January 18, 2016
The moonshine, clear and innocuous as water, is offered in rustic form, in a jar. I inquire about its potency and Mike says: two hundred proof plus. That alarms me since tequila, an unforgiving force from the hallucinogenic mescal cactus, only packs eighty proof. Intrigued by the spirit of youthful experimentation, I sip a little, not more than it would take to douse a gnat, and feel that trickle roar down my throat and explode in my stomach. After hyperventilating a couple minutes I timidly try a little more and experience more internal combustion.
“Tastes like kerosene,” I say, “That’s it for me.”
“Come on, wuss,” says Mike.
“Okay, let’s drink it with orange juice, like screwdrivers.”
“I’m doin it straight.”
In about twenty minutes Mike downs five shots, equal to some thirteen ounces of humane liquor, and is lucky he doesn’t die, though he might prefer the hereafter to spending the night alternately hanging his head in the toilet or groaning, in fetal position, on an adjacent rug.
I sip blistering drinks and wake up with a dead frog in my mouth.