30 days of short stories #3 [flash fiction]

The Art of Whiskey

“You either get better at drinking whiskey or you get worse,” said the old man.

“Or in our case both,” said the younger man, who was not young, but younger than the old man. Relative to a young man he may be considered old. But in this context he was younger.

“If whiskey was a religion, I’d be devout,” said the old man.

“We are here every Sunday,” said the younger man.

They sat on milk crates behind the mercado, next to the dumpster. The scent of putrefaction no longer bothered their olfactory.

“When I die, I want to be reincarnated as a whiskey bottle,” said the old man. “I want to be manufactured somewhere in the Midwest — like Milwaukee or something — somewhere cooler. All of my component parts; the glass, the label, the lid, will be artisanally crafted by cheese-eating pensioners. The whiskey will be the finest in the world, made by the finest distillers from the finest mash.

“And I will be left on the shelf for 100 years, full of the finest whiskey,” he concluded.

“When I die,” retorted the younger man, “I want to be reincarnated as Zooey Deschanel’s favorite shade of lipstick.”

They sat there and thought about that for awhile.

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