Monday, August 21, 2006
Tailspin Tiki Tickle
This is the first of the aforementioned columns.
"I’m turning 21 at midnight! You gotta come drink with me!"
"Sure, absolutely! You’re finally getting your juice card! This is great! Where at?"
"There’s a little tiki bar on River Road. Lots of fruity drinks full of yummy goodness. I’m gonna try to keep my composure and not get too trashed. Plus I’ll have my girlfriends there to protect me from all the sleazy guys trying to take the drunk chick home for a one night stand."
"They can’t protect you from me. I’ll ply you with vodka and rough kisses until you submit."
"You can try!"
"You know that place is practically in my backyard, right? I mean, I can walk out my front door, walk around the side, go up River Road about 100 yards, and I’m at the bamboo door. No driving necessary."
"Yep. We won’t have to flee very far. Assuming, that is, that you’re still capable of standing upright."
"That’s a big maybe. I’ve never been much of a drinker."
"Well, don’t worry, I’ll hold your hair away from your face when you’re spraying puke at the hanging sea urchin decorations."
"You’re all class."
"Momma raised me right. I’m a gentleman, the genuine article."
"I hope not."
I arrived just past midnight, decked out in ragged blue jeans, boat slippers, and collared silk. I felt like a bohemian software designer who got lost on the way to a coffee shop. I swaggered in, looking for the girl who looked a tad young to be drinking anywhere but in her parents’ basement, or maybe a forest preserve. There she was, all dolled up, eyes big and bright and a little bit scared. She looked like a rookie.
I joined her and her friends, who were all giggling over the menu.
"Happy Birthday, darlin! May I have the honor of being your first?"
"I’d like to be the first guy to buy you a drink. Why so shocked and appalled?”
"But you said-"
"I know, I know. I thought you liked innuendo. You’re not so brazen with your girlfriends present. I forgive you, peach. Does a Queen Kalama sound good? Pineapple and rum?"
"Will I get an umbrella with that?"
"You certainly shall. Just look around you. With all these pineapples, palm leaves, shark teeth, seashells, and bamboo, I think it would be criminal neglect by the staff to serve even a single drink without a tiny umbrella. I’ll bet they could get fired for forgetting one."
"You look jittery. Nervous? I know just the thing to loosen you up. Alcohol. Shitloads of alcohol. So much alcohol that gravity gets drunk, too. Whaddaya say?"
Her two friends shot me looks. One reproachful, indicating she thought I should take a less hearty, less destructive approach. The other friend’s look was encouraging, full of conspiring mischief. Good. She would be my ally. She wanted to help get my young sweetheart rip roaring wasted. Excellent.
"Yes! Hello. I’d like to order one Ku Tiki, a Mai Kai No, a Boomerang, and one of those evil Japanese gin martinis for me. Oh, and a round of shots, too. We’re serious tonight. What’s your pleasure, sweetie?"
"Schnapps? Really? Well, it’s your birthday. I will warn you, though, schnapps is rocket fuel for your vomit muscle. Fair warning. Okay, enough negative talk. Let’s get our drink on!"
The girl was tougher than she looked. Maybe I wasn’t used to all that fruity sugary shit, being a gin, bourbon, or beer type fellow, but I started to feel queasy after two hours of slugging syrupy booze sludge. I refused to show any signs of weakness, however, and I bravely soldiered on, waving over the waitress for the umpteenth time.
"Yes! Hallo! More umbrella-ey thing-a-ma-bobbers! We be thirsty landlubbers!"
"One more and it’s cutoff, young man. You’re all looking a bit green."
How right she was. Luckily, I held my stomach. My dear birthday girl finally reached her limit halfway through her Dr. Funk Of Tahiti, a disgusting licorice flavored drink.
I never got to hold her hair while she vomited, because there was no warning. No belly clutching, no mad dash to the ladies room, no miserable groaning. Nope, it all happened very suddenly.
From directly across the table, she belched, surprised to be doing so, and then threw up a Caribbean tidal wave, extinguishing the candle, darkening my silk shirt, and speckling the bottom half of my face. The girl really put a lot of distance on it.
"Urk. Ulgh. I’m so sorry. Ohhh…."
"That’s okay. Happy Birthday, sweetie." 11:37 AM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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