: Last Rites :
an excerpt by Don Waters
Billy’s mother’s wine cellar was in the rear of the second kitchen, down a helix staircase. Every time we went it was like entering a secret cave, expecting to discover in the damp, semi-dark nook special treasure or ordnance. We whispered amid green slotted bottles, so many, and on such fine, tall shelves that the place reminded me of a library.
On that day Billy stood at the shelves, carefully considering his choices. Each bottle’s long neck accused like a finger. Over the past six months he’d emptied the shelves, one and then another. I watched him fist two bottles with red labels. He gave them to me and pulled out several others.
“This should last a night,” he said.