The bottle hissed as Rollney broke the seal. Air seeped in to disturb the contents for the first time in decades.
"This," said Rollney, "is the good stuff. No knock-offs here." He poured one parsimonious dose apiece. "It's been a long time for you, I gather. Well, this'll set you right. True hope is... well, you'll see."
The liquid shimmered, a bare half-inch in each shot glass.
"So things will get better after this, right? It's true, not false?"
Rollney held his glass to the light. "Ah, well, that's the thing with hope, true or false. You can't ever know."
The Best of Clarkesworld 2012+
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