Snakes and Pills

177 - whistle

Lewis' eyes danced across his grandfather's face, like they were looking for something. They settled upon the old man's bushy, untamed white eyebrows. He stared at them, before finally blurting out, "Grampa, how come your eyes are so hairy?"

Lewis' grandfather looked surprised by his grandson's honest question. "What do you mean, my eyes are hairy?"

"The eyebrows, I guess. They're puffy, like big clouds!" the tyke responded excitedly.

His grandfather's face quite obviously flushed with embarrassment for a moment, before he regained his composure. "I see. I guess I never noticed before. Well, let me go about fixing that, then."

Lewis' grandfather put his fingers to his temples and closed his eyes. He appeared to be uttering some voiceless incantations with his mouth, and a light blue haze formed around his eyebrows. A quick poof of light then followed, and like that, his eyebrows were perfectly normal and in proportion.

Lewis clapped his hands happily. He always enjoyed seeing his grandfather performing magic tricks. "Yay! Grampa, you fixed them!" he exclaimed.

His grandfather nodded contently, but Lewis was not finished yet. "Now, can you fix your nose?"

Reflexively, his grandfather threw a hand up to cover his schnoz. Feeling it under his fingers, he insecurely asked, "There's something wrong with my nose?"

"Oh, yeah!" Lewis answered with enthusiasm, not knowing how each innocent and honest word flowing out of his mouth was a dagger in his superficial grandfather's heart. "It's all big and long. And it has that yucky bump on it!"

Lewis' grandfather at least knew what he needed to remedy. Once again, he took his casting pose and summoned another spell. A flash of light around his nose soon followed, and he had a new nose that even the best rhinoplasty could not provide.

The child once again cheered on his grandfather's transformation. The old man smiled again. "Not too shabby now, is it?" he asked.

"No, it looks great now, Grampa. Too bad it doesn't fit with the rest of your face, though. Your new nose's skin is so smooth and pretty, but everything else is all old and wrinkly," Lewis cheerfully chuckled. "Can you fix the rest of your face?"

The boy had simply gone too far this time. His grandfather's emotions shot past embarrassment and turned to rage. "How about I fix YOUR face?!" he angrily suggested.

Lewis hardly had time to realize he had angered his grandfather. The man was already busy with another incantation. This time, no puffs of smoke or flashes of light appeared near his face. The only flash of light was the one that covered Lewis' body, and when it had gone, so had he.

His grandfather smiled happily at his sudden solitude, though it was soon interrupted by the meddling of his wife, who burst into the room. "What was all that commotion I heard?" she asked. After glancing around, she added, "And where's Lewis?"

He shrugged in apathy. "He insulted my appearance," his sheepish answer began.

"So you sent him to the Netherworld? Your own grandson?!" his wife said with matriarchal outrage. "Bring him back this instant!"

"Relax, he's fine. I'm sure of it," he offered.

"Now," she firmly repeated.

He cast another spell, and in another poof of smoke and light, Lewis was back, looking happier than ever. "Are you okay?" his doting grandmother asked, voice full of worry.

"Yes! What fun!" the lad nodded.

"Thank heavens," she said, her attention turning back to her husband. "All this over your looks. It's time to accept the fact that you're just getting old."

Lewis' grandfather nodded, powerless. She was right, but it was still a tough pill to swallow.


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