The explosive boom from the basement shook the entire house. Dmitri handed the shot glass to his old friend Alexi, then licked the bit of Vodka that had spilled from it onto his fingers. “na zdarovje”
Alexi looked alarmed. “My old friend, are you brewing something in your cellar?”
Dmitri wordlessly downed his vodka, pouring himself a second.
“What is happening?”
“Come, I will show you.” He walked to a thick door and unlocked it. When he opened it, the orchestral sounds of the 1812 overture blasted both men in the face. As they descended the stone stairs, he shouted over the final notes. “When papa died, I inherited a most unusual collection.” On a dusty table were several even dustier old wine bottles.
Alexi approached them and flipped over a label. Pyotr Tchaikovsky.
“Hands off, you oaf! You want to molest someone, go molest Igor. He likes being Avante-garde.”
“At least I experiment!” The bottle labeled Stravinsky argued. “Rite of Spring—”
“Sent everyone running for cover!” Tchaikovsky cut him off, shouting.
“Dmitriyevich? What are these?”
“The spirits of Russia’s greatest composers. You’ve met Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky, these are Rimski-Korsakov, Rachmaninoff, Grandpapa Shostakovich.” Dmitri pointed out each bottle in turn.
“You keep souls in wine bottles in your cellar? Including your Grandpapa?”
He nodded. “They still write new music for me. Beautiful music.” Rachmaninoff began complaining about modern Russian bass singers, and Dmitri sighed. “I wish I knew if it was blessing or a curse.”