drink it anyway… There’s a rumble coming from the distance. Dust kicking up—like a stampede. But it turns out to be just a bunch of tourists. I had mistaken their camera snaps for swords glinting in the sun! But there’s thousands of them all packed together, so I’m slightly scared. But when they come up to me, they just offer me all these sandwiches. Everyone’s holding up their sandwich in the air. I’ve never had so much choice. All these different sandwiches… One guy’s holding up a taco. He’s not even Mexican. When I start reaching for the taco, the people around him start beating him up. I feel bad, but an open-face, diagonally-cut, salami & mozzarella cheese makes me feel much better. There’s even a big white doily knitted into it.

Third potion. “Eye Poison”. Okay. I won’t be drinking that. I could never shuffle the cards without eyes to see. I could make a snowman, but I wouldn’t be able to see him. I’d probably bump into him, knock off his carrot. Okay, so I’ll just throw that potion into the lake. Not to throw it away. It’s to make all the fish blind! Yeah, can’t wait to watch all those fish collisions in the water! I mean I’ve never witnessed two fish bumping into each other before. They don’t even have a word for that, I hear. They also don’t have a word for “umbrella”, or “fancy footwork”, or “key to the city”. And that’s why I hated being a fish back in the day.

Alright, potion number four! “Maestro Moonboots”. I gulp it down and look downwards and sure enough, there’s the moonboots! I can jump all the way up to the next balcony. I can scale the whole building with these, balcony to balcony! On the roof, my tongue goes metal and I stick it out and it’s now a trombone. When I play a tune, all these animals start popping out the end of the trombone, already sitting in black chairs playing various instruments. Real professional like. It kind of freaks me out, so I throw my moonboots at them and take the elevator back to street-level.

Last potion. It’s simply called “Shampoo Remix”. I decide to put this one in my hair. Okay, now everything’s perfect. The sky is all sparkly. Clouds are blooming. There’s cars with manual transmissions. People are playing Battleship with their kids. Toasters are burning bagels on one side only. Children are yelling their names into tunnels. People are growing dill in their gardens. Anthills are being stepped on continuously. Artists are all busy trying to install software that does their taxes. Maybe the sun is hiding behind the moon again. More candles are flickering than ever. Everyone’s adopting a household pet. The coach is climbing all the way over the backstop. The cannibals are now disciplined vegetarians. Cats are meowing, except for the ones that are sleeping or dead or who just have a really hoarse voice this fine old day. All the students are sharpening their pencils at both ends. Pancake breakfasts are being served. Ship captains just can’t stop sniffing that sea air. The kindergarteners come to school in hardhats and overalls, equipped with hammers and nails, and just fix up the place! All the work of the fifth potion? Not really, no. The fifth potion simply cleanses your veins & arteries of all other potions you’ve consumed. It’s great. Real life is pretty great.