Love Potion #6 & 7/8ths

Part One

"Are you listening to me?" the young woman said to her male companion, now seated opposite her on the sofa. She waited a beat, then said, "Well?"

The young man never looked up; he was too absorbed in the book he was reading. The young woman slowly closed her eyes, trying to remain patient, then tried again.

"Hello, hello…Earth to Mark, Earth to Mark, come in Mark…"

No result.

"So do I set the sofa on fire or what?"


Finally, the young woman got up and stood right in front of Mark, bending over and getting right in his face.

"HEY!" she said, loudly enough to make Mark finally notice her. He jumped, in fact.

"Are you even listening to me?" the young woman asked a second time.

"Of course I am, sweetie; I was listening to every word you said. Go on… Um…what was that you were saying about your sister?"

The young woman closed her eyes and sighed. "That was ten minutes ago," she said, as she sat back down on the couch. "You never listen to me. You never pay any attention to me at all anymore. Not unless I’m standing bare-assed naked in front of you. Sometimes not even then."

"Hey, now…" Mark said. "Tina, honey; come on…that’s not true."

"It is true. You’re more interested in those books of yours than you are in me. I mean, what does it take to get through to you anymore?"

"Tina, baby, I am interested in you, of course I am, you know that," Mark said, leaning over to her. "It’s just that—well, you know, I’ve got so many other things going on. You take this one book I’ve been reading, for example. It’s just so interesting," he said, holding it up, as though to spark her interest in it. "Really, you ought to read it, it’s fascinating. All about the paranormal and psychic phenomena and hauntings; all kinds of neat stuff. And in this one chapter…Oooh! In this one chapter, it’s all about this poltergeist, see, and…" his voice drifted off, as his attention once again was drawn into the pages of his book.

Tina turned away from him and shook her head sadly. He’s hopeless, she thought. He just doesn’t get it. She got up from the couch and walked into the bedroom, closing the door behind her.

She flopped down on the bed, and let out a long sigh. She couldn’t understand it. When she and Mark first started going together, they had so much fun. There was an electricity between them, an excitement of both mind and body for the both of them. Each one somehow felt more alive when in the presence of the other.

But now…after they’d been living together for a few months…that excitement, that electricity was just gone. Tina didn’t know where it went, but it was definitely gone. Now it was just plain dullsville between them. What did they talk about? The laundry. The electric bill. The weekly grocery list. And that was about it. And that was when they talked at all, which seemed to happen less and less frequently these days.

Tina tried to engage Mark’s interest in new and different things; she tried to share new and exciting ideas with him, but he just never seemed to care anymore. He never paid any attention to her at all anymore. All he ever seemed to want to do was just sit around and read his books on the paranormal. Tina couldn’t understand it: How such an intelligent guy could waste his time on something so foolish. And yet he seemed to be obsessed with it to the exclusion of everything else, including her. Sometimes Tina wondered if she had to be a ghost herself in order to get Mark’s attention anymore.

Tina got up from the bed and walked over to the full-length mirror on the bathroom door. She looked herself all up and down in the mirror. Maybe it’s me, she thought. Okay, okay…so maybe I’ve put on a few pounds; so what? I’m going to take them off one of these days…soon…

She turned sideways and looked at herself. She patted her tummy and her hips. Jeez, she thought; I really am putting on weight. God, no wonder Mark’s not interested in me anymore. If I were him, I wouldn’t be interested in me either…

In spite of herself, Tina laughed at the logical absurdity of her last thought. Her laughter was short-lived, however, as she continued to look at herself in the mirror, continuing to find imperfections that she felt sure must be the reason for Mark’s indifference to her.

She turned away and walked back to the bed, flopping down on it again. I need a change, she thought; we both need a change, something new to get this relationship going again, before it dry-rots away to nothing.

Tina lay there, gloomily mulling over the situation. She knew that, if anything was going to be done to re-energize this relationship, she would have to do it. Left to his own devices, Mark would simply ignore the problem until it was too late.

Well, she was damned if she would ignore it, Tina thought. If there was any way she could get Mark’s attention, then she would do it. Just get him to notice her again, that was the important thing. And then, all the rest would follow…

Tomorrow, she thought. Tomorrow I’ll go and do a complete makeover. New clothes, new hair, the works. Maybe buy some new lingerie… Mark always did like it when I’d come home with a sexy new outfit. And I haven’t bought one in a long time. Yeah…yeah, that’s what I’ll do, she decided.

She yawned and drifted off to sleep in a quiet, mid-afternoon cat-nap.



Tina spent the better part of the following day walking up and down the large shopping complex. After hours of shopping (and walking), she sat down on a bench to rest her feet, dropping her shopping bags on the floor.

Well, she thought, the hard part’s over. I’ve got some new outfits here that Mark is bound to notice. She looked down into her shopping bags and smiled. She had gone to several different stores and had picked out no fewer than five new lingerie outfits, in a variety of different colors and styles. One of these is bound to do the job, she thought.

Then she thought about the combined price of her various purchases. It was not cheap, she realized; she had spent a tidy little sum of money, more than she should have, really. And now… Hmmm, she thought. Did she really want to spend more money on getting a makeover too? And then hair and nails on top of that?

As Tina thought about it, she began to feel guilty about the money she spent and began finding reasons not to spend any more money on a makeover. It would cost too much, it was an extravagance she couldn’t afford, she didn’t really need it, it probably wouldn’t do her any good anyway, maybe she was just wasting her time with all this stuff in the first place, maybe she should take this lingerie back right now and get her money back, etc., etc.

Her gloomy thoughts were interrupted by a friendly voice nearby:

"Hey, is this a private party or can anyone join in?"

Tina looked up to see an old friend of hers.

"Well hey, Mia. How ya doin’?"

"All right. And yourself?"

"Oh, can’t complain."

Tina’s friend sat down beside her on the bench. The two old friends exchanged pleasantries, and soon began conversing with one another in the free and easy way that old friends do.

It didn’t take long, however for Mia to notice Tina’s mood. She sensed her friend’s troubles and, with a little prompting, soon got Tina to confide in her.

"I just don’t understand it, Mia," Tina said, shaking her head. "We used to have something so special before, but now things have just gotten so stale."

Mia nodded and listened patiently. Tina went on.

"I mean, I bought all this stuff," indicating her shopping bags. "But—I don’t know, maybe I’m just wasting my time."

"No, no," Mia said. "You’ve got the right idea. Something new & exciting is just what you need." She paused for a moment, then a curious smile flashed across her face. "And as a matter of fact," she said with a Cheshire Cat grin. "I’ve got just the thing for you. It’s absolutely, positively guaranteed to work for you."

"What is it?"

Mia looked around, left and right, as if to see if anyone were close by, listening. Then she said, quietly, "I can’t tell you here. But if you come over to my place, I’ll show you."



A short while later, Tina waited in Mia’s living room, while Mia rummaged around in some boxes she had stored in a corner of her bedroom.

"So what is this ‘absolutely guaranteed’ thing you told me about?" Tina asked.

"It’s just what the doctor ordered," Mia’s voice called out from the bedroom. "As I said, it is absolutely positively guaranteed to work for you & do what you want it to do, money-back guarantee. And it’s very exclusive, too; it’s not something I give to just anybody, only extra-special friends of mine. So don’t breathe a word about it to anyone! Promise!"

"Okay, I promise. Now what is it?"

"It’s this!" Mia said, smiling as she walked into the living room, carrying something in her hand. She walked over to Tina and held out a small glass bottle. "My own creation!" she said proudly. "It’s called ‘Shades of Love.’"

Tina’s face fell. She looked at her friend in disbelief. "Perfume?" she said, incredulously. "Mia, are you kidding me? You made this big a deal and drag me all the way over here just for a stupid bottle of perfume?"

"But this isn’t just any old perfume, this is special! This is my own creation!"

"Yeah, yeah… I figured… What’s so special about it?"

"Well, it…" Mia hesitated, smiling nervously. Then she said, "Don’t repeat a word of this to anyone, but it—" Her voice now dropped to a whisper. "It’s a love potion!" She caught the doubtful look on Tina’s face and hastened to reassure her. "No wait, I’m serious! It has magical properties! It has the ability to cloud men’s minds and make them see what they most desire and what you want them to desire. It’ll make any man you want fall madly in love with you. Not only that," she giggled. "It might even have an effect on you too; it’s been known to do that."

Tina struggled to keep a straight face. She liked Mia, but she had to admit that her friend was a bit on the kooky side. A fleeting thought entered her mind that maybe Mia and Mark ought to get together: they were about on the same level of kookiness. Then she remembered why she was here.

Tina stared at the tiny bottle of purple liquid and thought it over. She finally decided that Mia meant well, and besides she didn’t want to hurt her friend’s feelings. So she feigned interest in bottle of perfume.

"Okay." she said at last. "How much do you want for the stuff?"

"Forty dollars."

"Forty dollars?!?" Tina gasped. "For this little rinky-dink bottle you want forty dollars? You’re nuts!"

"Tina!" Mia exclaimed. "It’s money-back guaranteed, remember? Why don’t you just try it and see if it doesn’t work."

Tina made no move, so Mia tried again, moving the tiny bottle closer to Tina, as though imploring her to take it. "Look, will you just try it, for heaven’s sake? What have you got to lose?"

Forty dollars, that’s what, Tina thought. Nevertheless, she hemmed and hawed for awhile and finally gave in. She reached out to take the tiny bottle. She removed the stopper and smelled the bottle. She then looked her friend straight in the eye.

"I don’t smell anything special about it." she said evenly. "It smells just like any ordinary cheap perfume to me."

"That’s because you have to apply it to get the full effect."

Tina started to take a dab of the perfume, but Mia stopped her.

"No, no. Not now. When you’re ready to use it, if you know what I mean, but not before."

"Oh. All right." Tina replaced the stopper.

"You see, the perfume acts upon the subconscious mind," Mia explained. "It makes people see you as you want them to see you. Therefore, when you’re ready to use the perfume, you must first visualize," Mia made circular motions with her hands around her own head, suggesting some arcane mental process involved in using the perfume. "You must visualize and envision yourself in your mind’s eye as being beautiful, and then this will create the necessary mental aura which others will then see. People will then see you as you envision yourself. Do you understand?"

"Yes, I understand." Tina replied. Crackers, she thought. Completely crackers, that’s what her friend was. However, Tina found that she just didn’t have the heart to refuse, so very reluctantly, she finally agreed to take the bottle of perfume. She reached into her purse to pay her friend, but Mia stopped her.

"Oh, there’s no need for that now. You can pay me later. After you see how well it works!"

"All right," Tina nodded. That sounded reasonable.



A short time later, Tina was back home, standing in front of the full-length mirror, wearing one of the new lingerie outfits she had just purchased. She was not pleased with what she saw.

Her plan was to make this evening a special, romantic evening, the kind which had been so lacking in her and Mark’s relationship in recent months. Toward that end, she slipped into one of her new outfits. But as she looked at her reflection, she didn’t see her own shapely, voluptuous figure; instead, she only saw the same imperfections she had seen earlier, imperfections that, she felt sure, were slowly but steadily driving Mark away from her these past weeks.

"God, this is hopeless," she said in disgust. "I don’t look sexy in this outfit; I look like the Pillsbury doughboy in a cotton shift. This is hopeless."

She glanced up at the clock. Mark would be home very soon now. What should she do? Should she forge ahead anyway and try to make the best of it? Or should she change out of the outfit into something sensible and just forget all about this nonsense? Tina silently debated, then her eyes fell upon the tiny bottle she had bought from her friend, now sitting on the dresser.

Well, she thought. There’s one thing I haven’t tried yet. After all, what have I got to lose? She reached for the bottle and took off the stopper. She touched a fingertip to the bottle and gently dabbed the perfume on herself in strategic places. As the aroma hit her, she began to feel a bit light-headed and woozy. **Whew** she thought. Maybe there’s something to this subconscious stuff after all. Maybe I’d better do as Mia said and try to do that "visualization" jazz.

Tina turned back to face the mirror. She tried to imagine herself as being a sexy, glamorous fashion model or movie star. But no matter how hard she tried, she still only saw her own seemingly plain reflection.

"God, I’m just wasting my time," she said aloud. "I mean, look at me! I’m nothing, just a big nothing, a zero. No wonder Mark doesn’t notice me any more! I’m so dull and unattractive I might as well be invisible for all he---"

Tina’s voice trailed off. She blinked her eyes several times and leaned closer to the mirror. She couldn’t believe it…but somehow…she was disappearing! Right into thin air! She slowly faded away, like a thin fog or mist being blown away by a breeze. She grew fainter and fainter by the moment. In seconds, she couldn’t see herself at all; all she could see was the lingerie outfit she wore, just standing there, empty. And where her head, her arms and her shoulders should be, there was nothing but empty space. She raised her arms and waved them around. In the mirror, only the silky, filmy sleeves of the empty lingerie waved around. Tina raised the hem of the outfit to her chest, to try to take a look at her legs and tummy. But all she saw was a pair of panties, floating in the void beneath the filmy nightgown. Tina couldn’t see any part of herself anywhere.

She raised her hands to her face, but she couldn’t see them. She clapped her hands, rubbed them together, even rubbed them against her face. Her hands were there, but she could not see them. Her face was there, she could feel that, but there was no visible sign of it in the mirror. And when she moved, the seemingly empty lingerie outfit in the mirror also made the exact same movements.

The reality of the situation finally began to penetrate Tina’s consciousness: Somehow, she had turned invisible.

She felt faint. She staggered over to the bed, afraid she would collapse at any moment. With a trembling, unseen hand, she reached for the phone and tried to dial her friend Mia’s number. She had great difficulty, as she couldn’t tell which button her finger was on, and she kept pressing the wrong one. Finally, she had dialed correctly, and waited impatiently while the phone rang.

"Mia…Mia…if you don’t answer that phone, I’ll kill you!" Tina quietly muttered. "Or maybe I’ll kill you anyway! How do I get into these messes anyway? How do I—Hello? Hello, Mia? Yeah, it’s me! Listen, what’s the big idea? What’s--Don’t give me that! You know damned well what I’m talking about! That stuff you gave me, that’s what! Yeah, well it just so happens it made me disappear, that’s what! That’s what I said! Disappear! Invisible, Claude Rains, now-you-see-me-now-you-don’t, you got it? You get the picture? Mia, this isn’t funny! Well, I don’t know what you’re laughing at! This is serious! Don’t tell me to calm down dammit, I AM calmed down! Mia, stop laughing! Well, it sounds to me like you’re laughing!"

Mia struggled to regain her composure. "I’m sorry Tina; I’m not laughing at you, really. It’s just that—well, I really didn’t know the perfume would work that way! Honest, I’m just as surprised as you are! No, really! I just—it never occurred to me that it could be used for that purpose; I never would have thought it would work that well in any case. Now look, it’s not that serious. No really, it’s not. Tina, will you just settle down for a minute? Will you stop screaming and just listen to me for a minute? It’s not permanent, all right? The effects of the perfume will wash off when you take a bath or a shower, okay? Now calm down, all right?"

Mia’s soothing words gradually took their effect, and little by little, Tina began to settle down. When the initial shock of her situation began to wear off and her heart rate and respiration returned to (almost) normal, a sense of wonderment in Tina took the place of her earlier panic.

Still holding the phone to her ear, she picked up a hand mirror in her unseen hand and held it before her. She watched in amazement at the way the mirror just seemed to float at the end of the empty sleeve of her negligee. She let out a tiny gasp when she looked at the reflection in the mirror of the empty negligee. "God," she said. "I—I look like a ghost! I can’t believe it! How—how is this possible?"

"I told you," Mia said. "The perfume is magic!"

"But how come it made me invisible?"

"Well, I told you to visualize when you apply it. What the heck were you thinking of when you put it on?"

Tina recalled her thoughts at the time, how she called herself a "nothing" and saying she "might as well be invisible." She didn’t want to admit to Mia how careless she’d been in using the perfume, so she evaded the question by asking another. "How—how long is this gonna last?" she asked.

"Until you shower off or bathe. Until then, it will last indefinitely. It won’t wear off on its own."

"Wow…" Tina whispered as she ran her unseen hand underneath the flimsy filmy fabric of her gown, marveling at how the fabric assumed the shape of her hand, even though there was clearly no hand underneath. "But how—how do I know this isn’t just my own imagination or a hallucination or something? How do I know you didn’t slip me some drug or something and I’m just imagining this whole thing? How do I know I’m really invisible, invisible to other people?"

"Well," Mia said. "Why don’t you try it out on Mark? He should be home pretty soon, shouldn’t he? Why don’t you try it out on him and see if he can…see you?"

Tina was struck silent. Slowly, a broad smile grew over her unseen features. "Yeah…" she said, her voice low and breathy. "Yeah, Mark…! If he could see me now…!"  Tina began to laugh. "Thanks, Mia! I’ll call you back later!" She hung up the phone.