The events of that evening have been often spoken about in hushed tones and whispers. No one knows what really happened mind you. Well, almost no one. Those who swear that they were there, that they saw it with their own eyes, are, I am afraid to say, liars and gossips.
At 12 PM on Sunday the 1st of September Lord Lindsey Lionel Pritchett IV received a letter. Now the most curious thing about this letter was not that it bore no return address, nor that none of the 4 guards at the front gate saw anyone come or go who could have dropped it off, nor even that it consisted merely of 11 words. The strangest thing about it was that it was supposedly written by a man who had been dead near a year. Suffice to say that Lord Pritchett was not amused, for he at once recognized the hand that was meant to have written these eleven words, “The bar good friend. The seventh at seven. Please do come.” and he did not appreciate the prank. Despite his abhorrently long name and his lofty title, Pritchett was a “proper gentleman” only when he had to be, and there were very few individuals who were privy to his true light-hearted nature. But despite his love for a good joke, there were some things he did not take lightly.
On Monday Lord Pritchett was visited my a dashing figure in white, with wavy hair of auburn and alabaster skin that almost made one need to shield one’s eyes. “Pritchett old boy,” said the voice of his University chum, Maya Patel, a lady by blood and a good-natured scoundrel by reputation, “You won’t believe this letter I received yesterday!” Maya was born to a Scandinavian mother and an Indian father. The issue of her name not matching her face had been brought up many times in her youth and had always ended with some boy being sent to the nurse with a bloody nose. Only two of those boys had ever dared to try to make fun of it twice.
The two exchanged letters and stories only to find that each’s mirrored the other’s. The silence that followed this realization was cut short only minutes later by the footsteps of Lord Pritchett’s private secretary. Another letter had arrived. “This is no joke dear friends. The bar. The seventh at seven. Please do come.“
The question of whether this was an elaborate hoax or a message from beyond was moot. Lord Pritchett was not one to be denied the opportunity to face his harasser and Ms. Patel never could pass up a good mystery. So it was that 5 days later the two found themselves at Victory Arms, a bar that they had frequented when they were younger, when life was still left to be lived and there was time for everything. They had not been in many, many years.
They entered the establishment to find it empty save the barman. They walked up to the bar and somehow managed themselves on to the shaky bar stools they used to occupy as regulars. Pritchett had the one on the end, Patel the one two down. The middle stool would be left empty. Its occupant wasn’t coming.
Before Lord Pritchett could move to order the barman pulled a bottle of scotch from the shelf, slammed in onto the bar, next to three glasses that were already lined up, dropped a cube of ice in each and then walked into the back. “Excuse me!” shouted Patel after him, “What was that all about? And why is this place empty?“
“This my friends, is a chance to say goodbye.” At once the two friends were transfixed. They knew that voice. And even though they knew it was impossible, even though every grey cell in their brains told them that what they were about to encounter was against the laws of science and physics and good reason, in their hearts they knew it to be true. Maybe because they were overwhelmed by the presence of something inexplicable. Maybe because they wanted more than anything for it to be so.
Neither turned. They just smiled as Maya poured a double into each glass on the bar and the three glasses were lifted in unison as three old friends shared a single simple beautiful moment over a sip of 12-year-old Balvenie Double Wood Single Malt. “Well I guess you were right James” said Maya, smiling even as tears began to flow from her eyes. “Yes you old devil you” said Pritchett, thinking to himself that if this was a dream he must never wake, “You always said you’d come back from the dead for a good Scotch.“