I’m going to plead a remodeling project and the tricky install of an A/C unit, but I am a little short of hours at the moment. So here’s a piece of flash fiction for my time slot. Hope you enjoy. The illustration has nothing at all to do with it. I just like to remind myself every now and then that the book exists.
Drink to Me
“’Drink to me only with thine eyes’ said the Bard. Metaphorically it’s a lovely thought, but he didn’t mean a word of it.”
“Neither do you,” she said. “That’s your third stout.”
“No need to count, my love,” he said. “They used to do that for tax purposes, you know. Count the number of inns and alehouses and taverns. That latter is derived from the Roman word taberna, which meant—”
She shut him down. “A retail shop of some sort. Yes, I know. What I don’t know is why, when you’re in your cups, you feel the need to mansplain so much.”
He shrugged. “Could be worse. Some people are mean drunks.”
“That is mean. Or at least annoying. I was the classics major, not you.”
“Or right. I forgot.”
“Which is another thing. Drink makes you forgetful.”
“Which is entirely the point, at the risk of mansplaining again. ‘The world is too much with me.’ A little forgetfulness is a blessing. I’ll also point out that this only occurs until the immediate effects wear off. Studies show that moderate drinking helps maintain cognitive function as we age. Or as the old saying goes, ‘A man’s a fool to drink before the age of forty…and a fool if he doesn’t afterward.’”
“Worth a try,” she said, pouring herself another glass of zinfandel.
“That’s your third,” he said.
“’No need to count, my love.’ And if you bring up alehouses and obscure Latin words again, I’m cutting you off.”
“You say I’m in my cups but I’m merely pleasantly buzzed. Stone drunk is off the table. I learned my lesson in college.”
“Likely the only one you did learn. But I assume you’re referring to the Belinda Barrows incident? Making out with your best friend’s girl? Not cool.”
“The blessing there is I don’t remember any of it.”
“Maybe, but it’s not as if you didn’t hear about it. As I understand it, the entire episode was repeated to you in lurid detail at least once a week until you graduated. If we’d been dating at the time, I’d have killed you. You’re lucky Kurt let you off with a warning, and only because you were drunk.”
“Luckily I wised up and went after you.”
“That was almost a compliment. So color me almost flattered. Besides, you never wised up. You only developed a little taste. I mean, Belinda? Seriously?”
“That wasn’t the tequila shooters. I plead hormones. I mean, back when I had them. ‘In the spring, a young man’s fancy’ and all that.”
“You also tend to quote poetry, though you barely read it and don’t write it, and if it wasn’t one you had to memorize in English Lit, fuggedaboudit.”
“I already did. The stout is working.”
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