Using my utter ignorance of organic chemistry to my best advantage!
…the formula, when followed, created a non-toxic solid catalyst that could be suspended in the spirits and accrete the pollutants. Fifteen minutes was typically all that was needed to ‘purify’ a five gallon carboy; and while the result was still effectively raw moonshine, it was easily good enough to please our extra-legal suppliers. Indeed, they proved to be our first real customers; apparently the illegal liquor of this region had an ugly reputation, among those who cared about such things. Guaranteed clean and local stock found ready buyers.
David was more than happy with the entire arrangement, as soon as he worked out a method where he could make his student loan balances shrink in a regular and discreet fashion; and eventually I decided to emulate his blissful ignorance. I was aware that conventional chemistry did not work like this, after all. In fact, I spent an entire weekend trying to figure out how any of this could be, and only stopped experimenting when I noticed a recurring spasm in my hands that had not been there before.
This was, I concluded, a hint of sorts. I told myself how there was no need to strain my mind trying to make sense of everything, especially since all David and I had to do was black box the whole thing. Liquor goes in, catalyst goes in, catalyst comes out, improved liquor remains: when put that way, it seemed all very mechanical and even explicable, in its way. As long as you didn’t let yourself think about how the process worked; or why, since it worked, nobody was doing it anywhere else.