"SEDUCTA'S SWEETS" announced the garish neon sign at the convergence of four highways into the city. A long string of red winking lights decorated the outside of the small wooden building. Two smaller painted signs on the side walls proclaimed "Tantalizing to Your Tongue" and "Tempting to Your Tastebuds." Sitting behind the structure was a mid-sized travel trailer, also outlined in red lights, with two crimson rose bushes flanking the steps to the door.
From early morning to early evening, one could find Seducta in her shop plying her wares. She was well-known in the area--especially to men. Colorful, silky, softly-clinging clothes were her signature apparel and the strong scent of jasmine perfume enveloped her. Her long black hair curled alluringly around her face and down her back, and jangling jewelry sparkled at her every movement.
"Come in, come in," she purred in honeyed tones as the man entered one late afternoon. "I'm Seducta, and I'm so very glad you're here." She tossed flirtatious glances and suggestive smiles in his direction, and he noticed his hands began to sweat slightly. "I have all kinds of sinfully sweet delicacies for your perusal." She waved toward the tables, shelves, and counters laden with bonbons, tarts, cakes, éclairs, custards, and a myriad of sugary, fat-and-calorie-filled treats.
He told himself he came in to look, not buy--just to see what the guys at work were talking about, but soon his mouth began to water. He lingered quite a while, and the woman sidled up to him, whispering coyly, "If you don't find what you're looking for here, I have a few more things out in my trailer that might interest you. Come back after I close up here tonight. I assure you I can make 'visions of sugarplums' dance in your head."
The heavy fragrance surrounding her was nearly intoxicating. The man started perspiring more and felt both uneasy and excited. Seducta then held out to him a gilt-edged tray of enticing offerings. "Here, try a sample or two, Darling. I know you'll be enchanted by the sweetly sumptuous flavors." Her deep, soft voice mesmerized, and he found himself involuntarily reaching for the delicacies. They were indeed ravishingly rich, creamy, and, to his surprise, almost instantly addictive. His mouth tingled pleasantly, and he felt an instant "high" course through his bloodstream. Afterwards, though, his mind seemed a bit clouded, and he had trouble thinking clearly.
He ended up purchasing several things, and half-stumbled out clutching the bag decorated with crimson hearts and lips. He drove to the hotel where he was staying while he conducted his business in town, but spent a restless night with a slight stomachache and unsettling dreams.
After his appointments next day, he found himself being drawn back to Seducta's like a magnet. He feebly resisted, but soon found himself entering the shop once more. She welcomed him with open arms like an old friend, and he ended up buying twice as many items as he did the day before.
That night he tossed and turned, experiencing one haunting nightmare after another, while his insides rumbled and rolled without mercy. "I'm not eating anymore of those treats," he promised himself. "Even though they're delicious, there's got to be some ingredient that doesn't agree with me. They're sweet to the taste, but sour to my stomach."
However, upon rising the following morning he felt such an overwhelming craving for a sugary indulgence that his hands were shaking. He didn't even go to his early business meeting, but drove quickly to the now-familiar store and plunked his money down as fast as he could.
"Ahhhhhhh, you just can't stay away from Seducta's can you now, Sweetheart?" she cooed.
He numbly shook his head "No" as he stuffed his mouth with goodies he didn't even take time to taste anymore.
She winked, "I think it's time you checked out what luxuries I have to offer out back in my trailer, don't you?"
He numbly shook his head "Yes."
Later, in his hotel bed in the "wee hours," (his wallet much thinner), the man clutched his stomach, groaning in agony while terrors ravaged his thoughts. "She's somehow poisoning me!" he gasped. "God--please help me!" His scream filled the darkness.
A half-remembered conversation with someone struggled to the surface of his mind...There's a free clinic downtown where a great Physician is said to have the only antidote for troubles such as this...
He grabbed the bedside phone, "Operator, give me the number..."
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