It was almost midnight when Mr. K woke up. He had seen a very nice dream, and, being a writer, he decided it was something worth keeping. Carefully, because he didn’t want to wake up his wife and his 7-year-old son, he went down a flight of stairs to the ground floor.

Before he turned on his computer, he poured himself a glass of whiskey. It was a special whiskey which he drank only when he was about to write something. Sadly, the bottle was empty, but luckily he found a bottle an unknown old man had given him 7 months ago when he was presenting his new book. The bottle had an address, but Mr. K didn’t pay attention. He remembered though, what the old man told him:

This is a very special bottle. Drink and your life will change forever”.

So, he opened the bottle, and tasted it. The taste on his mouth was very bitter, like it was expired or something and for a moment he tried to spit it. But he didn’t, he kept it in his mouth, and after a few seconds the taste became something he had never felt before.

Fully content, he went on to write down his dream.

As he was writing the dream, he started seeing images in the air. It was his dream coming to life.

Hell! That’s a pretty damn good whiskey”, he exclaimed.

So he continued to write the story, while he was drinking his “new” whiskey and watching the images forming in the air.

After a while, looking at the bottle, he saw it was almost empty. But his story was about to finish, too, so he put the last drop of whiskey in the glass and continued writing. Now the images around him were bigger, it was like he was living inside them. The images were not really concrete; he was mostly seeing faces and colors.

And just before the night was done, Mr. K. finished his story and his whiskey. Strangely enough, he had drunk a full bottle of whiskey but he wasn’t drunk.

Damn, I must find the old man that he gave it to me”, he said, looking the bottle.

And that was when he saw the label.

Hell yes! This is an address, and it is a few blocks away from here!”, he said happily.

Without losing time, he dressed up, checked up on his wife and his son to make sure they were sleeping and went to find the old man.

His face was burning from the lust of finding another bottle of whiskey, or, who knows, many bottles!

After a while, he arrived outside the old man’s house. It was early in the morning and, for a moment, he hesitated to ring the bell, but his lust for another bottle was too strong.

He knocked at the door, and within a few seconds the old man opened the door. Without looking at him, he told him to step inside. He followed the old man without saying a word. They headed towards the fireplace. There were two big armchairs there. The old man told him to sit down, and he sat on the other chair.

Mr. K was in a big hurry. He was desperate for that bottle of whiskey. The old man was smoking his pipe with slow moves.

I know why you are here”, he told him. “You need another bottle of whiskey”, he continued.

Yes, yes, I need another bottle Sir! You know, I’m a writer and the bottle you gave to me was the most beautiful drink I’ve ever had” Mr.K said.

Do you remember what I told you when I gave you the bottle?”, the old man asked.

No, I don’t, but what does it matter now?”, Mr. K responded.

It matters, because what I told you is something that you’ll pay for now.

I’ll pay, I’ll pay! Just tell me how much money you want”, Mr. K said decidedly.

The old man started to laugh. He was laughing very loud, as Mr. K was watching him with hesitation. After a while, the old man told Mr. K:

The phrase that I told you seven months ago, was that this bottle was very special and it would change your life forever”.

Now Mr. K started not feeling well. He started wondering who this man was. Why did he tell him that his life would change forever? Was he …Death himself? He tried to leave, but he couldn’t move his legs! It was as if someone had nailed his legs to the ground. He tried to speak, but he had no voice!

What has happened to me? Am I going to die?” he feared.

The old man got up from the armchair, and moved to the other room. Mr. K’s heart was now racing. He was sure that the old man was Death! And he couldn’t move, nor speak! He was thinking about his wife and his son, when the old man came back into the room. He was holding something in his hand, something Mr. K couldn’t make out. The old man stood in front of Mr. K and said laughing:

I told you that this bottle will change your life forever! This is my product. You know I am making a few bottles a year, and now I’m happy that I have someone to share it with and appreciate it! Don’t worry; I know that you feel strange now.  It is because of the whiskey. In a few moments you will be fine”.

And yes, after a few moments Mr. K was absolutely fine! As it turns out, the old man wasn’t … Death, not even someone with a very dark plan. He was a whiskey-maker; he was just an old man who wanted to share his passion with someone else.

Then, every year Mr. K before beginning writing a book he would visit the old man. They drank a bottle together and he would take with him an extra bottle for writing.

So Drink, Drink, Drink And Be Ill Tonight”* = Smiths – Unhappy Birthday

Story by: Konstantinos Pamfiliss

Illustration: Sofia Kyrisoglou