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Awakenings Chapter 2: Realizations, Page 8

The palms of Joe’s hands started to sweat as he picked up the phone.  Looking at the wine club listing for Roger’s cell phone, he dialed.

“Hello, this is Roger.”

“Hi Roger, this is Joe, I just got home.  You called?”

“Hi Joe, those crystals are bad stuff.  They contain scopolamine and atropine, and probably more.  I am not yet finished with the analyses.  Scopolamine, amongst other things, is a date rape drug.  Joe, this is real trouble.”

Joe was puzzled; he had not felt like he was drugged when he drank the wine.  “How strong is the concentration?”

“That is pretty hard to tell from the crystals in the wine glass.  Also, there are other chemicals in the crystals that are interfering with the chromatographs.  I really can’t give you an accurate concentration value.”

“Besides being used to drug unsuspecting women, scopolamine was used by Native Americans for shamanistic rituals.  It is a hallucinogen.  It also is used legitimately in minute doses on dermal patches to prevent seasickness.”

“What about atropine?”

“Atropine, in large enough doses, is also a hallucinogen.  Eye doctors used to use it to dilate pupils.  In fact, Cleopatra supposedly used it to dilate her pupils to look more beautiful.  It is used to today by the military as an antidote to nerve gas.  Joe you need to let your friend know that someone may have tried to or actually did, sexually assault her.”

“Thank you for running these analyses.” Joe continued his white lies.  “I will call her immediately. When will you finish the rest of the analyses?”

“Day after tomorrow. Be careful Joe.”

“Thanks, Roger. I will talk to you in a couple of days.”

After hanging up the phone, Joe sat back in his office chair.  Other than the dreams, he did not think that he had any hallucinations.  He had not felt drugged in any way.  This did not add up.  He opened the folder sitting on his cluttered desk that contained the photographs of his Great Grandfather’s notes.  His review of Latin had gotten good enough that he could pick out words that were close to English.  Then it dawned on him!  Some of these notes were lists of ingredients for recipes.  Some bore resemblance to some kind of notes for making wine.

Joe turned to his computer and opened a web browser.  He entered the terms Scopolamine and Atropine into a search engine.  The search came back with a full page of entries, one of them being the term Jimson Weed.  Joe clicked on the link and got a lot of information about the effects of the alkaloids of Jimson Weed, including Scopolamine and Atropine.  Clicking on a link to pictures, he saw flowers and plants that he recognized as pests that he routinely had to remove from the vineyards, especially near the location of his Great Grandfather’s wine tunnel.  One of the pictures showed the prickly seed pods of Jimson Weed.  Clicking further, he came up with the Latin name Datura stramonium.  Thumbing through the photographs, he realized that it was time for another visit to his Great Grandfather’s wine cellar.

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