~Meniscus Archives~
Winter 2003
Issue #2

November - February 2004

Link to Issue #2 Home


Bynum's Corner Word Games

The Dissapperance of Childhood
Sarah Trachtenburgh

There's something about Crystal Boots
Drayton Patriota
Debate/Retort by Little Lamb
The Apothecary and Mr. Cesnek
Chrystie Hopkins
A Stroll Down Shakedown Street
Caleb Estabrooks
Out of the Box, Into my Hands
Derek Gumuchian
Travel Log of a Colorado Girl
Erin Hopkins
Santa Fe
Chrystie Hopkins
How to find your friends at IT!
Rob Hansen
Meniscus New Years Picks
Sound Tribe Sector 9: Focusing the Light
-Jon Heinrich
Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey: Take a Trip with the Wild and Wooly Masters of the Jam-Jazz Scene
-Brian Gagné
CD Review:
Solar Igniter
CD Review:
Cadillac Jones-
Junk in the Trunk
Through Glass
and Grain

-Aiden FitzGerald
four poems
-Brandon Rigo
-Pete Pidgeon
Art Model
-Julia Magnusson
-Julia Magnusson
Dead dog
-Julia Magnusson
-Julia Magnusson
Those games
we'd play

-Julia Magnusson
Ode de Toiletté
-Aron Ralston
-Stephanie Laterza
-Stephanie Laterza
-Stephanie Laterza
Meniscus is...
Meniscus Premier Launch Party
Zeitgeist Gallery
Cambridge, Massachusetts
August 14, 2003

Metro Saturdays hosts
Meniscus Portland Launch
Sky Bar @ The Roxy
Portland, Maine
August 30, 2003

State of the Art
Lounge Ten
Boston, Massachussets
October 23, 2003


The Apothecary and
Mr. Cesnek
Chrystie Hopkins
Published 11/15/03


Vampire, vam’pir, n. A reanimated corpse, supposed to suck the blood of sleeping persons at night; one who preys ruthlessly on other; any of various South and Central American bats which suck blood.
-New Webster’s Dictionary

There are many different versions of the tale of the Vampire and the Vampire’s dark origin. I am sure you have heard at least one of these stories. Whether it is the tale of Caine, Nesferatu or Lord Vlat, in all of these imaginative scenarios there are many commonalities.

One of these common details is actually the lack of detail in regards to one of the Vampire’s worst enemies; Garlic. Why was garlic, a simple eatable bulb, so powerful against the Vampires other-worldly powers? How did the citizens of Europe discover the power of Garlic and why does no one speak of it now?

It was a cold winter night, not uncommon for that time of year. Vidal sitting at his desk, bundled himself in a sweater, reviewing his notes from the day. His business had picked up over the last few months. The cold weather had brought with it illness. This meant business was good, almost too good. His patients suffered from many different illnesses; influenza, allergies, bronchitis, infection, angina, arthritis, headache, earache, pneumonia, sties, tonsillitis, ulcers and other unimaginable afflictions he had never witnessed. As the only health professional in the under populated county, people would come from miles away to visit him. They would travel great distances, hoping, praying for a cure and an end to the pain. As an apothecary, Vidal would do what he could for his patients, using his judgment and experience to prescribe the needed remedy. Because of his limited resources, Vidal would often prescribe the same solution to cure many different illnesses. Thus was modern medicine in the 16th Century.

This winter he knew that the same old prescription just would not do. He set to work on the ultimate potion. The potion that would cure all illnesses. He would be world famous, he thought.

He would be famous, but not outright, and not for what he had intended.

Vidal rummaged wildly through his books. Searching for the ultimate cure, many opiate derivatives and other such powerful drugs were combined to make a syrupy mixture. Not only would he provide a cure, but also a release for his patients. Pain relief and drug induced sleep could be just the remedy. Keep them sleeping until the body heals itself. Yes, this is what he would do. For days Vidal stayed locked up in his modest home and office. Denying patients, and slaving away with his gadgets and potions, he would eventually concoct the ultimate drug. Vamporhine.

Vidal, first tested the drug on his young niece, Claudette. Claudette, took the new potion and was immediately relieved of all her pain and suffering. She would sleep for hours after her dosage, awake relieved of her physical woes, only to be retaken by illness a few hours later. She continued on her uncle’s medication for another week, showing slow signs of improvement. Then a change occurred. Claudette would awaken mid-slumber, screaming, and clawing at her covers. She would be in a daze afterward. Often times there would be scrapes and bruises on her arms, legs and face. The apothecary was not worried, side effects were always visible. He reassured Claudette’s nurses that the dreams were normal; and told them to bind Claudette while she slept for the internal struggle would work the disease out of the body. He kept the results of his test to himself. No need to alarm patients of possible side effects. After all, each person reacts differently to medication, and Claudette was just a young girl.

News quickly spread of a new “miracle” drug. Then the masses came to him. Their desperation for relief would be calmed by his new creation. One patient after another would pay their life savings for the miraculous drug. Eventually, rumors of the drug spread outside of the county and to the large cities of the country. Vidal would receive visits from distinguished doctors and apothecaries. Seeing that he could become a very rich man, Vidal would sell his recipe to these doctors. And the drug spread far and wide. The miracle drug was prescribed for almost every illness because of its supposed calming, and relief factors. The public loved it.

Then the nightmares began.



Stephan was a normal young man. He married his sweetheart, Cicily, when they were both too young to understand life, let alone, love. But modestly, and happily they lived just on the outskirts of a small village. Stephan would travel the short distance in to town to serve as apprentice to the town cobbler. One day he hoped to take over the shop or perhaps move to another town and open his own cobbler shop.

One fall afternoon Stephan returned home after a long days work, to find his wife lying limp in bed. Cicily was visibly ill, and pale. She was cold and clammy and in a lot of pain. Stephan could not handle seeing his love in so much pain. He gathered what he could of his savings and went to the town apothecary. So what if it was late. His wife’s life was at stake. Stephan had expected to find a dark house, with the apothecary sound asleep. Instead he came upon a well lit home, with a line of patients out the door. Apparently, the apothecary had found the ultimate cure. The town folk were all in a buzz about the miracle remedy. Stephan had come to the right place.

After several hours of waiting to see the druggist, Stephan was finally granted permission to visit with the heroic chemist. After Stephan described his wife’s condition in detail, the apothecary prescribed the same antidote he had for everyone else in line ahead of Stephan.

At first, Stephan thought it odd that all of the different afflictions could be treated with the same blue serum. But the apothecary is a man of power and intelligence. If you cannot trust the town apothecary, whom can you trust? If all the rumors were true, this drug really was the end-all cure.

Cicily was in worse condition than ever. Stephan quickly gave her the apothecary’s serum and she was immediately sedated. After several days of taking the medication, she was not showing any signs of improvement. If anything she seemed to be getting worse. Because Stephan loved her so, he decided to increase her dosage. He was desperate to relieve her pain and make her comfortable. Stephan began to see that Cicily might not recover.

On the seventh night, Cicily began to squirm and mutter strange words. Stephan was not sure what to make of the wild rants. Stephan was becoming increasingly worried. His wife was terrified of the images in her mind. If he left her alone, upon his return, she would claim to have just been visited by the devil.

Stephan, desperate to aid his wife, returned to the apothecary for guidance. After hearing Stephan’s tale, the apothecary reassured him that his wife will recover, but that he will need additional medicine and that he should increase her dosage. Stephan borrowed money from the cobbler, in exchange for extra hours of work, and returned home late in the evening with the medicine.

Upon entering his home, Stephan found all of their belongs strewn throughout the house. It looked as though they had been robbed. The walls were sliced, the curtains ripped, the dishes were broken and the furniture was smashed. He rushed to the bedroom to find the bed where Cicily had been sleeping, empty. The sheets were torn, as though there had been a struggle. There were droplets of blood sprayed on the sheets and the walls.

At this sight, Stephan panicked. Where was Cicily? Who had done this to her? In a quick moment of contemplation he looked to the floor to see a trail of blood leading out of the bedroom. He quickly followed the trail, horrified to see that it lead to the back door.

Breathing heavily, body shaking, Stephan opened the door, and found that the blood continued down the steps and into the darkness of the garden. Stephan returned into the house to get his lantern and dagger.

Slowly, Stephan proceeded down the steps and into the darkness. Ten feet into the garden, Stephan found Cicily. What had happened to her? What pain and torture must she have endured during her last moments of life? It eluded Stephan at that moment and remained a mystery in the years to follow.



Tales of mysterious deaths and mutilations spread across the countryside. People were found, bled to death, with deep puncture wounds, scratches and bruises. Homes were destroyed and defaced just like their occupants.

Local police were unable to locate any suspects. Often times the family members or friends that found the victims were considered suspects. The commonalities between all of the deaths lead police to believe that the list of suspects was not accurate. They knew these murders were some how related.

The commoners had theories of their own. People began to talk about the days leading up to each victim’s death. All of the victims claimed to be haunted by visions of a devilish creature. Many of the victims suffered from waking nightmares and were tormented by evil thoughts and sights in their last days.

People began to blame a clan of transients that were stalking people from town to town. They would ransack homes, steal their goods and drain their victim’s blood and drink it for food. This clan would sneak undetected into the home during the night by wearing dark clothing and blending into their surroundings, thus making their appearance a mystery to all.

Terror quickly spread across the country. Folk were instructed not to leave their homes after dark and to lock their doors. It was advised that your door should not be opened to strangers. Travelers, especially foreigners, were not to be trusted.

Life was difficult for the farmer. Hard economic times had forced many farmers to close their farms or look to growing cheaper, alternative crops. Most farmers grew corn and wheat. There were very few farmers who would take the risk of growing foreign produce.

One farmer that did take the risk was Horatio Cesnek. Horatio traveled the world as a sailor before settling down as a farmer. During his travels he discovered that in other parts of the world, food was seasoned with exotic bulbs and spicy vegetables. Horatio decided to plant one of these exotic bulbs on his farm in addition to the regular corn.

Unfortunately, the bulb was not easy to sell. It was foreign to the country folk. It’s pungent, overwhelming odor and taste was not appealing to most people. In an effort to boost sales, Horatio decided that he must find the bulbs best use and share it with the people. Horatio started using the bulb in every meal and drink. He would experiment with it in every way he could think of. He added it to soups, spread it on meat, and even ate it whole.

The results were phenomenal. Not only did the bulb bring out the flavor of his food, but he also found that it possessed medicinal value. Since increasing his intake of the bulb, Horatio and his entire family were in great health. While disease was spreading across the countryside, Horatio and his family seemed to remain untouched. Sadly, all the families near to the Cesnek’s had lost at least one family member that past year. An unseasonably long and cold winter was wreaking havoc on people’s fragile health.

With the disease also came tales of gruesome murders and mutilations. Neighbors and friends began to suspect each other and became very distrustful. Because the Cesnek’s had not had any afflictions, they were also suspect. Already ostracized for his worldviews and his need to grow foreign crops, Horatio was now being criticized for being healthy. The people’s ignorance was horrifying to Horatio, but he took it in stride. He decided that rather than getting defensive, now was the time to spread the word about the wonders of his little bulb. He decided that the bulb needed a name before he could really sell it. Since all of the names he had heard the bulb called were too difficult for the simple minded village people, he decided to name the bulb after himself; Cesnek. He loaded up his wagon with the cesnek he had harvested in the fall and set off to share his miracle drug with his fellow countrymen.

What Horatio discovered as he traveled was that people were desperate to try anything. The people were so horrified and scared that even the idea of adding a little cesnek to each meal sounded like a good option. People would often approach Horatio with wonder in their eyes and ask, “Does cesnek keep the vampires away?”

Horatio would always respond with the same confident reply, “Cesnek will keep you healthy and keep you safe from disease and death.”

These words of wisdom again spread at an unbelievable rate. Suddenly everyone wanted cesnek. People would add it to every meal. You could see paranoids walking down the street eating whole cloves and wearing strands of bulbs around their necks and heads. Those people that were skeptical of the bulb continued to suffer from illness.

It soon became apparent to Horatio and others that their was a direct correlation between cesnek, and the lack of illness and the murders that had plagued the countryside. Those that incorporated cesnek into their lives did not fall ill, and thus were not visited and ultimately murdered by the creatures of the night, or vampires as they were now commonly called.

Farming of garlic became common. Its power to protect against vampires spread worldwide and is now widely used in the fight against the evil creatures of the night.

It was only a matter of time before people began to wonder about the famous apothecary’s remedy. But, at that point it did not matter. People’s imagination, anxiety and paranoia had taken over. It no longer mattered whether or not people were taking the medication. The claims of vampire sightings came in nightly. Every murder and violent crime was blamed on a vampire.

And the only savoir was Garlic.

-Chrystie Hopkins

Meniscus Magazine © 2003. All material is property of respective artists.