"Some tea with your tea...?"

Larry chuckled gently, lifted the pot and poured deep amber Darjeeling into the cups. Ducking back under the counter, he produced a small ceramic pot of honey, then swiped up the stray teaspoon, blew off a dust bunny and proffered it. Milo accepted it politely, dolloped honey into his tea and stirred as Larry motioned him to a nearby chair. Larry folded himself comfortably into a chair facing it, his eyes becoming less uncomfortably bright as he did so.

"Can I offer you some tea with your tea, if you catch my drift? Primo!"

Larry's eyebrows semaphored up and down, up and down. Milo frowned, then leapt gratefully as he realized the offer Larry signalled.

"Yes! Please! Sure! Thanks!"

Larry produced a small baggie from his shirt and tipped unidentifiable dried and crumbled greenery into the Darjeeling. As it sank into the Milo's cup, the steam took on a redolence of something that might have been alfalfa in the bottom of a hamster cage. But possibly more illicit.

"Now..." said Larry. "This is not something to be done lightly. Why exactly do you think you need what an acid test offers? "

Milo sipped and winced as sweet tea bearing an undefinable, yet undeniable aura of stoned hamster scalded his tongue. He didn't quite grasp why, but he felt as if he was being interviewed for his very first job. Completely unprepared, because he hadn't known he was applying, or even what for...

"Well, uh..." Milo trailed off. For a moment, the enormity of explaining exactly why he needed to score acid seemed impossible. Though it was far too soon for the herb to be working, the roar rose again in his ears.

Then he thought, "Fuck it!" Straightening his shoulders, he hoisted his face from his cup. A hint of a bland grin sidled onto his tea-sheened lips.

"Uh... may I be perfectly candid, Larry?"

"Please do!"

"It's a very long story..."

"That's okay," said Larry. Seeming to sense that Milo was about to tell him something big, he half-turned and stage-whispered to Rory: "Hey, hon! Busy here! If anybody buys, take the till. Okay?"

Rory muttered a not-quite-verbal affirmative from the depths of her book. Larry turned back to Milo.