A Secret Grave 13: Natural Talent

.

Margot stood in front of the group, tears sliding down her cheeks, swaying slightly as she shifted from foot to foot in an effort to stay calm. I had never seen her like this. She’d always been the voice of reason, the sensible, big-brained, cute and delightful chubby person. “When my sister was born, I hated her and did things to make her life uncomfortable so maybe she’d go away, go back where she came from. That didn’t happen of course, so as she got older and people kept fussing over how cute she was, I contemplated getting rid of her permanently by maybe putting a pillow over her head or drowning her in the kiddie pool. I was about five at the time. She was two. One day when we were in the pool I pushed her under the water and held her down. I seriously don’t think I would’ve gone through with it, but I’ll never know because my Uncle Barry came along just then and I let her go.” She drew in a deep breath and wiped at her tears with the back of her hand. “Here’s the thing. Because of that incident I never allowed myself to do what made me happiest, which was sing. I’m going to do that for you now.” She took another deep breath, stood a little taller, and opened her mouth. Out came “Amazing Grace” in the sweetest, purest voice I’d ever heard. The room went dead quiet and remained quiet for a few seconds after she finished. Then we went wild with applause. “Wow,” said Betsy. “Was that because of the tea? Because I have to tell you, I don’t think I can top that.”

.

PS Margot Singing

Margot

.

But top it she did, though in a very different way, by getting into a debate with another participant, a light-skinned black man named Horace who was a member of the city council, on the validity of standardized testing in schools. Every person in the room was affected by the tea Victor had poured for them. For me it seemed to sharpen my brain so that thoughts moved more quickly and efficiently and ideas were hatched in nanoseconds. I began to dwell on how wonderful it would be to have a phone that functioned as a computer (this was two years before the iPhone) and then I resolved a puzzle that had been baffling me for weeks about a story I was writing. Next to me, Alicia’s face was a mask of concentration as she made detailed notes and drew diagrams in the margins of what looked like a dense legal contract. Her fiancé, Emil, disappeared with his computer to a back porch where there was an old upright piano. Another man, Lloyd somebody-or-other, announced in a gruff voice that he had business to attend to, grabbed his belongings and left the building. Victor ran after him, looking upset. Through the window we could see the two men arguing as Lloyd unlocked his car, slid behind the wheel and drove off, leaving Victor with a scrim of dust on his white suit. When he returned to the room he said, “I’m very sorry about that. I don’t consider it safe for people to leave the property the first time they’ve had an infusion of my tea.”

“But it’s not a drug, is it?” said Betsy.

“No, not exactly. More of an enhancement.”

“Whatever it is, I’d like more of it,” said Alicia.

Victor studied her for a moment. Then he poured her another cup.

.

_DSC7092

Alicia

.

To be continued…

.

Cover Photo ~ https://unsplash.com/collections/145103/computers-phones-and-tech?photo=36nRvt6EP2I

.

.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *