Blog of Andrés Aravena


13 May 2020
Freefall by Mark Stanley, October 18, 1999

He was an anxious man. His wife had just borne a babygirl. Although the baby looked healthy, the man was concerned. He saw a birthmark in the baby, much like the birthmark that his own father had.

If the baby had the grandfather’s birthmark, maybe the baby would also inherited the old man’s bad health. He was afraid that the baby may have a disease, like his father and his brother. People in the man’s family had a strange disease, and he was afraid that his new babygirl may have it too.

Worried, the man asked to the doctor, but the doctor said that she did not know the answer. Instead, he advised the man to ask the question to a Wizard.

Dressed in a long white robe, the Wizard listened to the man’s question and asked him to bring something from the baby girl, something from the brother and something from the grandfather. A lock of hair, a piece of the child’s nail. The man went home, cut the nails of the girl, asked his brother to spit in a bottle that the wizard had given him, and took some hair from the comb that grandpa used to untangle his white head.

The wizard asked the man to spit in a jar, and then he took some drops of it. The wizard put everything in a series of bottles, and filled them with the most fresh water, twice purified to avoid any daemons lurking on it. Then he added some magic powders, he said, with strange names. Something like “fiveprime” and something that sounded like “Pauli—molasses”.

The man was suspicious. The magic powders were invisible and the bottles looked empty.

Immediately after finishing this mix, the wizard put all the little bottles in the cauldron. He heated all the bottles to almost boiling temperature and then he cooled them. And then he heated them again, just to cool them again. This ritual was repeated at least thirty times.

The man was nervous. After the heating-and-cooling ritual was finished, the wizard took the liquid from the bottles with a magic wand, and put some drops in a plate. Then he connected the plates to an electric power device. The man did not understood anything, since the plate looked perfectly transparent.

But the wizard was powerful. Using dark light, he revealed the invisible spots in the plate. Patiently, the wizard explained to the man what was the meaning of the spots.

—“Look here”—the wizard said—“this spot is aligned with the third line of the ladder”

—“uhuh..”—said the man, although he couldn’t see any ladder.

—“This means that your daughter will be fine”—the wizard said. —“You should not worry, everything is going to be all right”.

—“Thank you, Wizard”—the man said. —“These are the best new I can get”

—“You are welcome. I’m always happy to deliver good news. I wish I could always do so.”—said the Wizard.

—“Just one last question”—said the man. —“My wife will not forgive me if I did not ask you this.”

—“Tell me”—

—“What is the name of this magic spell?”— said the man.

The wizard seemed to be a little confused by the question. The wizard blinked three times, looked at the papers in the desk, and finally said

—“It is just a regular PCR”—

—“It is really a powerful magic, and you are a great Wizard!”—said the man while leaving the laboratory.

The Wizard looked at him crossing the doorway, and remained perplexed for the rest of the day.