Jacksnake Ichor

“Welcome to Talmeri’s Teas and Tisanes! How can I serve you?” I greet our newest customer, an older woman demonstrably not suffering from lack of wealth.

“Well,” she says, eyeing me skeptically after I’ve handed her a menu, “let’s see what you have to offer.”

Lorwyn has come into the front for something, so I bow. “Please, take your time perusing our selection. I’ll be back in just a moment.”

“Wait,” she says, holding up a hand.

And then says nothing more.

“Yes?” I prompt.

Nothing.

Ah. I see.

I bow, and hold the position for perhaps two minutes before she snaps the menu closed.

“I want to try one of your red teas,” she says. “What would you recommend?”

“Well, our classic red tea is one of the most popular—”

“No. I’ve had that one, and, no. It’s very flat. That is your best?”

Flat? What on earth does flat mean?

“It’s one of our most popular,” I repeat. “I don’t know that—”

“Do you like it?”

“It’s not my favorite of our red teas, but yes.”

“Well! Well,” she says with finality.

I smile.

“As I was saying, everyone’s tastes are different, and I’m sure that even if ours aren’t a match I can find something that will suit you,” I say. “Can you point me to any teas or tisanes you’ve had in the past here you enjoyed?”

“Enjoyed?” She scoffs.

“That you considered better than other alternatives,” I clarify, still smiling.

I hear Lorwyn’s quiet huff of laughter.

The old woman manages to name several of our light green and white tea blends that have a sharp or spicy tang to them.

“Hmm. Our red teas tend to be more robust than it sounds like you prefer. Perhaps instead you’d like to try one of our new light white blends?”

“I told you I want red, and I like my tea to be full-bodied, thank you. What is this light nonsense?”

She does not like full-bodied teas. She likes teas that barely have any flavor of their own except for whatever experiment Lorwyn infuses them with.

My face may crack if I smile any harder. “Forgive me; nothing more than a term we use amongst the staff to help us keep them straight. You know, I think I have just the thing. Why don’t I bring you a sample, and you can let me know how close to the mark I am?”

She grudgingly agrees, as though she has not been generously offering her judgment on every other comment I’ve made already.

As I pass Lorwyn by the door, she asks quietly, “What are you thinking?”

“Jacksnake ichor,” I answer, not slowing on my route to the brewing station while Lorwyn chokes behind me.

Several minutes later, the old woman has decided this red tea I’ve mangled to be as bland as possible is perhaps adequate to her tastes.

Several minutes after that, I have successfully sold her our largest tin of the awful stuff, and she leaves as smug as can be.

My smile is, now, completely genuine.

“You,” Lorwyn gasps between spasms of laughter, “can be nastier than I realized.”


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