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Cachu Hwch Revisited

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Very carefully, Michael poured the dregs of his red wine into his glass. He liked to think he’d made emptying the last drops inside a bottle into an exact science. Nothing wasted, nothing gained. He had been sipping a passable Malbec mindlessly throughout the day and couldn’t believe there was only a third--no, less than that--left in the bottle.

His glass wasn’t even large; that was the funny thing. It was of an average, acceptable size, made only bigger by the paltry splash of wine in it. Michael raised the glass to his lips, then changed his mind.

Cachu hwch,” Michael grumbled and peered inside the bottle one last time to check that he hadn’t missed anything. And of course, he hadn’t.

“Why don’t you just open another bottle?” David volunteered brightly. His voice was a touch tinny coming from the speakers of the iPad sat on Michael’s kitchen counter, but something else (irony, maybe?) came through loud and clear. “’S even after five. See, here.”

David shut his eyes tight, pressed two fingers against his temple and began to hum, as if he was some cheap David Blaine knockoff gearing up for a magic trick.

The humming continued, until Michael lost patience and let out a noisy breath. “What are you doing? You better not be summoning haggis.”

“Course not. I think that might even be unpatriotic or illegal off season. One of those. Burns’ Night is ages away. But we got some going in the oven. Georgia found some on offer. So now we’ve got...loads.” David opened his eyes again.

“Haggis is on offer?” Michael cocked an eyebrow, momentarily distracted from his plight. Because he was a bigger person than the likes of David Tennant, he kept it to himself that chez Tennant was probably full of on-offer (translation: nearly off) haggis because the man couldn’t be trusted around lasagne. But then, it was also probably unpatriotic or illegal or both to muck up neeps and tatties and haggis for supper.

Michael took a sip of wine and remembered he wasn’t meant to. Shit. Now he had, at a generous estimate, maybe three sips left. Nowhere near enough to see him through the evening. This was a disaster.

“Well, yeah. Probably because Burns’ night is ages away, like I said.” David didn’t seem to have noticed. Then he said, “What’s with that look?”

“Well.” Michael started and stopped. He put his glass down and made a show of pushing it offscreen, far away from him. “Nothing. Why were you humming?”

“Oh.” David gestured grandly. “I was thinking I’d help you. If you opened another bottle and topped up your glass, I’ll pretend it’s your first. See, like magic. What?” By the sudden glint in David’s eyes, it was clear he’d figured it out. If it had been possible to reach through the window of a Zoom call and throttle David until the blooming smirk was off his face, Michael would have seriously considered it.

“...Michael, there is another bottle, right?”

Michael said, “Oh, shut up.”


“If anything, Georgia and I’ve been drinking less. We keep forgetting where we hide the bottle opener. So we just...yeah, can’t be arsed. But you know, it’s nice to have a glass on a Friday.” David made a big deal of plonking the unopened wine bottle onto the kitchen counter while looking around for a corkscrew. Michael spied one right by the cooktop behind him, but he was pretty sure David was ignoring it on purpose.

Finally, Michael pointed. “It’s behind you.”

David whirled around. “Oh. Good spot. Cheers.”

Michael had to look away while David poured himself a not-ungenerous glass of wine. So far, his own glass was still off-screen and would stay that way.

David said, after he’d gulped wine like some sort of pleb, “Couldn’t you get another? There’s a corner shop near you, isn’t there?”

“I…” Michael trailed off. “I’m not going to the corner shop twice in one day.” He rushed through that quickly and soldiered on, “Might have gone a bit overboard with the charcuterie last night. Anna’s still away for a couple of days. Getting a flight back’s looking hideous.”

It was David’s turn to raise an eyebrow. “So you’re out of wine. And charcuterie.” (Charcuterie was one of those words that sounded especially ludicrous in Scottish.)

Michael sighed. “Yeah.”

“What’re you doing for dinner then?”

“I haven’t a fucking clue. We’ve got,” Michael paused. Anna had left a detailed list of what they’d had in the house. However, he’d stopped listening after she said he could finish the leftover charcuterie. After all, she was away and it’d be a shame if it went in the bin. “I think I’ve got eggs.”

“Make some scrambled eggs,” David suggested. “My seven-year-old can make that. As you can see I still have a kitchen.”

“Fuck off, will you?” Michael growled. He treated himself to the tiniest swallow of wine. “I’m not having scrambled eggs for supper.”

“Maybe you can get a pizza,” David pressed his mouth against the side of his glass, careful of the angle this time, so Michael couldn’t tell whether he was smirking a lot. “If you ask really nicely, they’ll probably bring you some booze.”

Michael opened his mouth to tell him to fuck off again when an alarm sounded urgently from David’s kitchen. David jumped, but managed to keep a hold of his glass. The bastard.

“Oh Christ, the haggis is over.” David frowned, squinting hopefully into the oven. Once he opened it, he looked crestfallen once more. “I’ll have to get the pizza in before Georgia notices.”

Michael said, rather savagely, “I think she’s going to notice if neeps and tatties suddenly turned into pizza.”

“Yeah, whatever.” David waved a hand dismissively, glass still in hand. “I’ve got to go. Talk tomorrow?”

“Yeah, yeah,” Michael said, fumbling through drawers to look for the takeaway pizza menu that was in there somewhere. “We’ll talk tomorrow. Enjoy your bloody pizza.”