The ubiquitous books and folders left no doubt as to the room’s function.
In the days before everything was done in earth tones, the room’s combination of leather and dark wood, the banker’s lamp and adjacent heavy semi-functional brass ornaments on the desk collectively left no doubt about the masculinity of the room. But as Ian turned on an overhead light that let us see past the radiance of the desk lamp, we saw a comprehensive liquor cabinet.
Ian removed a key from beneath the lamp and unlocked the cabinet, removing a sizeable crystal decanter of gourmet Scotch, setting it on the desk, then returning for three thick drinking glasses. He poured the Scotch into each, passed one to Stan and me and raised the remaining one.
“A toast, gentlemen – to the Bluebottle Boys!”
“To the Bluebottle Boys!” Stan and I echoed.
“May they endure forever!” Ian added.
“Hear! Hear!” Stan and I replied.
We raised the glasses to our lips.
We took a gulp.
In the next instant, our eyes grew large as saucers.
This stuff tasted like liquefied burnt wood, and we all wondered what kind of nut would ever let this gruesome brew near his lips.
“Een,” Stan said, his jaw and lips clenched, “w’nid t’fnd a snk – now.”
“F’low mih,” Ian replied through a similar form of temporary lockjaw.
Still holding onto our glasses, Stan and I bolted after Ian as he ran out the study door, returned to the dining room table, turned at the stairway and darted into a small, inconspicuous door behind the stairs.
Inside was a sizable sink, the sort servants or servers might use as a temporary receptacle to soak dirty dishes and the like until they could be removed and properly washed elsewhere.
Within seconds, it became the permanent receptacle for the loathsome liquid filling our mouths, as we all forcefully expelled the gourmet Scotch into the sink. Grabbing three hand towels from a small, adjacent built-in cabinet, Ian passed them around. Using the remaining Scotch in the glasses we wiped down and “sanitized” them before we returned them – and the decanter – to the study’s liquor cabinet.
We ran back to the sink, then through a service corridor just beyond to the kitchen, tossing the towels down a laundry chute as we went.
Ian found tumblers, and poured us each a drink of Tizer from a bottle in the fridge.
“Again, gentlemen,” he said with a relieved sigh, “I give you, The Bluebottle Boys.”
“To the Bluebottle Boys,” echoed Stan.
“A band of brothers forever,” I said.
“Hear! Hear!” the others replied.
© 2017, 2016, 2015 G. H. McCallum and Duvanian Press, all rights reserved.
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The Bluebottle Boys (Volume One) is now available from Amazon Books. The Bluebottle Boys (Volume Two) is due out this autumn.