Shootin' the Breeze


by "Bummer"

 
 
bummer@abate.com

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February 2007

    I was sitting in the bar where I DJ waiting to start work the other night and was talking to a buddy. He mentioned that an old friend of ours named Skitzo [that’s the way he spells it] was back in town after being gone for a few years. Skitzo has the dubious distinction of being the only person I know who could drink me and everyone else I’ve ever known under the table. Not that I recommend ever exceeding the legal limits of intoxication…if there is such a thing [Can ya ever really be LEGALLY intoxicated these days?]. The reason for this is he was born and raised in Leadville, Colorado.

    Leadville is the second highest city of any size in the continental United States. That altitude means that people born and bred there develop a high tolerance for alcohol and have the ability to consume incredible amounts without getting trashed when they drink anywhere else on the planet where the altitude ISN’T so high.

    The night I discovered this I had just returned from a somewhat long day’s ride and entered the Bottle and Cork to find a group of my buds who introduced me to Skitzo. Jake spoke up when he saw me walk through the door.
    “Hey Bummer! Come over here. I wanna introduce you to someone.”

    I ambled over and sat down with them.

    “This is Skitzo from Colorado. Skitzo, Bummer. Skitzo says he’ll match anyone here shot for shot for fifty bucks if yer interested.”

    “I can’t man. I’m on the scoot and every cop in this town seems to take particular notice when I’m riding. I don’t wanna have that damned judge send me to rehab again. I just got out. I ain’t even supposed to be coming in here as it is.”

    “We’ll take ya home and Pudge says you can keep yer bike in his back room.”

    In my younger days I was foolish enough to actually pay attention when anyone dared me to do anything, and that fifty bucks did sound like easy money. I drank nothin’ but Yukon and developed the ability to consume more than most people and still keep my wits about me. Of course, now I realize THAT’S gotten me into lotsa trouble and it certainly isn’t anything to brag about. Keeping my wits about me while pounding ‘em down did nothing but cost me lotsa bucks, put me in jail and/or rehab and in more than one unsatisfactory relationship. So I guess I wasn’t too witty. But back then I was young dumb and full of %$# and had a reputation to maintain. What ensued because of this challenge follows:

    We hastily decided on the rules. I shoulda realized Skitzo had done this many times from the way he rattled off the ground rules.

    “OK. Ya gotta finish off each and every shot or it doesn’t count. This means ya can’t start coughing and spit it out. Of course both contestants has to drink the same proof liquor. Whatcha drinkin’?”
    “Yukon. It’s all I ever drink.”
    “Sounds good to me. I’ll drink Yukon too. If ya go to the john and puke before the contest is over ya forfeit and that means ya lose fifty bucks. If ya pass out long enough for anyone to ask ya a question and ya can’t respond, ya forfeit. If ya hesitate longer than 30 seconds at the beginning of each round, ya forfeit. If ya pull out any kind of weapon, ya forfeit. You agree to these terms?”
    ‘My God!’ I thought.... ‘Who the Hell IS this guy?’ “I agree.”

    We then handed our bucks over to Jake and settled down facing each other across a table. Pudge pulled out a fresh bottle of Yukon, popped a pourer in it, set us up with shot glasses and made it clear he’d charge us for any liquor drank OR spilled. Jake was in charge of the pouring.

    Even though we took our time, fifteen minutes later we each had about ten shots of 100 proof liquor in our guts. By about this time I was wishing I had eaten something before we started. A small crowd gathered round our table and it seemed the funky old jukebox full of crappy music I thought I hated was sounding better and better. Even Carla, Pudge’s old lady was lookin’ way better than I’d ever seen her. And she kept smiling at me in a very erotic way. How come I never noticed how damned good lookin’ she was?

    Just then one of the guys farted, and that sent everyone including me and Skitzo to laughing so hard we almost upset the table. Order was recalled and we settled down again grasping our shot glasses while we gazed across the table at each other with steely eyes. I could swear the theme song for “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” could be heard reverberating across the room. Before I knew it the bottle was empty and Pudge brought over a new one, opened it and plugged a pourer into it.

    Round after round it went on. Eventually everyone that was in the bar when we began and the few newcomers who had walked in were crowded around our table as Jake poured my next shot. My head was unusually heavy and my neck seemed to be having a hard time keeping it upright. That damned Skitzo just sat across from me smiling like he knew something I didn’t. It was at this point that I called over to Carla and asked her show us her tattoos [Pudge had previously mentioned that she had a few of ‘em in odd places].
    “What?” she asked.
    “You heard me foxy lady.”
    “I heard you but couldn’t understand a word ya said!”
    Skitzo broke in with, “OK. Your turn. Now don’t be stalling Bummer. Drink the sucker down!”

    I remember I slowly managed to turn my head back to my drink and tried to raise the glass to my lips, but in the process slid off the chair and crashed onto the floor. I later learned that Skitzo then reached across the table, grabbed my shot and swallowed it down before leaping to his feet and claiming victory with both arms raised.

    Carla bent down to me as I sprawled on the floor to help me back into my chair, and as she did she asked me what I had said to her.

    “I said that I never realized how bootiful you were. Gimme some lovin’ baby.” I slurred as I tried to throw my arms around her. After I fell off the chair again and knocked over the table spilling everything, Pudge and few of the guys drug my worthless carcass into the back room.

    When I awoke there the next morning I found myself with my arms wrapped around the front wheel of my scoot and a taste like something horrible had crawled into my mouth and died. Upon finding myself alone in the bar and without being able to unlock the padlock on the back door I just crawled to the pool table, climbed up on it and went back to sleep. I woke again later in the day with a stark naked Carla rubbing my back.

    The results of that night left me short the fifty bucks entrance fee. I had to pay for the broken table, the glasses and the smashed partial bottle of Yukon, plus half of the Yukon that got drunk in the contest [which, by the way, was almost another fifty bucks!]. AND I lost my title as a genuine drinking legend. Of course Pudge developed a REAL attitude towards me and kicked my ass when he finally came in later and saw what was happenin’ on his pool table. After that I didn’t really wanna drink in his bar anymore.

    If there’s a moral to this story children, it’s just that accepting a drinking challenge from anyone is just plain stupid. I’ve heard of more than one youngun’ who dropped over dead from alcohol poisoning trying to prove how much he could drink. Accepting such a challenge from a mountain man is particularly dumb.

    Also, ya might wanna be careful who yer callin’ bootiful.

            Bummer
 

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