INT. Alchemy Lab — late night.
An alchemist is busy pouring candles. A round white table with seven sets of seven colored candles is arranged in a semi-circle around a pile of semi-precious stones. The lab also contains bubbling caldrons of hot wax and plant oils, mortar and pestles of various sorts, scientific and candle-making equipment, books, papers, and other tools of the alchemy trade. The Alchemist’s Apprentice enters and picks up one of the candles from the table.Apprentice The top of this candle is messed up. Alchemist That’s okay. When it gets named and first lit, it might soon look like any other candle. Apprentice So why not light it now and fix it? Alchemist Oh, it shouldn’t get lit the first time until it gets named by its owner on the other end. Apprentice How come you never let me help you make the candles? Alchemist Because I have to do everything myself as a ceremony in order to transmit my frequency into these sacred objects. I assemble the pieces, but when it gets re-assembled by someone on the other end and turned on and tuned up, that’s when it’s full potential will be revealed. You can’t turn on and tune up someone else’s set without wrecking the vibrations. That one broken top candle? That yellow candle? That set is for a master shaman and I that yellow candle is going to be extremely powerful and the fact that it’s uniquely damaged like no other can only make it more so. Apprentice Man, I’d just like to light up all the candles at once for a change. I notice you hardly ever light more than one at a time on your personal altar, and even then, you only leave it on for a few minutes at most. When I get my altar, I’m going to keep all my candles burning for hours and let the vibrations roar! Alchemist That could be dangerous. And that is exactly why you are not currently on the list to receive one. Apprentice Oh come on dad, cut the hippie crap.
Later that night, after the Alchemist is asleep, the Apprentice creeps into the lab where the seven sets of MCC are arranged in a circle on the table. He starts lighting them and turns on his boom box.
Apprentice on top of table dancing in ecstacy with candles raging all around him and the boom box blasting at maximum volume. Apprentice starts kicking the jewels and candles off the table to make more room for his dancing as he goes to the floor b-boy style. Suddenly, a change has come over him, and he looks and acts increasingly demonic. He erupts with a primal scream… and then falls quickly asleep completely spent.
The primal scream awakens the Alchemist who gets out of bed to investigate and discovers his lab has been completely trashed.
(Excerpted from Magic, Religion & Cannabis.)
2 Replies to “The Alchemist’s Apprentice”
Wow. Interesting is the word I would use. Reminds me of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (German: Der Zauberlehrling). A poem by Goethe, written in 1797, made famous by a famous mouse 🙂
Actually the origins of the story are much older:
Eucrates and Pancrates, the Egyptian Miracle Worker by Lucian
“I will tell you,” [said Eucrates,] “another incident derived from my own experience, not from hearsay. Perhaps even you, Tychiades, when you have heard it, may be convinced of the truth of the story.”
When I was living in Egypt during my youth (my father had sent me traveling for the purpose of completing my education), I took it into my head to sail up to Koptos and go from there to the statue of Memnon in order to hear it sound that marvelous salutation to the rising sun. Well, what I heard from it was not a meaningless voice, as in the general experience of common people; Memnon himself actually opened his mouth and delivered me an oracle in seven verses, and if it were not too much of a digression, I would have repeated the very verses for you. But on the voyage up, there chanced to be sailing with us a man from Memphis, one of the scribes of the temple, wonderfully learned, familiar with all the culture of the Egyptians. He was said to have lived underground for twenty-three years in their sanctuaries, learning magic from Isis.
“You mean Pancrates,” said Arignotus, “my own teacher, a holy man, clean shaven, in white linen, always deep in thought, speaking imperfect Greek, tall, flat-nosed, with protruding lips and thinnish legs.”
That self-same Pancrates, and at first I did not know who he was, but when I saw him working all sorts of wonders whenever we anchored the boat, particularly riding on crocodiles and swimming in company with the beasts, while they fawned and wagged their tails, I recognized that he was a holy man, and by degrees, through my friendly behavior, I became his companion and associate, so that he shared all his secret knowledge with me.
At last he persuaded me to leave all my servants behind in Memphis and to go with him quite alone, for we should not lack people to wait upon us; and thereafter we got on in that way. But whenever we came to a stopping place, the man would take either the bar of the door or the broom or even the pestle, put clothes upon it, say a certain spell over it, and make it walk, appearing to everyone else to be a man. It would go off and draw water and buy provisions and prepare meals and in every way deftly serve and wait upon us. Then, when he was through with its services, he would again make the broom a broom or the pestle a pestle by saying another spell over it.
Though I was very keen to learn this from him, I could not do so, for he was jealous, although most ready to oblige in everything else. But one day I secretly overheard the spell — it was just three syllables — by taking my stand in a dark place. He went off to the square after telling the pestle what it had to do, and on the next day, while he was transacting some business in the square, I took the pestle, dressed it up in the same way, said the syllables over it, and told it to carry water.
When it had filled and brought in the jar, I said, “Stop! Don’t carry any more water. Be a pestle again!”
But it would not obey me now; it kept straight on carrying until it filled the house with water for us by pouring it in! At my wit’s end over the thing, for I feared that Pancrates might come back and be angry, as was indeed the case, I took an axe and cut the pestle in two; but each part took a jar and began to carry water, with the result that instead of one servant I had now two.
Meanwhile Pancrates appeared on the scene, and comprehending what had happened, turned them into wood again, just as they were before the spell, and then for his own part left me to my own devices without warning, taking himself off out of sight somewhere.
“Then you still know how to turn the pestle into a man?” said Deinomachus.
“Yes,” said he. “Only half way, however, for I cannot bring it back to its original form if it once becomes a water carrier, but we shall be obliged to let the house be flooded with the water that is poured in!”
“Will you never stop telling such buncombe, old men as you are? ” said I. ” If you will not, at least for the sake of these lads put your amazing and fearful tales off to some other time, so that they may not be filled up with terrors and strange figments before we realise it. You ought to be easy with them and not accustom them to hear things like this which will abide with them and annoy them their lives long and will make them afraid of every sound by filling them with all sorts of superstition.”