published in Healthy or Else and Other Stories

T
he old woman stood in the courtroom turning the summons over in her hand. She read the words ordering her to accuse the old man of smoking or “you will be whipped in the street.” She thought of the old man and the golden-brown herbs he grew in their garden. She did not know they were not ordinary tobacco plants. She thought of them as magical herbs. When the old man smoked the herbs he made love with the power of a man of sixty. She had heard that women valued that in a lover. She did not know. The old man was only a year older than she was. They had grown up near each other and had been together since they were young. He was the only man she had ever slept with, and she was the only woman he had ever slept with.
      Oh, well. Maybe it won’t hurt that much, she thought, and looked into the street and saw that a crowd was gathering, and felt humiliated.
      “It is time for you to turn in this smoker.” The judge said.
      “I can not do it.” She replied.
      “Then the law must be carried out.”
      The old woman looked down at the summons and read again the words saying “or you will be whipped in the street,” and thought: Oh, well. Maybe it won’t hurt that much. She looked outside, the crowd was larger now and more people were joining it. She turned to the judge and said, “How can you ask me to accuse the man I have lived with for 65 years?”
      “The law is the law.” The judge said curtly.
      The old woman looked at the crowd in the street, and said, “I think I would rather die.”
      “Suit yourself,” the judge said and, without changing his expression, pulled out his gun and shot her right there in the courtroom.
      When the old man heard what had happened his first thought was to go and kill the judge. But that would surely be the end of his life, and he knew the old woman would not want that. So he did the only thing he could do, he tore the golden-brown herbs out of the garden and shredded them, all but the last leaf. He placed it in a little wooden box he had made for the old woman when they were both young.
      The old man withered and within a year he was dead. Everyone was sad, for he was very popular. His neighbor carried the little wooden box to the courthouse. He did not want to, but he felt obligated to fulfill the old man’s dying request. He set the box in front of the judge and told him the old man had sent it to him, and that it was cursed.
      The judge threw back his head and laughed, for he did not believe in such things. He reached for the box to throw it out and the lid opened. When he saw the words written inside he started to tremble and shake.
      As soon as he woke up the next morning the judge felt something growing inside him, and knew he was changed. He was never able to have sex with a woman after that. The women in town said it was a shame, for he was a relatively young man, in his early 50’s, they guessed.
      Years later the judge died after having lived a natural span of years. The undertaker told everyone in town that when he was preparing the body for burial he had seen a strange flowering on the judge’s penis, and on it were written the last words the old woman had said, as she laying dying on the courtroom floor: “Die you prick.”

© 2010 Allan B. Regier

 


Comments

12/08/2010 16:43

Thank you for posting . please do more good article.i like it so much .I will always follow it.

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