The three C's
"Hey thanks," he murmured as I set down his drink at his elbow. He took a deep appreciative sip and said, "Ah, that tastes good." I smiled as I settled into my rocking chair.
As friends go, he's the sort you never have to keep in touch or count visits and reciprocation. He'd drop in and we'd carry on from where we left off the last time. And this was no different, except that he got curious.
"What is the secret, Lali?" he asked, as he picked up a few of the munchies. "Huh?" I said, trying to figure what he thought was a secret. "This is regular whisky, and it tastes great, so what is the secret?" "There is no secret," I smiled.
"Nah, there has got to be one. It is staple everyday rotgut stuff and it tastes bloody marvellous." He saw my frown and added, "Now don’t get huffy, bloody is an adjective, an informal intensifier, not a swear word or blasphemy, come on."
I swallowed a smile and protested. "Look, I offered you Laphroaig, Glenfiddich, Baileys, rum or vodka, but you wanted the daily stuff."
"Yeah, because it tastes great here," he said, going back to the original question. "So, what is the secret?"
"There is none." I said. "I simply measure…" "Ah ha, you measure?" "Yeah, well. Doesn't everybody?" There were strangled sounds as the men laughed themselves sick. I waited it out.
"Let me get you another," I said and collected the glasses. "Handmaiden, isn't she," said the lord and master proudly. "Regular Ganymede, yeah" he agreed. I protested. Cupbearer I might be, but I refuse to be confused with young boys. They laughed at me.
"This is perfect," he sighed as he took a sip of the fresh drink. "But Lali, it's only mixed drinks you have to measure, this is just straight stuff. So there has got to be a secret, I swear."
"Swat you think," I mumbled huffily.
"Ouch, leave the Enid Blyton references out, Lali," interjected the lord and master. "Swat I said," said his best friend helpfully. I rolled my eyes. They went into another bout of chuckling.
"You know, this is daily stuff at home too, but it's great when you make it," he went on, demolishing the munchies and catching my hand to indicate he'd rather talk than be plied with more eats. I sat down again. The munchies can wait the refill, then. And conversation was going great guns after all.
But the lord and master had more to say. You will understand bar-tending the way Lali does it when you understand Hawking and the quantum stuff, he sneered at his best friend, as they seem to think putting each other down is the only way to proclaim affection.
"Ah. Hawkins, the world famous inventor of the pressure cooker." After stunned silence and obligatory groans we went on to other things.
Much later, he asked again why a staple drink tasted so good. "The three C's." I replied, as we hugged in leave-taking. Company, conversation, conviviality-- rotgut tastes good when somebody else is making the drinks, really.