February 01, 2011

February 2011, Vol. 10, Issue 2

Another issue to keep you sane for the shortest month of the year

1. Sweet T'ings by Paul McGuire
The flavor of the Bahamas ran up my nose when I unpacked my bag and caught a whiff of my dirty clothes. If you ever want a quick and last memory of a vacation spot, just quickly inhale your clothes as soon as you unpack them...More

2. Early Night by Alex Villegas
I lit up and began my prowl around the casino. As a lone hunter I had to pick my prey wisely. But this time, the prey found me. I was on the second floor of the Rio casino stumbling about when she found me. She had a punkish mohawk and was equally as drunk as I was. Maybe drunker. We locked eyes and the inebriation served as a catalyst for horny telepathy...More

3. The Almond Tree by May B. Yesno
I'm predisposed to flights of imagination at this time and these email and referrals are not helping my mental health. They stir the still, quiet, layers of the mind and bubbles rise. There's a fellow here in my apartment building I have an occasional drink with at the local watering hole and after listening to me explain the mini-crisis I was under going said I was crazy and the only thing rising was methane...More

4. Valley Girls by Mark Verve
Everyone on the set knows that she'll never rise above the status of fluffer. It's just a matter time until she figures it out. I've watched her for several weeks now as she earned two hundred dollars a day plying her trade on command. She does her work day after day with a surprising enthusiasm. It almost appears as if she enjoys it... More

5. Training Wheels by AlCantHang
In the short term I was defeated by the bionic liver of my friend. In the long term I have come close to mastering the delicate balance of hard booze versus functionality with a few spectacular failures along the way. But I now had my drink of choice... More

What a Long Strange Trip It's Been...

From the Editor's Laptop

The February issue includes the debut of a new young writer, Alex Villegas. A few veterans return to the mix including everyone's favorite rockstar, AlCantHang. We also have a fetching tale from May B. Yesno and a flighty piece from Mark Verve, not to mention a bit of travel-inspired fodder from yours truly after a trip to the Bahamas.

The contributors at Truckin' write for the simple love of self-expression, which is a clever way of saying that they write for free. I'm amazed at the bold leaps of faith that those scribes take with every story by exposing their inner souls to you. With that in mind, I kindly ask you to help spread the word about your favorite stories. Good karma and many blessings will come your way for exposing new readers to our amazing crew of writers.

Contact us if you'd like to be added to the mailing list. And if you happen to be a scribe (published or non-published) who is interested writing for a future issue, then please contact us.

Lastly, thanks to you, the readers. The long-form written word is slowly dying off, but you're keeping the spirit alive with your unwavering support for Truckin'.

Be good,

"The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible." - Vladimir Nabokov

Sweet T'ings

By Paul McGuire © 2011

Our cabbie took off from the airport without asking us where to go. Nicky was slightly concerned, but I reassured her that everything was cool. He was obviously engrossed in the middle of an important phone call. I tried to put together what he was saying, but it was a combination of English and Bahamanian Creole.

After driving about five minutes the driver put his call on hold. He turned around and apologized to us, before he asked for our intended destination. I blurted out, "Atlantis. Coral Towers."

He nodded and repeated what I said before he quickly returned to his call. His conversation lasted for only a couple of more minutes.

"My bookie," he tried to explain, which he didn't have to.

I really didn't give two shits. I'm the last passenger on the island that would want to disrupt a transaction between a man and his bookie.

"I wanted Pick 4 tickets," he said as he passed a slow moving pickup. "Florida and New York."

Wow, a lottery degenerate. That's hardcore. I didn't ask if he wanted an actual ticket or if this was some sort of side action, like the mob running numbers back in the old neighborhood. Somethings in life I don't want to know about.

The cabbie pulled into Atlantis and I tipped him fairly decent, enough that he tried to sell me a bag of blow. I politely declined. Do you know the six words that aptly describes cocaine from the Caribbean? Clumps together, but only cut once.

* * * *

It's hard to be anything but a tourist in a place like Atlantis.

I pride myself on being a traveler, and not one of those gaudy tourists in floral print shirts clashing against their pinkish sunburned skin sipping tropical drinks while carrying around a mass market paperback. It is nearly impossible to blend in with the locals in the Bahamas. If anything, I feel like a parasite contributing to the downfall of modern society perpetuating neo-colonialism. The capitalist inside my head reminds me that hundreds if not thousands of Bahamanians would be without jobs if this monstrosity of a beach resort was not constructed on a small patch of coral and sand.

In many ways, the island's original name of Hog Island seems more appropriate than it's re-branded name of Paradise Island. Paradise seems elusive when you're paying $25 for a cheeseburger. I feel more like a hog rooting around in its own feces than someone in search of spiritual revitalization. I blame David Foster Wallace's remarkable essay about his experience on a cruise ship for ruining whatever fun I should be having. DFW made me question the stark fact that most vacation destinations are by definition gaudy and would be a hell of a lot better if tourists were not even there. I can't help but wonder what the island would look like without the resort -- I imagined only two shacks sprinkled along the beach, one that only sells conch and the other that had bottles of Kalik, the local brew, sitting in semi-lukewarm buckets of water.

When I took a long stroll on the beach with my girlfriend, I tried to imagine that we were all alone, just the two of us, feet sinking into the moist white sand with every step and dodging the run off of the waves. That illusion only lasted for a few fleeting moments before reality returned and I felt sorry for the lifeguard, who resembled a sherpa bundled up in a wool hat and several layers of clothing. He didn't look like someone ready to dart into the water and rescue a tourist from a shark attack. Then again, no one was actually swimming in the water because it was too cold and way to windy. The lifeguard's biggest challenge was avoiding frostbite.

* * * *

The flavor of the Bahamas ran up my nose when I unpacked my bag and caught a whiff of my dirty clothes. If you ever want a quick and last memory of a vacation spot, just quickly inhale your clothes as soon as you unpack them. They will smell like the last place you were when you wore or packed them. In this case, my clothes smelled like the Atlantis resort, moreover a combination of the beach and whatever air freshner the maids sprayed in the room. The Atlantis aroma is unique unto itself. It came back the moment I stepped into the sprawling monstrosity of a complex.

The last time I visited the Bahamas, I was in the middle of a work assignment and didn't really have time to enjoy fun in the sun, spending most of my time in a room watching poker players and spending my nights binge drinking Kaliks, the local beer, at the lobby bar with other members of the media, an eclectic hodgepodge of Canadians, Brits, Americans, Germans, and one giddy Frenchman.

On the current sojourn, my poison switched from Kalik to the Bahama Mama, a pink and fruity flavorful mixture of juices and rum. The secret of the concoction was that you couldn't taste any of the booze. The good barkeeps unleashed a heavy pour and you'd ingest at least three or four shots of rum with every cocktail. Some drinks with skimpy rum shots were heavily diluted with punch, but those were few and far between and sometimes welcomed because a weak fruity cocktail would slow down the booze intake. It was like easing off the breaks without actually easing off the breaks.

Pink and blue cocktails were the rage in the Bahamas. No one frowned upon you if you consumed seven or seventeen. In fact, considering the amount of booze in them, the drinks were the cheapest item at the Atlantis. Food cost an abysmal amount of money considering they also slapped you with a mandatory 15% service fee charge, which means they already got paid for the lackadaisical "island time" service that made European cafe waitresses look liked speed addicts. But for an overpriced resort, the drinks were fair market price. Cocktails at trendy lounges in LA, meat market clubs in Vegas, and hipster bars in NYC were priced much higher than those we consumed in the Bahamas. Booze was so freaking cheap in the islands that even at their inflated rates, we still got a bargain.

And that's why rum is evil.

Well, one of the many reasons. Delectable fruit-inspired cocktails with catchy names like Bahama Mama and Rum Runners go down so smooth because you can't taste the main ingredient...lots of rum. After the fourth cocktail everything went blurry and you spoke gibberish for three hours, then blacked out and woke up three hours later fully clothed with a pounding headache, cotton mouth, and a rum-induced sweat seeping through all of your clothes as your pores spewed every sip of rum that you consumed in the previous twelve hours.

Then you get up and do it all over again.

Paul McGuire is the author of Lost Vegas.

Early Night

By Alex Villegas © 2010

On our way out of the casino we spotted herd of sluts. This specific herd was of Asian descent, looked lost, and was dressed for a good time.

“What are you doing talking to me? Go get those girls,” said my colleague Dr. Pauly.

“I don’t know. I don’t have a wingman and I’m not even drunk,” I bitched.

“Stop bitching. You’re single, young and in Vegas, you don’t need a wingman. Now go get them,” replied Dr. P.


I ran back but the herd had migrated to cockier pastures. Devoid of any Asian sluts, I decided to drink. I sat down at the bar and, once again, deluded myself into thinking that I could drink for free if I played video poker. An hour and $50 later I was drunk and the delusion was over.

I cashed out my remaining $10 and said goodbye to my single-serving friends. “Thanks for the cigarettes,” I told my friend from South Carolina as I took the packet of Camel Lights he bought me.

“No problem,” he said and went straight back to Jacks or Better video poker.

I lit up and began my prowl around the casino. As a lone hunter I had to pick my prey wisely. But this time, the prey found me.

I was on the second floor of the Rio casino stumbling about when she found me. She had a punkish mohawk and was equally as drunk as I was. Maybe drunker.

We locked eyes and the inebriation served as a catalyst for horny telepathy. We wanted to get freaky.

“Hey! Where are you going?” She asked.

“I don’t know. Where are you going?” I replied.

“I don’t know. Where are you going?” She asked again.

…We have a winner. Fearing I was about to get stuck in an infinite loop I changed the subject.

“How about we go somewhere and talk?” I said. It was actually the same subject, I just said different words.

She accepted and we talked outside a club for a couple of minutes. In that time, I learned a lot about her. She was 29, was in Vegas with her cousins and was staying at the Rio.

“How about we go back to your room?” I asked.

She nodded and I began my walk of pride. A security guard informed me that I needed to take an elevator by Mcfadden’s. His directions seemed easy enough and I found the elevator. We get in and I attack her face with my mouth.

After a minute or so, I manage to pull back, breathe, and ask her what floor her room is on.

“5105,” she said.

I looked at the buttons and found that my options were limited to floors 1 and 2. I was in the wrong elevator. I pressed the second floor to buy extra makeout time and experience a genuine Rio elevator ride. The latter did not occur. Aside from only serving two floors, the elevator didn’t even work. It was the shittiest elevator of all times. I hated it.

“Stupid piece of shit,” I said.

“What’s wrong?” She asked.

I didn’t respond and just went back to making out. The more this went on, the more nerve I got to just unleash the beast in the elevator. Although the prospect of getting caught only made it more exciting, I was worried that there were cameras in the elevator.

I didn’t want tell my boss that I can’t work in Vegas anymore because I was 86’d from the Rio for fucking in an elevator. But then again, I could fuck in an elevator.

I started unbuttoning my pants and she finished the job. I pushed her head down a bit and she dropped to her knees. She was always one step ahead, I liked it.

“I have braces though,” she said.

I looked down. Yes she did. They were the white transparent kind, but braces nonetheless. I didn’t like it.

“That’s OK,” I lied. Then, very carefully, I inserted my penis into her face. The moments of pain were overridden by my final moment of intense pleasure.

I was afraid to look at my penis when it came out, but I did it anyways. Damage had been done. I had a cut on the top of my hood and one on the bottom. Ouch.

Despite having just released semen and blood from my penis, I felt I still had another round in me.

“Still want to go back to your room?” I asked.

“Fuck yeah. It’s my turn,” she said.

We walked to the correct elevator this time and chatted on our way. I would learn more about her this conversation. Too much in fact.

For some reason, inserting a penis into a woman is like inserting a key that unlocks a vault of crazy. In this case, there was a lot of crazy.

“Did you know I had five kids?” She asked.

First of all, how the fuck would I have known that? Second of all, eww.

“Really? Five? I thought you said you were 29,” I said.

She nodded and I tried to do the math in my head. How old was she when she started having kids? How old are the kids? I tried to calculate it, but the only answer I could come up with in my drunken state was: loose vagina. Wait, but she said had not have…

“What do you mean had?” I asked.

“They all died.”

Alex Villegas is a writer from Connecticut.

The Almond Tree

By May B. Yesno © 2010

Not having read a sword or dragons, nor swords and women, or anything of magical taint book in the past six months or so, I find it strange to feel the urge to create a world of such things and lock myself up in the suppositions.

There is the business of emails to be considered also. I am receiving short missives from friends and acquaintances suggesting this link is a good thing or I read, you know, a zinger of story about a flying submarine that travelled the Interstate System at two hundred and twenty miles per hour – LOL added, they didn’t get a ticket either.

I know it is a faulty imagination as I followed through conjecture that submarine; creeping its way from the water after having penetrated the security at the Naval Shipyards in San Diego, eluding the police of that fair city and gaining the Interstate System at high rates of speed. I felt it only correct that it take the Southern Highways portion, at least west of the Mississippi anyway. I could not conceive of the vehicle (vessel?) making the journey through the tunnels of the Rocky Mountains West of Denver at such rates. Visual images of tractor and trailer rigs popping out of the tunnels end like corks from a bottle from the bow wake of my machine were part of the picture I rejected. But a turn northward to Kansas City and eastward again to St Louis seemed a lot of fun. Not to mention the possibility of a larger audience from which to pick and spin other tales.

It is odd, as I’m fairly certain you know that I could not conceive of the machine coming ashore in San Francisco or Los Angles. The one has a muddy bottom and confusing tributaries emptying into it; and the other is... the other is rather a strange place and just as importantly, it doesn’t have what one could call a shot at crossing the mountains. Not a straight away shot, anyway.

So. Yes. I’m predisposed to flights of imagination at this time and these email and referrals are not helping my mental health. They stir the still, quiet, layers of the mind and bubbles rise. There’s a fellow here in my apartment building I have an occasional drink with at the local watering hole and after listening to me explain the mini-crisis I was under going said I was crazy and the only thing rising was methane.

I protested the insinuation of a surfeit of hot air in the only way possible for me which is by humor (or attempts thereto). I told this person, as I purchased us another drink, that I was not a terrorist and had no intentions of exploding anything, anywhere. His reply was he understood that, as I leaked away the danger by talking. He accepted the proffered drink.

Resettling ourselves, he gazed at me in the back bar mirror and nodded his head. You are he said, a writer of short stories and other rubbish prose. You have little understanding of the real world and create from your imagination a world you can handle and manipulate. One of which you can be master. Allow me to spin you a story you may have; and a story you may create a world about and for, and you may dictate the ending. The beginning, however, belongs to me.

A chancy thing, such a conversation at the bar, but being of agreeable mind I shrugged my agreement and listened.

My acquaintance started by asking if I’d heard the tale of the Immaculate Conception and its attendant place in religion. I nodded that I had, and opened my mouth to deny the story a place in a bar, but his raised hand stayed my protest and he continued.

Long, he said, before the creation of single god religion there were many gods; and long before the advent of paper as we know it in this age, there came a tale of – here he interrupted himself to assure me he was leaving out names and places so that I could grasp with my fancy the tale he told – there came a tale of another type of birth, though the conception was of some concern for the modern believer.

The Amygdale Species: Promus amygdales or the Almond Tree has an origin in antiquity and goes in this manner. The tree is sacred to Attis.

Before Attis, however, there lies a story. In Phrygia there was born a hermaphroditic deity named Agdistis. The Gods, and there were many, were fearful and they castrated it, the hermaphroditic, creating the goddess Kybele.

The testicles were cast upon the earth where they sprouted and grew into an almond tree.
Once then the nymph Nana came along and sat beneath the branches of the almond tree and an almond nut fell into her lap and impregnated her.

The child thus conceived, when born, was named Attis (born of the almond nut), who grew up to become the consort of the Kybele.

I ask you, my writer friend, was this an incestuous thing consorting with ones mother (?), father (?)? Was it a God screwing itself as it was meant to be? And if all the questions one may ask, and all the concepts the Gods could fear – would the idea of a God perpetuating itself all that scary – the natural product was their fear, and finally, sir, I ask, if fear it was that struck the hearts of the Gods, to which God should man look for sanctuary from the wrath of the Gods if all the Gods feared the creation of Agdistis and by whom so created and why.

There descended a silence between my drinking companion and me that lasted through the next drink and even until the final thanks reciprocal and the good nights.

I wandering to my apartment in contemplation and wonders of the hundreds of years and the unknown author of the story told me this night. Hundreds of years I supposed and I found that indeed it had been thousands of years since the first telling and the author lost in the sands of time.

I will admit, in the silence of the night, and the knowledge the TEXT as it was handed to me as a youngster was a compilation of mans thought and selection, arbitrary choices all. None of those selections were within my control; none was I allowed reference materials for, all demanding of me unthinking faith to make true.

Well! Shake it off, Old Man. You have other things to think of this evening, and I turn to the computer to distract my mind from incomprehensible depths of twisted logic. The first item on opening my email is a letter from a friend using such words as ‘incestuous’ and an explanation of other events and meaning to him.

Such paths the smallest hint of ill cared for road can send my thinking careening upon. Stability, I pray – which it is incongruous considering the subject of my thoughts and if true, to which God, I pray?

May B. Yesno is a writer from Fresno, CA

Valley Girls

By Mark Verve © 2010

Everyone on the set knows that she'll never rise above the status of fluffer. It's just a matter time until she figures it out. I've watched her for several weeks now as she earned two hundred dollars a day plying her trade on command. She does her work day after day with a surprising enthusiasm. It almost appears as if she enjoys it. She strikes me as a pleasant enough person in the few conversations we've had. Her stated goals revolve around the standard model/actress track she thinks she's on. The full lips are straight out of central casting.

At first the climax to the Fluffhead jam would come to my mind when she jumped into action. For me it was like her theme song. I'd hear Fluffheeeeaaaad........ Repetition killed that so now she just blends into the background amid the muffled sounds she creates. During down times she chains and intently surfs the gossip sites occasionally moving those lips during periods of higher concentration. She and most of the other girls look like they should be working retail at the mall. Soon she'll ask Clint for an on camera part for the umpteenth time and he'll turn her down again citing bad timing.

Unbeknownst to her she has her assigned role and reached the glass ceiling on her first day. That's the brutal reality of this business, the classic a place for everyone and everyone in their place. It's a straight up appearance based hierarchy. The men are judged on other criteria. Don't like it? See ya, there's plenty more where you came from. Disposable is not far from the truth. He probably already has her replacement selected. They're usually somewhat plain but clean up well enough to keep the actors interested. No previous technical proficiency is required as there is plenty of on set coaching available.

As a rule they differ from the on camera talent. That goal is a tall slender model type but reality settles for a cooperative eight that shows up more or less on time and semi-sober. He finds most of them in the higher end strip clubs and they usually have a monkey. He panders to the monkey with quality as he explores and expands their boundaries as needed. I'm sure they don't arrive naïve or inexperienced as this is the clinical version of what most do privately. I suspect many of them can't resist the supposed shot at stardom and may even take pay cuts to join in.

I entered this scene as the pseudo manager for two of my dancer friends. Actually I was just looking for a little adventure as they were by no means manageable. They are so desirable that my presence is tolerated. One has a monkey and the other is just a freak. They were into it before I met them and knew I'd be interested in the experience. I regularly sample the goods but much of their filmed performances are ground breaking to me. It seems I don't elicit the same enthusiasm or veracity but still appreciate the comps.

Clint made it clear to me that no management fees were forthcoming from him. That told me he bought the manager story. He and I settled into a detente as he thought the three of us would soon be spent and on our way. I found the whole experience compelling in a slovenly kind of way. There is an undeniable soul searing element to this enterprise. I won't say it starts the damage just that it furthers existing damage. No regular person would consider this path. I've always wondered where this stuff came from and who makes it.

Word is that Clint started in the business as a manager of a low level strip club in Vegas. One of those old school single story dumps in the industrial section west of the Strip. When he wasn't chasing company tail he had his finger to the wind. According to Clint one day a Money Guy from the Valley stopped by on a recruiting trip for an indie and juiced him for information. The MG scored three candidates on Clint's suggestions and ended up making his flick. That led to hosting more trips and it accelerated from there. Clint then moved into a city wide recruiting mode. He soon angled his way into the industry as a producer and started collecting for himself. That was just over a year ago.

Since then he has established himself as a solid industry low life. He's known for making videos with a semblance of a plot. He pays a few USC film students to write a series of ten minute vignettes that have some sort of a thread. He creatively labels them Valley Girls 1, 2, 3, etc. and has a serial going. His product is selling well for now in a competitive market place. In addition to the DVD sales he streams them on the net for subscribers. Rumor has it that he grosses a high five figures each month. I did the math and think it's possible.

He's married to an attractive older woman with big hair that probably brought the original bankroll. She sits quietly on the set in a high directors chair in her industry standard mini. Most of the time she pumps her crossed leg while reading magazines, chewing gum, and filing her nails. When she stands up it sometimes creates a Sharon Stone moment for the ever vigilant crew. I don't understand the appeal and think it's like bringing sand to the beach. I concluded that there's probably some type of a prop bet on each event. Perhaps it's related to timing, frequency, magnitude, or duration. I've asked but they won't let me in as I'm considered an outsider.

All of this is happening in an established upscale neighborhood in the West Hills area of the Valley. There's an underground world of real estate rentals that provide locations for the industry. It's run by an agent that used to be talent but moved on after her expiration date. As the economy tanked rental rates came down as more owners registered. This house has the requisite infinity pool and privacy from the neighbors. According to the crew it's the best location yet. The entire acre is shielded from view by tall trees and shrubs that also muffle the sounds. There's plenty of enclosed parking in the front behind a massive solid wooden gate for the dozen cars and equipment trucks.

One morning I drove the girls in and we had the top down enjoying the warm Southern California sunshine. Just as I finished punching the code into the gate, the neighbor and his wife emerged from their gate in a Mercedes. I glanced over at them and he waved. He put the car in park and they both emerged and started in our direction with smiles. I didn't really want to meet them but now had no choice. They looked middle aged and were wearing conservative business attire.

We are coached to keep a low profile in the neighborhood during shoots. It's common knowledge that the majority of industry films are made in the Valley. Don't need any complaints about filming without a permit and the resulting awkward questions. I gave them both my best good morning as did the girls. They seemed friendly enough and just wanted to know if we were the new owners and to introduce themselves. I told them the standard story that we were renting short term, led quiet lives, and were rarely home. They seemed satisfied and we continued to make small talk.

Just then and right on cue two car loads of talent drove up honking their horns. It was like some invisible director had just yelled Action! We watched along with the neighbors as the scene unfolded. The first car was blasting speed metal and the other carried the woo-who girls hanging out of the windows. The second driver proudly flashed us while giving the devil horns with an oddly contorted face. She had almost rear ended the first but managed to stomp the brakes just in time jerking all their heads forward in unison. I glanced at the neighbors who now stood statue still. I think that he was enjoying it but Miss Hathaway had an expression like she had just sucked on a lemon or gotten a facial.

It appeared that the party had gone all night and was now commuting to work. They were probably in no condition to understand my situation with the neighbors. I waved meekly as they passed by not wanting to appear too enthusiastic. The gate closed behind them providing us with an instant silence. It was like a scene from a party movie and was over in less than half a minute. In my mind there really wasn't much more to say and I definitely didn't want to answer any questions. I just smiled, shrugged and re-punched the code. When the gates opened I said goodbye and quickly pulled in leaving them alone with their thoughts.

Mark Verve lives in Las Vegas, Nevada and writes for relaxation. He trades the stock markets for a living and plays poker for aggravation.

Training Wheels

By AlCantHang © 2011

Every bad idea begins with a first step and most of the stories so far involve a good amount of Southern Comfort. It wasn't always this way when I first took my steps which lead me to such a silly life. I was a slow starter in terms of alcohol consumption yet still managed to get myself in some very stupid situations. The addition of my sweet SoCo only lit the fire a little brighter for a bigger burn.

I was just fine with the occasional light beer and fancy ass mixed drink "shot" for those first few years and took the requisite abuse from my friends. I was still drinking a ton so I assumed, incorrectly, I was getting a full dose of the crazy. It finally took a night of relentless jokes to push me to the most idiotic bet of my life. I would go shot-for-shot with Brad.

Brad was light years ahead of me in this arena. He was chugging bottles of Jack Daniels while the rest of us were trying to cheat on our high school mid-terms. He was a smoking, drinking, cursing, partying machine who was unmatched by any of our peers at the time. He was my best friend and I wanted to take down the toughest guy in the yard.

We picked the perfect bar on the perfect night and set forth the rules. No beer, non-alcoholic drinks, or anything which might skew the results. I had to pick a "real shot" to replace those girly things I was trying to pass off as the real thing and puking called for instant disqualification. Since we were young and stupid, the losing "player" would have to drive the other one home. We were not smart young men.

I was clueless in the ways of the hard liquor and slyly asked one of the bartenders "What's the booze in those Alabama Slamma shots?". Southern Comfort was the answer and to this day it's impossible to calculate exactly how much of the stuff I have consumed ever since.

The stage was set. It was a decent local bar in the Philly suburbs, our friend's band was in place for a three set gig, the bartenders were aware of our little challenge and shots were lined up. As the band kicked in their first song we lifted our 1.5oz shot glasses for a toast and we were underway.

Song. Shot.
Song. Shot.
And so on.

We were clipping along at a nice pace with the bartender just leaving the two bottles nearby. I wasn't having a single problem and we were laughing it up. If I remember correctly they did a fine version of Foreigner's Jukebox Hero. Turns out my memory might be a little fuzzy because shortly after the first set I was found clinging tightly to the walls of the bathroom stall and blowing ungodly wicked hot shots of Southern out of my system.

I was barely able to stand as Brad collected me from my comfortable seat on the floor among the afterbirth to carry me out to his car. He dumped me in the back seat, obviously ignoring the rule that I must be the one to drive the victor home, and asked me if I was going to be alright.

"Would you mind if I go back inside and finish up?"

"Wharf!" was my answer.

Four hours and two full trash bags later the bastard comes walking out of the bar with a receipt showing how much more he drank before driving me home. I was unceremoniously dumped through my front door, at 4am per my roommates at the time, which would have bothered me except we had a bathroom situated a short crawl away. I spent the next 24 hours on the cool cool tile floor.

In the short term I was defeated by the bionic liver of my friend. In the long term I have come close to mastering the delicate balance of hard booze versus functionality with a few spectacular failures along the way. But I now had my drink of choice.

AlCantHang is a seasoned alkie from the Philadelphia suburbs.