‘Stage fright?’ Laughed Alistair incredulously.
‘And why is that so funny,’ thought William, reproaching himself silently, he should never have said anything, least of all to that brute.
‘Hey Cosimo! Cosimo!’ Alistair began bawling across our stylish, yet understated decking.
‘Cosimo! Guess what William has contracted!’ He continued.
Cosimo was our pet name for Charlus, Charlus-Ottoman in fact, partly because of our house rules pertaining to double barrelled names, and partly because of his Florentine sculpt physique - we are awfully clever like that.
‘Correct me,’ Alistair said, turning on William, after it became clear Cosimo was ignoring him, ‘but I thought it was only actors, who were afflicted by stage fright,’
William knew that Alistair always struggled with metaphors.
‘You are murdering that cocktail,’ he said trembling.
‘There it is again,’ said Alistair.
‘There’s what?’ William seethed.
The drink Alistair was tossing around so carelessly should have six distinct layers. The grenadine, lime and pomegranate mixer, has to be applied first, to a cold glass with the upmost subtlety, then follows a medley of liqueurs, including a few rare numbers, the exact recipe of which is a strict house secret, invented somewhat empirically, after many a failed attempt - needless to say it is not a light undertaking to create such a thing, our cocktails are only a drink in the sense that the wandering albatross is a bird or Michelangelo was a man.
‘You haven’t taken up acting have you dear boy, on the sly like?’ He slurred mockingly.
‘Three layers,’ thought William, ‘keep it still, keep it still, keep it still.’
‘Are you listening to me?’ Alistair blurted out, finding it all terribly amusing.
William wasn’t listening, he was absorbed.
‘Just hold it upright for Christ’s sake!’ He cried, ‘The layers are mixing!’
‘You are a maniac!’ Alistair guffawed, ‘it’s suppressed ordinarily, but when you drink, oh boy, it all comes out!’
Fear gripped William in the face of such homogeneity. Alistair will not be invited again.
Cosimo stumbled over, ‘What’s getting him so excited?’ He asked William.
Alistair was laughing hysterically. The cocktail was destroyed. The king is dead long live the king.