The Merlot dribbles in a clockwise flow from a small slit in the wooden barrel. The dim light, escaping from the flickering fluorescent tube, enhances the dark crimson colour of the wine.

Dave, lying on the cold, stone cellar slabs, mouth open, catching every drop of the vintage red, isn’t appreciating the soft tannins nor the wild fruit flavours. No, he is simply getting drunk.

Above him, in the white linen-lined room, is the bride, scrunched in a corner near the fallen, layered cake. From a distance, the white dress appears to be covered in intricately embroidered red roses, the colour of wine. Closer inspection would reveal that, although it is a liquid, it has never seen the inside of a barrel. Unfortunately for the bride, she had recently seen the outside of a double-barrel. So had the groom. A real shotgun wedding.

ABBA plays on.

Dave closes his mouth for a few seconds, allowing the cool, scarlet stream to roll over his lips. Somewhere in the distance a siren screams. The police probably won’t get too many invites to weddings. They’ll have to radio through to their ambulance friends when they discover what awaits them behind the large, wooden doors. Gatecrashers.

Dave is aware that the carnage is all his fault, so he reopens his mouth and allows a self-service refill. His back is getting stiff and his thoughts are growing blurry. Images of knives and flashing guns zip through his mind.

Being a professional wedding planner he should never have made such a blunder.

He should have double checked.

The bride had used his services for her first wedding. Dave had mistakenly sent the invites for her second big day to all the friends and family of her first husband.

Oops.  Cheers.

Published: First Prize Winner, Microcosms