“Heeeeey what’s in this?” I asked, as my head spun with a pleasant buzz.
“Oh, just herbs and roots,” answered Papa Etienne.
A tingling sensation prickled its way from the back of my neck and crawled down my spine, numbing it with its warmth. From the mirror hanging behind the bar, I could see my pupils had dilated so wide that my eyes looked utterly black. Whatever Etienne had given me had definitely been worth the nauseating flavor.
“Listen my friend. I need you to do something for me,” said Etienne.
He leaned in close and whispered in my ear, but the words came out jumbled. It was like having double vision, but with my ears instead of my eyes. I could only make out a few stray words: hardly enough to understand the message.
Without wanting to, my body shifted into a standing position. That was my first hint that something odd was happening to me. The next was when I finally realized something: the bartender hadn’t stopped polishing the same glass since I’d arrived. Through my blurring vision, I peered at his reflection. His pupils were like mine, and his facial expression was strangely blank. I wanted to say something, but my mouth wouldn’t open. I tried to move my arm, but it wouldn’t budge. My body no longer obeyed me.
Papa Etienne leapt energetically over the bar and landed inches from me, his snake’s head close enough for its forked tongue to kiss my cheek. Looking me in the eyes, Etienne reached into his coat and pulled out an object out of view. I felt him placing it in my hands. The object was cold, cylindrical, grainy, and had a bit of weight to it. I could only speculate as to its nature, because I was unable to drop my gaze to see what it was.