Love Potion #9

Shortly before I retired, Groat stumbled into my cube asking for help.

Yeah, I actually worked with a guy named Groat. It was his last name but we used it as his first – because, well, he was a strange duck

As a forensic scientist, Groat was a star, a real supernova.

But socially…. he was more of a black hole.

Which was hard on him.

It is difficult to be so good at one thing and so terribly bad at another, but he kept at it and not a week went by that he didn’t come up with some new scheme to crack the social code.

So he visited me often – but this time when he came into my cube, he looked like he had just stuffed a wild tiger into a cage full of cranky lions – single-handed.

“I created a love potion,” he said, picking at a bandage, “but I can’t get it to work.”

“That much is obvious.” I noted.

I had no doubt what he said was true because Groat is a genius, clever enough to concoct a love potion and he is also the mos honest person you could ever meet.  If he says he did something, he did it.

“I tried it on Sally Driscoll,” he said.

I groaned.  In many ways, Sally had it worse than Groat.

Oh, she was popular – mostly because of her stunning looks.  But Sally was, how can I say it, cursed by beauty.   A person like Sally made you thank God every day for being average – because though beauty is something we all yearn for, too much of it is a heavy burden – and the more you have, the more misery weighs upon you.

Sally’s current manifestation of misery was a guy named Ralph McFadden.

Now…. what can I say about Ralph?

That he was a creep?

No….  if Ralph could work his way up to being a creep, he would be a much better person.

“Groat, you are a nice guy but face it, Sally doesn’t go for nice guys.”

“That’s why I made the potion,” he said.

“Ah yes, the potion. The one that doesn’t work.”

“But it has to,” he said.

And there was the riddle. While Groat knows everything there is to know about human biology, he knows nothing of the human soul.

“So, how is it supposed to work?” I asked.

“Pheromones,” he said.

“Like scent?”


“What scent in particular?”

“Ralph McFadden’s,” he said, looking a little sheepish, “I derived it from his gym towel.”


“But my theory was based on established science and I had the protocols down cold.”

“Let me guess,” I said, “you figured the bad-boy scent would arouse a primordial instinct in Sally?”


“What happened.”

“She attacked me, ” he moaned.

“Again, that much is obvious.”

“She kicked me. She scratched me. She bit me.  She punched me. It was horrible. I can’t understand it. The pheromones should work for me the same way they do for Ralph.”

“Uh, Groat…”


“Have you considered that Sally is not attracted to Ralph at all? That she totally hates him?”


“Sally is gorgeous,” I said, “She can give a guy whiplash just by walking down the hall…but let me ask you this, who is the one guy who never drools over her?”

“Ralph?” he said.

“That’s right,” I said, “Ralph has a sixth sense for people’s insecurities and Sally is so gorgeous that it upsets her when a guy, even a guy like Ralph, does not find her attractive and that his why she is obsessed with him.”

“So if I could develop a potion to make her feel secure…”

“Give it up,” I told him.  “The secret to love is not a potion, or something you wear, the secret is finding someone you need, not someone you want. Find a person who is good for you.”

“You are very wise,” Groat said.

“Yeah,” I joked, “and the closer I come to getting out of here, the wiser I feel.”

“You still drinking that tea I gave you?”

“You bet!  The stuff is fabulous” I said…. then I caught myself.  “GROAT! What was in that tea?”

“Wisdom,” he said, quite matter-of-factly.

“How can you distill……”

“It is rather simple,” he said, “I saw how philosophical you get after your second pitcher of beer ans I  figured if I could eliminate the deleterious effects of alcohol yet maintain the same level of dopamine…. that you could help me out with my love-life before you retired.”

“You have got to be kidding.”

“No, actually not at all…”

Author: Almost Iowa

36 thoughts on “Love Potion #9”

  1. A groat over here in Limeyville is a 13th century coin worth 4 English pennies.
    I’m not sure how many you would need nowadays to be assured of success with the opposite species though. At least 3, I should imagine depending on the quality of the target.

  2. Poor Groat! I’ve known people like him, although they didn’t make potions (that I know of, anyway. I’m going to have to try to remember if I ever drank anything that was offered by one of them.) I know it’s not particularly moral, but I can’t help but wish that he could invent a common sense potion, and stick it in the water supply. For the entire world.

  3. Wow! I never thought about marketing a magic potion. Since I’m both beautiful and wise, I’m going to start cooking something up asap to get on the market. I don’t do anything to induce sweat so I’ll have to rely on plucked chin hairs for the base ingredient.

    1. You are indeed both beautiful and wise… but then why ask for more? I’ll have to ask Groat about the plucked chin hairs, I certainly hope that is not an ingredient. It was’t on the label…. you bet I checked. 🙂

    1. I talked to him about a reader attraction potion – but I didn’t like his answer. It was all the usual stuff, a whiff of puppies, a dose of teens doing stupid dangerous things – and of course a heaping helping of the Kardashians.

  4. Groat couldn’t have named it Love Potion #16, or Love Portion #4, could he? No, he had to choose Love Potion #9. Now I’ve been hearing that song since early this morning. It’s not the worst thing in the world, and besides — who doesn’t love a happy, bouncy little number now and then? Well, except for the cop at 34th and Vine.

    1. Magical potions are not a thing of the past, anyone who watches the evening news can tell you that. At least half of the network news is devoted to magical potions and most notably their deleterious effects.

        1. It could, if not for what is known as “captured regulation’. It is a term used for regulation written to protect the monopoly of an industry rather than the consumer, in this case, the Beer & Beverage Distributors lobbying groups.

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