The man from Glasgow, surprisingly dull
and quick, like a sunshine of partial cloud,
stops near us and asks “These people, Serbs —”
We say they are Croats. It's not the same
to them. Take care. Think Scotland and England.
“Bugger that,” he says. “Do they have liquor?
Good stuff. Liqueurs and that?”. And we say Yes.
We are drinking Orahovac. Walnut.
We've had two litres in the last ten days.
We were surprised when we counted it. It is
delicious. He practices the name with us
and smiles: “Right then,” he says, walking off,
leaving his wife to speak apologies
and say that she prefers a glass of wine.
He returns with a brown bag: “Is this the one?”.
We say it is. “Right then.” He pulls the cork
and swigs a large mouthful; holds it; grimaces;
turns sideways to us and spits everything
on to the piazza. “Jesus Christ! That's bad.
What's that?” We say it's walnuts. “Is it now?
Nuts? I hate the bloody things. You have it.”
He pushes me bottle and top; and strides
towards the hotel bar, his wife following.
Lawrence Upton (UK)