Kabuki's Green Mist...or...I'm a Grown-Ass Man.

One fateful Saturday afternoon, my wife informed me that she had invited some friends over for dinner. Our friends had been on vacation in Jamaica and we had not seen them in several weeks. Normally, I bitch and whine about “dinner parties” because of all the preparation involved, but I always enjoy when Robert and Sarah come over. Robert won’t leave the house without at least a case of beer on ice in the back of the truck, and usually has a bottle of some sort in tow as well. A friend like that is always welcome at my house!

Well, that Saturday night was no different; they showed up around 6:30 and as expected, Robert walked in the door with an ice chest full of Miller Lite. After some small-talk and standard pleasantries, Robert and I took the ice chest outside to the barbecue and started cooking a few steaks and hamburgers. The women stayed in the house and left us outside to cook.

Occasionally, they sent a kid out to retrieve a beer, but they pretty much left us alone with the treasure chest of fine pilsner. By the time I got the burgers ready for the kids, Robert and I had put a pretty good dent in the beer supply. The Boss came outside to get the burgers for the kids; that is when I got my first “drunken” warning. She noted that there were a dozen or so empty cans sitting around the cooking area and I was warned that I didn’t need to have too much to drink. As she went inside I popped another top and told her not to worry, I was a grown ass man...

The steaks finally got done and it was time for the adults to eat. I loaded the platter full of beef and headed into the house. The boys were done eating and had gone to the batting cage to hit some baseballs and my daughters were still sitting at the table eating. My wife and Sarah were in the kitchen mixing up a big bowl of salad and talking about some bullshit they’d seen on Oprah or something. Robert followed me in carrying 4 unopened beers and handed me two of them; that’s when I received warning number two from the Warden.

“You had better quit drinking, we ARE going to church in the morning and you won’t want to get up if you get too drunk tonight.”

Immediately, Rob came to my defense and told her that he had brought those beers into the house for them to drink, not us. For some reason, she didn’t buy it. I fixed myself a plate and headed for the table. I then noticed that the women had the TV on and were tuned into the latest episode of “Homo Remodeling” on that damn HGTV. When I started looking for the remote, I was informed that they were watching the show and that I was not to change the channel. After pleading with them to let me change it to a ballgame, Robert suggested that he and I eat outside on the deck. What a brilliant suggestion!

We took our plates back outside and sat down for a peaceful meal, free of faux-finishing techniques. Rob set his plate down and immediately went to retrieve the ice chest. After a fine meal of medium-rare t-bone, random greekish salad with nuts and artichoke hearts and garlic bread, I was full, drunk and content. Big Rob and I discussed a little high-school baseball and then played a game of “Do-able, Not Do-able” using our sons teammates’ mothers as contestants. The beer continued to flow until the ice chest was completely depleted. As it was only 9:30 and the night was still young; I decided that we needed to go to town and get some more beer. After all, I was a grown-ass man...

I gathered up the plates and waddled / staggered into the house. The women were watching TV, my daughters were in their room and the boys were in my son’s room on the phone trolling for 10th grade trim. What a perfect opportunity for a beer run... That is when El Jefe’ went into defcon three and I received another warning.

“You two don’t need get any more beer. Both of you are way too drunk to drive and you both have had more than enough to drink. We ARE going to church tomorrow and you ARE going with us. Why do you always have to make an ass out of yourself and get shitfaced?”

Her words crushed my drunken spirit. There was no more beer and I could not get past the two of them to get to the liquor cabinet and supplement my already inebriated state; the well had run dry. I left the house completely whipped and made the walk of shame back outside to give Robert the bad news. When I told him that the women put the kibosh on our beer run, he informed me that he had a bottle of “something special” behind the seat of his truck. He told me to go back inside and get two cups and some sugar. While I made my trek back through the war zone for provisions, he left to retrieve the bottle from his truck. When I got back outside, Rob was holding a bottle of green liquid.

“What the fuck kind of whiskey is that?” I asked. “This, my friend, is no whiskey, this is absinthe.”

Those words will forever echo in the vast emptiness of my skull. Robert went on to explain that absinthe is a 160 proof liquor that supposedly has hallucinogen properties.

“This shit is illegal in the US. I brought it back from Jamaica.”

He then took the cups, filled them with ice from the empty beer cooler and poured sugar on top of the ice. As he poured the absinthe over the ice and sugar, it turned from green to clear. That should have been my signal that I didn’t need to drink it, but I was a grown-ass man...

I took a sip and felt the skin in my throat begin to melt. My eyes watered and my sinuses opened up. It burned, but it was a good burn; like nothing I had ever drank before. I immediately felt warm inside. It tasted like horse-piss, but I was a grown-ass man; I continued to sip on it.

After a thorough discussion of how he snuck the bottle through customs, we poured another cup of “the green shit”. I could feel my drunk changing; it was different from a regular beer or whiskey drunk. I felt a bit euphoric and completely invincible. We each had three solo cups of the green shit before I had to piss again. When I arose out of my chair, my legs were tingling like they had been asleep. I was completely and utterly shit-housed drunk, but I was not slurring my words and I was aware of what was happening around me. It was nothing less than an out-of-body experience. I felt like I was watching myself walk over to the bushes to piss. I became aware that Robert was laughing at me because I was having a hard time standing up to piss, but I didn’t care because I was a grown-ass man...

Big Rob was no better off than I was. As he was trying to mix another couple of drinks, he almost fell out of his chair while filling the cups full of ice. He then proceeded to spill sugar all over the table and had a hard time lining up the bottle over the cups. We both began laughing hysterically at the mess that he made. At the time, it was absolutely the funniest thing I had ever seen.

Neither of us could stop laughing; that is until Sarah suddenly appeared. She had a puzzled yet disgusted look on her face that caused both of us to laugh even harder. She took the bottle away from Rob and told him that it was time to go. He tried to reassure her that he was not shitfaced, but she was having no part of it.

I knew that at this point in the evening, I had to really get my act together or face the wrath of my wife. I stood, or at least tried to stand up, and began my giggling trek into the house. Attila the Hun met me at the door. And she was pissed. She started in on me about church, drinking, I told you so, being an asshole and some other shit that I couldn’t comprehend. I tried to talk, but nothing other than guttural noises and laughter would come out of my mouth. My mouth was as numb as if I had been to the dentist and my tongue felt too big. I somehow understood that she was disappointed by my actions and that I was to go back outside and clean up my mess.

The world was moving in slow motion as I tried to get back to the table to clean up. The floor was quaking and the sky was sinking lower and lower all around me. My motor skills began to falter and I held myself up with sheer will alone. I tried to fight through the overwhelming blindness that was overtaking me because I was a grown-ass man…

Suddenly there was a bright light; I realized that it was hot and that I was sweating. I opened my eyes and saw the sun. I thought for a moment that I was in hell, but quickly realized I was in my hammock. I looked to my left and saw a blurry mass; as I struggled to focus, I realized that it was Big Rob. He was slumped over the table, passed out. We had both passed out and our wives had left us outside to die.

I turned my head to the right and began to projectile vomit the entire contents of my stomach onto the deck. My head was about to implode and I was violently expelling the demon elixir from my gullet. After what seemed like an eternity of heaving and throbbing, I arose from my hammock and staggered over to Robert.

He was face down on the table, lying in a pool of partially digested steak and salad. His snoring let me know that he was still alive. My survival instinct must have taken over because I found myself in the kitchen desperately searching for a bottle of Advil. I looked at the clock; it was 10:20AM. I took a handful of Advil and sheepishly went into my bedroom to face the music.

There was no one there, the house was completely quiet and there was no one home. My family had either all moved away in shame or had gone to church to pray for my soul. I managed to get back outside with a glass of water and the bottle of Advil for my fallen compadre’. I tried to wake him, but he only mumbled and raised a hand to shield his eyes from the morning sun. With my head pounding, my stomach turning and my friend lying in a pool of his own vomit, I made a solemn vow to God that if he would heal my head, I would never again drink absinthe. Rob, on the other hand, raised his head from his altar of puke and cursed God for his plight. Much like our wives, the Lord wanted nothing to do with either of us right then.

Epilogue: My wife got home from church shortly after noon and did not speak to me for the better part of a week. Robert’s wife came back to pick him up around 11:30. When she arrived, Rob was sitting on the steps in my pool, fully clothed. He said the water was soothing to his head and that he needed to get the vomit off his shirt. The hangover almost killed me, but I eventually made a full recovery because I was a grown-ass man...

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