Angela rolled her eyes and floated out onto the balcony. She took her time getting back to Fatima’s place, long enough for a load of laundry to finish. The lights were on by the time Angela made her way up the stairs.
Fatima answered the door wearing shorts and a white t-shirt that said “GAINZ” in big black letters. She crossed her muscular arms and smiled faintly.
“You’re back,” she said. “Does this mean you’ve actually dug up some dirt on Tony?”
Angela was tempted to tell Fatima everything, but instead she shook her head.
“No, you were right, I was on the wrong track,” she said. “So I decided to try something different. Instead of trying to figure out the cause of your problem, I started looking for solutions. Which brings me to this.”
She held up the thermos. Fatima eyed it warily.
“What’s that?” she asked.
“It’s… sort of a herbal remedy,” Angela replied. “The guy who made it claims it’ll fix whatever it is that’s wrong with you.”
“And you believed him?” Fatima asked.
“I have my doubts,” she said, “but I figure it’s worth a shot, right? What’s the worst that could happen?”
“Well, the last time I tried something like this, I had to get my stomach pumped,” Fatima said. “So there’s that.”
“Trust me, this is different,” Angela said. “And if it doesn’t work, I’ll call Carey and tell him I failed. How does that sound?”
“Fine, if that’s what it’ll take,” she said. She grabbed the thermos and unscrewed the cap. “God, it smells like armpit.”
“Yeah,” Angela said.
Fatima took a deep breath, closed her eyes, and tossed back the potion in one long swig. She dropped the thermos and doubled over coughing, and for a moment Angela thought all Tony’s work was going to end up puked on the floor. But eventually Fatima pulled herself together and stood up straight.
“How do you feel?” Angela asked.