Picking up my spoon, I dip it into the broth, making sure to get pieces of the small, fatty meat. I close my eyes and eat my spoonful, marveling at the rich, savory flavors. It's like beef broth, only heartier, and the meat has this really interesting texture. Before I know it, I've devoured half the bowl.
"You like Soup Number Five?"
I look up to see Lola Simeona, the old woman from earlier, standing by my table, watching me. "Oh, yes," I say, patting my mouth with a napkin. "It's delicious! What is this meat? It's like nothing I've ever tasted. And I feel more... energetic already, sort of like I can take on anything." Like Prem.
She smiles knowingly. "Yes, yes, Soup Number Five is magical." After a pause, during which her smile morphs into what I can only be described as a mischievous grin, she says, "The meat is bull testes."
I stare at her for a long moment as her words filter into my brain. I set my spoon down carefully and take a sip of water. "Bull... testes?" I ask in the most neutral way I can.
"Yes! It's an aphrodisiac!" She pats my shoulder and walks off to another table. I think I can hear her cackling.
I look down into my bowl. I just ate a bunch of chopped-up bull balls. For a moment I wonder, in a very detached way (is this what being in medical shock feels like?), if I'm going to throw up. But then the moment passes, and I realize they're really delicious. And Soup No. 5 works. I can feel the potent mixture wending its way through my system, infusing my blood with confidence and desire. I eat another big spoonful.