In the 1700s there was this Swabian doctor named Franz Mesmer who fed his patients lead pellets and used magnets to move them around inside their bodies. Afterwords, as the metal settled into the flesh, he would play them the glass armonica. One late June day in 1781 he mistakenly gave a bastard child of Louis the sixteenth a magnetic overdose. The kid‘s eyeballs ended up in his mouth, his pancreas was in his fingers. To avoid the gallows Mesmer fled Paris and ended up in Brindisi. He snuck onto a Barbary ship heading to the orient. The pirates needed a doctor and he fed them quicksilver with lemon juice, keeping them healthy all the way to the Indian ocean. Parting ways at the entrance of the Mekong, he boarded passage on an old physicians canoe. The doctor shared his family secrets with Mesmer, teaching him how to make a poison with Madagascar periwinkle and how to extract ancient antigens from spit to turn a cat into a turtle. After an arduous journey upriver, stuck in the middle of a tribal dispute, the magician was shot by a stray arrow just outside Vientienne. It was in this kingdom that Mesmer fell in love with a beauty in the harem of Ong Bun Setthathirath III. They opened a clinic on the banks of the Mekong, mesmerizing aristocracy, making a fortune. In their free time they would sit together in an oubliette deep in the bowls of their mansion. They decoded ancient spells that were carved in the walls. She covered his body in mystical tattoos with incantations of both polynomial and sub-quadratic time. One evening after a hard day of work, Mesmer went to an opium den and got in a fight with a merchant from Chang Mai over the efficacy of animal magnetism, accidentally murdering the man with a powerful magnet. How could he have known the bastard had an old bullet lodged in the back of his head? Running down an ancient mud street he ducked into a rice farmer’s canoe and by day break he began a slow journey back to the west.