If you have a problem, then I have the solution.
“Do you have an addiction, Mr. Weikfield? ‘Cause if you do, then I can cure it for you. Cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, hell, even women; if you are addicted, Mr. Weikfield, then I can cure you.”
Weikfield was far from asocial, and a man of his affluence could rarely afford to be. He entertained often, more often than not, for business rather than pleasure, and though he enjoyed the company of women, and an occasional cigarette or drink, he considered it below him to seek to satisfy his basic urges outside of matrimony. Addiction was not a problem for Weikfield.
“If you are not here for a cure, Mr. Weikfield, then perhaps you?d like an experience you will never forget. I have potions – wonderful, wonderful potions; potions that take you into a different world – highs that you would have never experienced before, even with drugs or chemicals that most people take; highs that you will never forget and wish that they never end, but, ” He added, with a twinkle in his eye,” potions that you will never get addicted to.”
Weikfield grimaced. The man was, quite obviously, a poor judge of character.
Wu smiled a knowing smile. He had done this several times? from politicians and businessmen to beggars and thieves, everyone, at some time or the other, found that they were in situations where they needed help in handling people or situations. And, for a price, he was always more than happy to help.
“Not here for a cure, nor a high, Mr. Weikfield, then perhaps you are here for a solution. Everybody has problems these days, the times are such. The poor have problems of poverty and deprivation, while the rich… the rich have rich people problems. I have solutions for problems – one little drop and the problem is solved. No amount of testing will detect my potion. Modern Science has not developed enough to challenge ancient Chinese alchemy. And the results are guaranteed. One drop and whoever drinks it, in coffee or whisky, will never see the next day.
Weikfield secretly shuddered at the thought of such a dastardly premise. He had half a mind to walk out of that worn out shack, but a thought held him back – this man might be the only one who could help him.
Weikfield braced himself and stood up. His arms left his knees and embraced behind his back.
He began: ” Mr. Wu, I came to you not out of need, but desire. I do not suffer from any disease or addiction that I would want a cure. I do not seek pleasures that are induced by the intake of chemicals that you so enthusiastically peddle, for I do not desire them; nor do I wish any harm to any creature on this gods earth that I would wish to poison it. No, I do not come to you of a need. I come to you, however of a desire – one that I have held within me from the very moment that I tasted success.
I am a successful man, Mr. Wu, and success, though, has come early to me in life, it has not come cheap. I have laboured for 15 years and rebuilt the empire that my father had created, from the ruins that he had left me with. But along-with success, one finds that one also acquires bonds and ties – bonds and ties that bind and restrain. Relationships often become a burden, and one finds that one cannot break away from them without causing harm. I don’t wish to harm anyone, Mr. Wu, if I did, I would have bought one of your cheap poisons. No, if I did want to poison, I wouldn’t have gone through the tedious process of locating you – here one day, gone the next. It is not poison that I seek.
I seek freedom, the kind that I enjoyed as a child – when little things would give me so much joy and happiness; when I would wake up and look forward, without worry or concern, or thought, to the day that was before me; when the past was immaterial and the future was not doubted. I seek innocence, Mr. Wu, but I do not seek my childhood. I don’t want a fountain of youth, nor do I want the elixir of life.
Someone once said – to enjoy something, you have to first be freed from its grasp. Yes, I seek freedom.
I am a wealthy man Mr. Wu, a very wealthy man, and I ask of you something that you did not mention in your sales pitch. Mind you, I am willing to pay a handsome amount for it. Name your price, Mr. Wu, and you shall receive it. I know you have it, but will you sell it?”
Though his face gave away no emotion, the old man was perturbed – his eyes gave him away. This was most unexpected. Avoiding Weikfield’s eyes, his face turning away slightly, he replied in low, nasal drone: ” I don’t know what you are talking about.”
“I know you have it, Mr. Wu. And I’m willing to pay you $40,000 for it”
“$60,000,” Wu replied.
Weikfield nodded as he opened a large leather bag that lay by his side, counted and gave Wu the money.
Wu carefully counted the money. He bent down and from underneath the table, he took out a tattered old medicine bag full of vials. From this, he took out a vial containing a clear transparent liquid and gave it to Weikfield.
“This is what you may call the Potion of Providence,” he said.” Make a wish before you drink it. Believe in the wish, and firmly believe in the power of the potion, and your wish will be granted. You must drink the entire potion for this to happen.”
As Wu watched, Weikfield, with hands trembling, took the vial. He removed the cork and held the vial between his palms. He shut his eyes and with enormous sincerity in his voice, spoke: ” I wish to be free – freed from all bonds, from relationships, from worries… I wish to be free.?
After an intense search effort, the police eventually located the body of James Weikfield, businessman and philanthropist, in an abandoned cabin by the railroad. He was said to have died of natural causes.