It was early morning. Magic Dave and Not Magic Yet George were busy cleaning up the bar ready for another day of fun, frolics and the dispensing of drinks, salty snacks and sensational advice.
"So tell me it one more time," said George to his mentor. "When people come to us with a problem, we give them The Elixir, which helps them to stop thinking, is that right?"
"Yes, George," answered Magic Dave. "You do not need much. One small measure is enough for even the stoutest of fellows."
"But why would we want someone to stop thinking? Surely if someone has a problem, they want to be able to think more clearly, not stop thinking." George's brow furrowed and his eyebrows moved closer together as he asked the question.
"Is that so?" Magic Dave asked rhetorically. "Where do you think their problem arose in the first place?"
"Well, it depends. All kinds of places. Each person's problem is different so I can't really say." George dodged Dave's question.
"Have you ever read Hamlet?" Dave asked.
"Did you say read? As in books? They invented television, film and computer games years ago. Who has time for reading?"
Magic Dave let out a little sigh and then returned to his questioning. "OK," he said. "Have you ever seen Hamlet? Mel Gibson was in it. To be or not to be. Slings and arrows. Ring any bells? Incidentally, did you know that Shakespeare used to frequent the Old Travellers' Inn, the proprietor of which was none other than Harold the Magic Barman, the co-founder of the Wise and Honourable Order of Magic Barmen, a fellow of which you are now striving to become?"
"No kidding!!" George exclaimed. Then after a long pause: "Sorry, who used to drink at the Old Travellers'?"
Magic Dave let out a slightly bigger sigh. "Shakespeare! The most famous writer the English language has ever known!"
Not Magic Yet George raised his eyebrows, turned down the corners of his mouth and raised his shoulders slightly. "Writer, you say? Oh, well, I won't have heard of him then, because I always get up to leave the cinema as soon as the credits start to come up. It ain't just me. Everyone does it. Except old people. They just sit there sometimes. Not sure why. Maybe they're having a think about knitting."
Magic Dave rolled his eyes and continued. "In the play written by William Shakespeare in about 1600, the main character Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, speaks the immortal words 'there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so'."
"Sixteen hundred!" said George with incredulity. "Did they really have writing back then?" George said. This time he was pulling Dave's leg a little.
"Remind me where I got you from, will you, George?" Dave did not wait for an answer, but carried on with his explanation of The Elixir's purpose. "The vast majority of the problems that people come to you with will have been created within their own minds. They engage in thought patterns that have become so habitual that the person is unable to view their situation in any way other than as a problem. They also think their thoughts are who they are. You can try to explain a different point of view, but it will fall on deaf ears. The person may quite often become angry at any suggestion that they are responsible for their own problem and can be free of it just by changing the way they think or perceive things. They may argue vehemently that changing their way of thinking would be being untrue to 'themselves'.
"For a brief period, The Elixir quietens a person's mind, so that they are briefly aware of who they are beyond thought. When they can really feel this sense of being, separated from the thoughts that usually incessantly go through their minds, it helps them to regain the understanding that they are not their thoughts, that they are the thinker. As the thinker, they can see that they are free to think whatever thoughts they choose and will not lose their identity. Once a person has experienced this detatchment from thought, they are much more open to suggestions about different ways of perceiving their situation. You can then more easily guide them to a position from which the 'problem' does not look like a problem at all."
"I see," said George. His head scratching revealed that perhaps he did not. "But what about REAL problems? What if someone's kid is dying or they have cancer or something?"
"Then you need to use your experience. It may still be useful to use The Elixir. Some events appear very real and inescapable, but even so, thinking often makes them appear far far worse than they need to be perceived. In those circumstances, The Elixir may still be useful. But if you do not detect any kind of distorted thinking, then your task is simply to listen and to let the person unburden themselves by telling you whatever they feel the need to tell you. The simple act of telling someone can give them a great deal of relief. To listen is our most sacred duty as keepers of the Magic Barman code."
Magic Dave was suddenly interrupted by a knocking on the large double doors which were the main entrance to his famous establishment. Some of Dave's regular patrons liked to arrive early, to get themselves settled in their favourite seat and to make sure they didn't miss any of their own fantastic banter, but it was still a little too early even for the keenest of quaffers. He walked over and pulled down the large bolts which held the doors locked. Opening one of the doors, Dave was confronted by a sorry sight. There stood Tallina Breeze, her face bruised and her make-up streaked by tears.
Tallina's Turmoil Page 2 >>
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