Reichardt re-entered the room carrying a tray that bore a fine cut glass decanter and four matching glasses. He set it upon the table and filled each glass with generous draft of red gold liquid. He placed a glass each before me and my Father. A third glass he placed on the window sill across the room. He gave a sharp whistle and then turned to face us. He raised his own glass. “To unexpected guests!” he said and downed the contents in one swallow.
Father and I followed his example. The liquid burned on its descent to my stomach but in a very pleasant way. It tasted of honey and pepper and ginger. My eyes watered and I felt the tightness of my muscles relax. I looked to the window. The glass remained on the sill but now it was empty.