Sandro del Prete
The Bottle with a "Liquidity Problem"
During my youth, my family often spent the summer holidays with my aunt and grandmother in the canton of Ticino, in the Italian part of Switzeland. As on any farm, there was always a lot of work to be done, turning my summer holidays into a virtual summer work camp. Various tasks were assigned upon on arrival, so that work began forthwith.
On sunny day, it was harder for me to turn the hay to go for a refreshing swim at the nearby lake. To be excused from my daily chores, I complained that I was not feeling well and that I plagued with recurring tummy aches. Back then, people relied more on nature's remedies than on modern medicines to relieve common ailments. "No problem," my aunt said, quicly coming to the rescue. "I've got something that'll chase those tummy aches right back to the city. Go to bed now, and I'll bring you something that'll make you feel better in no time!"
So I obeyed and trudged on up to my room. She came upstairs, armed with a mysterious bottle, a spoon, and a piece of chocolate. At first, she only showed me the chocolate, taunting me with a likelihood of a delicious treat: "You'll get this of you're good boy; now, open your mouth and swallow what's in the spoon." To be on the safe side I inquired, "What's in the spoon, Auntie?" She replied, "It's called castor oil: a wonder remedy for everything, but it doesn't smell good. So pinch your nose and swallow it down quickly." I swallowed the spoon full of oil, but that disgusting stuff stuck to the roof of my mouth for the longest time, and even the chocolate could not appease the nausea the overcame me. My aunt smiled lovingly, covered me with a blanket, and showed sympathy upon seeing my contorted expression. On her way out, she showed me the cutest little glass chamber pot, mentioning that I would surely need it within the next few hours. I whined, "A chamber of pot? I'm not a baby!" and gasped for breath. "I know," she replied, "but you probably won't have time to go downstairs to the toilet. You'll be in a hurry, you'll see!"
I won't describe all the feeling that overwhelmed me during the next few hours, except to say that it felt like all the devils of purgatory were in my intestines and that the apocalypse wasn't far behind. Now I really did have a tummy problem, and what was worse: I was no longer master of the situation. Angrily, I stared at the bottle. I reasoned that the remainder of its contents was going to end up in the chamber pot anyway, so why take the tortuous route through my intestines? Why not simply send it there directly? No sooner had the thought crossed my mind than it become a fact! I emptied what remained of the contents into the chamber pot and placed the now empty bottle among the night crockery. Later, when my worried aunt looked in on me, she saw the terrible mess ... but before she could say anything, I explained, "You see Auntie, even the bottle couldn't hold back this horrible poison. It also needed the pot..."