By Jim Wrigley, UK
“By way of an introduction, before telling this story I should point out that when I travel I have a habit of noting things down in all the empty spaces in my books. Thoughts, ideas, snippets of conversations are written on the inside of the cover, in the margins of the pages, so in the end the book tells its own story and that of my journey.
“I was in Chinatown in San Francisco during the autumn a few years back when I realised that I’d lost the book I’d been writing in for the whole trip. This was a major blow as in the blank spaces of the book the recipe for a great mixed drink was coming together. I had envisaged the ingredients, the spirits, even the glass during my trip, and I thought that with the addition of just one final touch it could become a sublime drink, perhaps my magnum opus.
“So I decided to retrace all my steps that day. I looked everywhere but I couldn’t find it. By the evening, when I had finally decided to give up and go back to the hotel, I was weary and dejected. Suddenly, something hit me gently on the shoulder, and I saw, as it fell to the ground: it was a flower. I whirled around to see a girl smiling at me from a curtained window. She must have thrown the flower, jokingly, to attract my attention. As I smiled back at her and took a step toward the window, she quickly withdrew inside and the light curtains fell into place behind her.
“That’s when I noticed the girl had left a glass of iced tea on an open book on the window sill. I peered through the fabric of the curtain but the room was empty and still. Then the aroma of the tea reached me. It was delicious, black and smoky. On lifting the cup I glanced at the book, noticed the scrawled notes and immediately recognised the handwriting. I was astonished: it was my book.
“I looked down and saw my incredulous expression reflected in the surface of the drink. I took another sip of that fantastic tea and realised that, as well as my book, I had just found the ingredient that my cocktail was lacking. In memory of that wonderful twist of fate, I called it Beyond the Veil.”