“You startled me!” the old woman gasped. The young woman did not look apologetic in the slightest. She waited while the old woman pulled down the metal shutter and secured it with a padlock. It occurred to her that she could have offered to help but decided against it, choosing instead to remain aloof and businesslike.
The old woman straightened as much as her humpback would allow.
“What can I do for you, dearie?” Her face creased with a smile. Her ancient eyes glinted like wet pebbles catching sunlight.
“I want a refund,” the young woman said, keeping her lips tight. She pulled a padded envelope from her bag. “It doesn’t work.”
The old woman glanced at the packet and shook her head.
“No refunds. You read the terms and conditions when you placed the order. You mustn’t have followed the instructions properly.”
“I did!” the young woman protested, her voice cracking. “All that stuff about opening it at midnight and chanting to the full moon. I did all of that; God knows what the neighbours thought. And I waited and it didn’t work.”
The old woman shuffled away from her lock-up, keen to end the interview. The young woman followed.
“Look, if not my money back how about a replacement?”
The old woman kept walking but the persistent young woman kept following.
“You must have more of this stuff,” she nodded back at the lock-up. “Don’t make me get trading standards onto you.”
The old woman stopped. She beckoned for the padded envelope.
“It looks tampered with. Damaged,” she examined it from all sides.
“It arrived like that,” the young woman shrugged. “There was some seepage.”
“Ah,” the old woman nodded, “that’s the problem. You didn’t use enough.”
She hobbled back to the lock-up and fumbled with her keys. This time, the young woman stooped to help her arthritic fingers with the padlock. Moments later, the young girl was heading for home with a brand new phial of love potion in her bag.
Following her and closing in with every step was a confused and broken-hearted postman.