Up on the deck of his yacht Han surveyed the coastline with the same ice blue Aryan eyes that had undressed and seduced a thousand women. Leaning back he draped one arm lazily across the blue and gold upholstery as he swirled his whiskey on the rocks.
It was a beautiful evening and up ahead the lights on the island were beginning to twinkle. But his enjoyment of the moment was sullied by the knowledge that this was probably going to be his worst birthday yet. Best that he accept it now rather than later he decided. Instead of the typical hedonistic celebrations he usually opted for he’d agreed to meet his younger brother who for some strange reason insisted on going out for birthday drinks this year. Han had been under the impression he didn’t drink alcohol but was glad to find that he was wrong. As a rule the two of them rarely saw each other what with Han’s high flying lifestyle and Leo’s aversion for all things conventional. But just for once things looked as though they may turn out a little differently than he expected.
“Good to see you!” cried Leo as Han stepped up and out of the launch. Han stood awkwardly as Leo clapped him ecstatically on the back. He grinned in spite of himself realising that it actually felt good to see his brother again.
“So what’s the story then Leo? What have you got planned for us?” said Han rubbing his hands together wickedly. “Strippers? A visit to some back alley brothel? Some good quality dope?”
He said this in a light hearted way but when Leo’s eyes momentarily lost their sparkle he knew he’d taken it as a jibe; a poke at his simplistic, bohemian lifestyle.
“I think it’s important that we mark your thirtieth birthday together. What we do or do not do is irrelevant,” answered Leo solemnly.
Han eyed his brother’s overgrown sideburns, wispy blonde hair braid and unbuttoned steel grey Kaftan doing his best not to roll his eyes. His chest was bare underneath.
God! He sounded like fucking Yoda! And how the hell had he gotten a body like that anyhow?
It was like something from the movies. All chiselled and golden and without a single hair. For a few seconds jealousy twisted his mouth but was quickly banished when Han reminded himself just how many digits there were in his bank balance.
He smirked to himself and followed Leo to his beat up old Chevy truck. He had half expected to find a donkey saddled up and waiting.
“So where are we going?” Han asked once more as they navigated a heavily pot holed road.
“I told you. We’re going for drinks.”
“So you do mean alcohol?” said Han in disbelief.
“Yes. Why is that so hard to believe?” Leo answered, swerving to miss an old man with his goat.
“Because you don’t drink. Well at least I thought you didn’t…”
“I only imbibe alcoholic drinks if they have health benefits,” replied Leo looking deadly serious.
“Health benefits!” snorted Han. “There are no health benefits to drinking bud. You just ask my liver.”
“Maybe you haven’t found the right tipple then,” said Leo pulling up outside a quaint little bar.
Paper lanterns hung from the trees and incense impregnated candles filled the air with their musky scent. From unseen speakers a woman sang in a softly lilting language unknown to Han and a river burbled close by.
Taking a seat beneath a palm tree the two brothers beckoned the bar man to their table.
“I have no idea what to order so I’ll happily to leave it to you,” smiled Han magnanimously.
Leo nodded and with perfect fluency ordered them drinks in the native tongue. Not long after the man reappeared with a tray bearing multiple shot glasses of unnamed alcohol and a bowl piled high with plantain chips, a basket of miniature flat breads and some sort of rice dish.
Without skipping a beat Han reached out and grabbed a shot glass of eye watering grog.
“No, no!” said Leo. “You must eat first. Else your stomach may bleed.”
“What the fuck?” cried Han holding out the drink as though it were poison, which indeed it was in a manner of speaking.
“There’s nothing to worry about as long as you eat first,” said Leo reassuringly.