Now could this possibly be a coincidence that the phone would interrupt his slumber twice in a row like this? James eased out of his chair and answered the phone.
Like last time, it turned out to be a fax machine on the other end. He looked at the clock. It was not the same time as last night so it wasn’t on some sort of automatic dialing schedule. Jerk.
James sat back down in his easy chair and reflected on what he had been dreaming about before the rude phone call. The feeling of still sitting at that table next to the window at the now long-demolished Holiday Bowl persisted. Larraine seemed so real. So real. He even wondered if wherever she was, she had the same dream but from her eyes.
Wherever she was. Where would that be? He hadn’t seen her since.. well, since college and that was a long time ago. And when was the last time, if ever, that he had dreamed about her?
Ten bottles left.
James made a rare appearance in his office the next day. He loved the recent switch to being able to work from home most of the time, meaning not having to put up with parking lot-like morning and late afternoon traffic as well as wearing the most comfortable clothes imaginable as he spent his workday inside of his house.
But today he had meetings to attend. Did anyone really find meetings useful or was it just a way to evade real work? As a most welcome lunchtime rolled around, James and his counterpart Roger headed over to one of their favorite eateries, Enrique’s. Now that was one thing he missed about working from home - the lunches. Not enough to drag him back into the commuting world, though.
“All I can say is that’s bizarre,” Roger told James after hearing his account of the case of Zephyr wine from Annie Annie and the subsequent pair of dreams. “That doesn’t sound like coincidence to me,” he added.
James nodded. “Me neither. But how can a bottle of wine do that to anyone? Two nights in a row?”
“You could try a placebo, you know. Open up a different wine tonight and try that. See what happens.”
“Hmm… I’ve had plenty of other wines before and never anything like that. Sleepy, yes, but I sure never remembered any dreams afterwards. Besides,” James told him, “if I tried a placebo tonight it would mean I’d have to wait another day to try the third bottle.”
“You’ve got twelve bottles,” Roger pointed out. “Actually ten, now. You don’t want to use them up too fast. Then they’re all gone.”
James pondered that one. “True. Maybe I should conduct this little experiment you suggested and find out if it makes a difference.”
Roger laughed. “Try it and see. But then that carne asada you’re having might give you some weird dreams tonight anyway.”
“I’ll let you know what happens,” said James. “Maybe I’ll stop off and get a bottle of Two Buck Chuck on the way home.”
Roger grinned. “So you’re looking for nightmares now? Look, get yourself something decent so you know if it’s the wine or not.”
James followed Roger’s advice. He visited a local wine shop on the way home and asked for something exotic but not terribly expensive. Something ready to drink right now. The sales consultant handed him a bottle of Negrette. “You won’t regret a Negrette,” was what the guy said.
That evening James followed the routine of the previous two nights. Dinner, clean up, then into the easy chair where he poured out a glass. This was something different. Deep plum in color, the aromas of this wine were intoxicating. Like a garden had been unleashed in his room. Not anywhere near as captivating as the two little bottles of Zephyr, but nevertheless very nice.
James swirled, sniffed, sipped. He repeated. This was a good wine. The glass was almost gone and he could feel the effects of the alcohol but didn’t feel the least bit sleepy, even as he closed his eyes and relaxed.
I tried the placebo. No effect, James wrote in his e-mail to Roger.
The reply came after a few minutes. Well there’s still tonight. Sweet dreams, buddy.
Maybe tonight, like Roger said. James corked what remained in the bottle and put it in the refrigerator. He was sorely tempted to open that third bottle of Zephyr but in the interest of respecting the scientific method, he decided to wait. Now isn’t that noble of me, he chuckled to himself.
After a bit of surfing the internet and watching the news, James flopped into bed. It occurred to him that the annoying fax machine hadn’t dialed him tonight.
To be continued.
(note: confession time - never having had a Negrette myself, the description above was based on tasting notes from Dr. Deb's excellent blog, Good Wine Under $20, and her particular review can be found by clicking here.)
View the Amazon.com product page for the soundtrack: