The older man sighed and pushed the water bottle away on the dusty desk. The HDPE container had replaced the shot glass etched with a map of Scotland, and in his mind it became, in that instant, a symbol of the direction this weary planet seemed to be going...glass can be recycled... he thought; he pulled the flask from the fine, thick leather belt holding up his Campbell Clan kilt and blew the dust from the glass; he poured a stiff Laguvalin and took in the deep, pungent aroma.
He looked above the waning shadows cast by the low evening sun across the months of dust and gloom; his friend Kany sat looking back, wanting just a sign that things could once again be resurrected.
Kany watched as the amber liquid flowed in a most random pattern across the bottom of the glass; he stopped and shrugged his shoulders, filling the rest of the ounce-and-a-half; he handed the flask to Kany and gently caressed the shot of uise baetha, the water of life, in his other hand.
"Been a' wonderin' where ya gut ta, Kanster. Me guess is, ya been a' wonderin' whar I been, 's well. Truth is, been a tough 'alf yair, an' it 'as. Gut an idee, though. Let's throw a wairm oot thar, an' see wha' fish bites."
Kany smiled as he swigged. "Any idea come to mind?"
Agricolus sipped, savoring the sweet taste of the grains grown by a salty sea, roasted over the sulphorous steam from burning peat, aged in a brandy cask from Spain for 16 long, TLC-laden years. "Hae, an' I du, laddie buck. A short story, or even a 1000 word shorty, aboot man's devastation of the planet...centered aboot 'at water bottle, even. Grim, yet touchin'. Or just a story in general aboot the scourge of Man on 'is planet."
Kany smacked his lips and nodded. Then he frowned slightly. "Maybe a little lighter, perhaps?"
Agi smiled. "As yae wish. Writer's choice. Either bad weather an' ecological disaster, or a man and his dog. Or both. No time limit, but 'opefully less than two months. To yair likin'?"
Kany smiled. "Let's run it up the flagpole, see who salutes."
They clicked in agreement, flask on shot glass. Never spilled a drop.