At the San Francisco Square you came upon a little table displayed with bottles of herbs, spiders, octopus and excrement from an animal. The man showed you every bottle with a creature inside, his encrusted, dark and sweaty face close to yours, eyes swimming. He showed you yellow salt-like stones, rubbed them on your temples, for bad air, for headaches, black undulating hairy forms, alcohol preserved armadillo feces, for bad influences. He sifted plant liquids from used coke bottles through his fingers, nails embedded with dirt, into your palms. One of the liquids drew you in, a deep lemony earthy smell. How much? Treinta dolares, he said. You shook your head, no, walked away. The man scared you. On a bench in the Parque de Calderon, the light and colors seemed unusually bright. Smelling the undercurrents of your palms you wished you had bought the bottle of lemony liquid. The next day you went back. He was not there, but his table and bottles were. You reached out to one of the bottles when you heard his voice. His black hair was neatly parted, he was smiling. He grabbed several bottles and mixed them as fast as he could without taking his eyes off you. Again, he strained liquid through fingers, told you to rub it all over your head, your neck, your body. He pulled a big wad of money out of his breast pocket and sprayed the bills, put them to his nose. Es bueno por dinero, he grinned, said, I am a brujo, a sorcerer, my name is Milton. You told him your name was Magdalena, he had you write it down. Slowly he read your name, M-a-g-d-a-l-e-n-a, as if ~ you had been newly discovered. Silent, you paid Milton $25 for the bottle of plant liquid.
And does it work, this plant liquid?