Eugene never liked chemistry a lot.
While it was probable that chemistry probably didn’t like him a lot either, that was none of his concern. But the recipe called for a teaspoon of “the tears of your enemies”, whatever that was supposed to mean.
“What if it’s tear, like tearing paper,” Anita offered, “Not like teardrop? I mean, it could probably work just well.”
Eugene gave her a cold look. “Yes,” he said, “And what, pray tell, is a teaspoon of tear-as-in-tearing-paper?”
Anita sighed and sat down.
In retrospect, she should have stopped him from buying the tome at all. The gypsy shop looked dodgy to begin with – but the woman with the multicolored dress inside was one hell of a saleswoman. Before Anita realized what was happening, Eugene was already sold to the idea of a potion that will bring him victory in all his endeavors.
“If this is about your finals,” she had said, “I maintain that you should just sit down and study. You know, like the rest of us.”
He didn’t listen. He never did.
The other ingredients were easy to find: hair from a brown cat, a small pearl, mud from the battleground, a drop of blood… The last bit was where they got stuck. A little Google search made things further complicated when they found out that there were different types of tears for different types of emotions – and it wasn’t in the poetic way. Tears of joy and tears of grief literally had different chemical makeups.
They had argued back and forth about what kind of tears should an enemy shed; and after ruling out onion tears, joyful tears, and tears of humiliation, they finally agreed that the “tears of my enemy” should be tears of pain. A swift kick to the groin or a really hot chili would do.
“But who is my enemy?” Eugene piped up. “Does it have to be like, a sworn archnemesis, or something? Does he need to have tried to kill me? Or hate me, at least? What if I see him as an enemy, but he doesn’t feel the same way? Is he still my enemy?”
“Best to be safe on that one,” Anita said. “Would you happen to have any sworn archnemeses waiting around? Preferably within an hour’s drive and not too powerful or vengeful?”
“Nuts,” Eugene folded his arms. “Why does this have to be so difficult?”
“More difficult than just studying?”
She sighed again. With the finals coming up in less than a week, you’d imagine that a reasonable person would put these silly things away and start being pragmatic. Here he was, lost in his fantasy, and he made fun of her for liking The Lord of the Rings.
The smack on the nose came hard and sudden. Lost in her pondering, Anita didn’t see Eugene walk around the table to where she sat, and now her nose was hot on the inside – it was going to bleed, for sure; and her vision was blurring up. She bent over, soundless more from shock than anything else.
“Hold that. Hold that,” Eugene’s voice came, and instead of an apology, something cold and metallic touched her face.
“Oh, you piece of shit,” she spat as he carried the teaspoon of her tears away, then mixing it in with the other ingredients. If directed hate was what qualified one as an enemy, he had just earned himself one, all right.
God, she hoped he failed.