One final question

Man: (refreshes his glass of Midleton) So, before you kill me, how did you find me?
Two strangers: (look at each other with puzzled expressions)
Man: I changed my identity ages ago. I went off the grid. Were you clicking through old bookmarks from days? Do you even remember that “last updated” feed they had? I’m still friends with people I found that way. That was the best.
Man: Or was it a random social media link?
Man: Or something more sinister?
First stranger: I did a search for facts about the grunion, actually.
Second stranger: Names for electric cars, here.
Man: (takes sip, says nothing).
Man: Ah.

They sit that way for a very long time. The strangers glance at the bottle of Midleton now and then, but the man ignores them. They will be drinking this soon enough, he thinks, when I am dead.

First stranger: Actually, we’re not actually here to kill you.
Second stranger: No.
Man: Ah.
Man: (Pours himself a fresh glass, and puts the bottle away)
Man: (takes sip) Then you will be going soon, I imagine.
Two strangers: (Shrug, look at each other)
Man: Before you go, I want you to know one thing.
Man: All I want is for you to be happy.
Man: That’s all I want. But I realize that just saying it is useless.
Man: I mean, there used to be people who wanted only for me to be happy, and it had no effect. I disappointed them and myself. Happiness is an elusive target, anyway. I suppose what they wanted was for me to achieve a situation, a mental state and social/economic situation conducive to self-actualization and a condition of agency in life, and here I am, the same lost bobbing cork as always.
Man: But I am content.
Two strangers: (Give each other puzzled looks. One glances at the glass in the man’s hand)
Man: I am sitting in a garden, petting a cat and waiting for death. I have not achieved all I dreamed, but it no longer matters.
Man: All that matters is that you are happy. That you attain a state of agency and personal power. That you can speak of yourself with honesty. (Drinks the last of the whiskey, sets glass on table.)
First stranger: (Licks lips involuntarily)
Man: (Looks at the sky outside) Now I wonder if, when someone told me “all I want is for you to be happy,” they really meant “all I want is for you to have a life of your own and get out of my hair”.
Man: If, when they said, “Do anything you want,” they meant, “do something.”
Man: Hrm.
Man: (Notices the strangers have left)
Man: (Pets cat) (Drinks the last drops of liquid in the glass)
Man: (To cat) I wonder if that is what I meant.
Man: (Sighs, begins typing fresh story)

And the streets will flow with whiskey

M was in Innsbruck, which is beautiful in snow and rich; the advent markets there are fancy and bookstores plush but the mountains around it are high and somewhat overbearing, and the hotel was a dump. His wifi barely worked. He befriended two silverfish in the bathroom. He named them Gregor1 and Gregor2.

Then it was decided that his little group would drive back to Vienna in the middle of the night, in the snow, which was crazy. But doing crazy things, he discovered, can launch you into an alternate universe. It did that night, he saw unusual things like rows of trucks stopped to put on chains, or whole flocks of them sleeping in rest stops and gas stations until the storm passed; or maybe they do that every night. And German police asked them for identification, M’s little group, and advised against eating at that truck stop and M wondered why. Was the food bad? The service? The clientele?

And M slept a little, and the others, except for the driver, and they arrived at 2.30 in the morning and he finally got to sleep at 4 and woke up in the wrong universe and he’s still trying to figure it out. Everything is pretty much the same, but only pretty much.

His daughter’s street flows with whiskey. Or smells like it at least.

His other daughter is a little bit funnier than before. Driving into town, he tells her about a friend’s trepidation at bathing in a spa said to have special curative powers for gynecological diseases. Gamma says, the waters supposed to cure diarrhea are probably pretty bad, too.

M thinks he has all his Christmas presents in time this year. Definitely the wrong universe.

On whisk(e)y in Austria, part one of one, or possibly two.

It’s sunny out, the first sunny day after many rainy ones – unpredictable days of strong rain. And it’s a holiday. So I’m inside blogging and Gamma is upstairs trying to get Sims to install on her laptop. We did have lunch outside with my wife and her father. And Gamma and I did drive into town for ice cream. So we have not been like locked up all day or anything.

And I did go hiking with a friend this weekend. Actually we visited a couple distilleries, and hiked a little to kill some time. Although it was a rainy weekend in most parts of the country, we were very fortunate that the little spot we visited had some very nice weather. Saturday evening we sat around in a small distillery and tasted the products, while our friendly and generous host, the distiller, explained the technolgy behind it, and his philosophy of distilling and life in general.

We purchased several of his products when we left. He makes a good rye whisky and some nice single malt (I bought a bottle of his vat-strength) and several different fruit schnapps, including huckleberry (very subtle), raspberry, and pear. I would like to write a more detailed account of our trip, and still may, if I find the time. But probably not. We’ll see.

And my friend even gave me a ukulele lesson. It was a very nice way to spend a weekend.

Not only that, but the flowers I ordered for my wife came on time for our anniversary on Sunday, so she was in a good mood when I got home.

And yesterday we saw a big rainbow.

Is this a message, finally, or just another day?

I saw Buddha in the road on my way to work this morning and stomped on the gas, but that fucker jumped out of the way just in time.

Also, guess what? My windshield cracked day before yesterday. I don’t even think a rock hit it, it just cracked for the hell of it. Just because I’m just that kind of cracked windshield guy.

And finally, in conclusion, thanks whiskey river for everything, but today, especially, for this.