“AAHT AAHT AAHT,” the alarm on the side table blares. “Whump.” The arm hits heavily.
Johnny slumps out of bed and clicks on the daily news byte.
“Don’t forget to take your preventative peppermint supplement today, the autumnal equinox. For nearly a century now, the herbal supplement taken at exactly 1 pm on the equinox has been lauded as a saving grace for those with ailments or a crucial ward for healthy individuals.
Normally costing a hay penny or even given freely, the week or so before the equinox the demand and respective cost skyrockets.”
“That time of year, again” He thinks, annoyed, while wiping his wet face with a towel.
Still bleary eyed, Johnny pulls down the large, dusty tin from the corner cabinet and fishes around in the sea of self-supported wrappers for the familiar touch of the hard candy. After a couple seconds, his brain registers this has already taken too long. He feels a pulse of fear. He shakes the tin. There are no “tink tink” sounds.
A minute later, he stands, eyes wide and pulse quickening, over a crime scene of empty pieces of cellophane.
“Mary will have one” he thinks as he rushes to his phone.
“Sorry, John, I only have one each year so it is most effective.” Mary philosophizes.
Johnny heard nothing after “sorry.”
A few more calls cement the fact that none of his friends have any extra.
More panic creeping in, he jogs down the streets near his apartment. Every window, it seems, has a sign saying something along the lines of “out of peppermint” plastered to them.
Hours later, Johnny arrives back at his apartment, demoralized. He checked everywhere, with everyone, even asking random people on the street and going door to door in his building. Most people only had enough for themselves, but some seemed simply unwilling to give him one. These people usually answered his question of “Excuse me, but do you have any spare peppermint?” with an oddly sharp look and a curt “Why?”.
12:45 on the clock and Johnny was sitting distraught, slumped against his door. Practically fetal, he felt the knock more than he heard it. He got up and was greeted by nothing as he opened the door. Instead, he looked down at a single, shiny, colorful pebble on his doorstep.
He crumpled, weeping, then and there.
100 years earlier:
“You are known for being so healthy and, in particular, for never getting sick; how do you do it?” The fresh faced reporter asks the woman across from him.
“I simply eat healthy and exercise. A good work/life balance keeps the body from swinging too hard to exhaustion or sloth.” She answers.
“Of course, but do you have any tricks for it?”
The reporter misses the instant of anger that flashes across her face.
“Well…” She leans in and lowers her voice “every year at exactly one pm on the fall equinox, I eat a peppermint candy and that takes care of everything.”