-Norman felt terrible when he woke up. His tongue had green spots on it and his feet smelled like cheese and he had a fever. He thought maybe he shouldn't go to work, but he had a big presentation today. But when he looked into the mirror, he discovered hair growing out of his cheeks. It was terrible.
-Terrible? Terrible? I have hair all over my face and spots on my tongue and all you can say is terrible?
-Well, what would you rather me say? It is terrible, isn't it?
-It's more than terrible! It's catastrophic.
It was catastrophic.
Is that better?
It was catastrophic. Norman ran for the message crystals and put the amethyst in the message hole and a soft purple cloud appeared above the crystal.
"Send a message to Martin Edward," Norman said, and a vague picture of his boss appeared in the cloud. "Martin, I've come down with a bad case of something. I don't know if I'm going to make the presentation to Broomsticks Unlimited today. In this condition. I'm taking the morning off to try and find a remedy. I'll call you later to let you know if I'll make it in this afternoon. End message."
The cloud fizzled out and the top of the crystal flashed once. Message sent.
Norman pulled on a coat and put on a wide brimmed hat and hurried out into the bustling street. He took the street all the way to the end, where he turned left...
-Wait, wait, wait. I need to go right. The healer's shop is right.
-...where he turned left...
-No, don't you hear me? I need to go right.
-As if the healer could do anything for you.
-He can try!
-...turned left, and crossed into the herbalists' shop.
-Can't I try the healer first?
The herbalist was confounded by Norman's case.
"It could be a case of the dragon pox," said the middle aged woman with a sprig of rosemary behind her ear. "But I don't think that's likely. Here, eat this."
She handed him a plant with small, flat leaves and he chewed and swallowed. She stood there watching him for about half an hour before she declared, "It didn't work."
-Of course it didn't! We need to go to the healer.
Norman left and headed to Sorcerer's Row.
-What? Why would I go there? Take me back this instant.
-No can do. The story has you heading to Sorcerer's Row.
-Well, that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Just change it.
-Norman didn't normally come to this side of town. Sorcerers' Row had a reputation of attracting less than reputable magic users, but if he was going to find a way to cure himself, he was going to have to try.
-No, no. It's not worth it.
-The sorcerer in the row's herb shop took a look up and down and had Norman stick out his tongue.
"Looks like a bad case of hexing to me," the man said. "Did you cut anybody off in traffic lately?"
Norman shrugged. It was quite possible.
The man handed Norman a little pouch tied with a drawstring. "Take this and sleep under your pillow with it. Should clear you right up."
"But I have a presentation this afternoon," Norman said. "I was hoping to clear things up by then."
The sorcerer stroked his chin. "Well, in that case. I can offer you a discounted rate on a one-time reversal spell. It should reverse the effects of whatever you've got going on."
-No, he didn't!
-...and waited while the man performed his spell. The hair on his cheeks shrunk back into his face. The green spots disappeared from Norman's tongue and his fever suddenly broke. It was incredible.
-I have a bad feeling about this.
-That afternoon, Norman showed up to work and gave a stellar presentation to Broomsticks Unlimited, clinching the deal. His team all went for drinks at the Hovering Mojito that night to celebrate, a grand night in which someone almost, but not quite, fell off the hovering bar. Norman fell into bed that night, happy and tired.
-Well, I suppose it was a good night.
-The next morning however, when he awoke, he screamed the moment he saw himself in the mirror. His entire tongue was green now and his face covered in thick, brown fur. His sweat dripped in a puddle underneath his feet.
-See! See what happened! I knew this was a bad idea! -Look, I just tell the story. I didn't write it.
-Well, I don't like it. Change it back.
-That's not how it works.
-Can't you just fix a couple things?
-You know what? You don't like my storytelling? I'm out.
-Wait. How does the story end?
Can't I at least get an ending?