“The Chaser” echoes a theme found in “Escape Clause” and “A Nice Place to Visit,” that getting what you want can be the worst thing that can happen to you. In “Escape Clause” it’s immortality. In “A Nice Place to Visit” it’s easy money and fast women. In “The Chaser” it’s love. Mr. Roger Shackeforth is in love with Leila, but Leila loves him not. Roger visits Professor A. Daemon, who deals in “ointments, salves, powders, soveriegn remedies, nectars, lotus blossoms, toxins, tonics, anti-toxins decoctions, concoctions and potions… all guaranteed.” The Professor offers Roger his “Glove Cleaner” also called “The Eradicator.” But Roger wants a love potion, and that’s what he gets. Glover Cleaner goes for a thousand dollars. The love potion is only a dollar.
The love potion works, and Leila loves, adores, and worships Roger. They marry, but six months in, Leila is driving Roger crazy. It’s not that he no longer loves her. What is it? It’s hard to say, but total devotion is just too much for someone at the receiving end. The attractive spark in Leila had something to do with her independence, from her lack of interest in Roger. When she lives only for Roger, he just wants to squirm out of her embrace.
Roger returns to the Professor for the glove cleaner. He forks over a thousand bucks. Maybe he would have paid that much for the love potion, but he doesn’t hesitate to use all his savings for this next remedy.
Is it that when we get what we want we no longer want it, or is it that we didn’t know what we wanted in the first place?