Three Days and 25 Spocktails: A Cautionary Tale
Johnnie Royale picked me up from the dental surgery. I felt warm, safe, cradled in the anathesia's loving embrace. The pharmacy downstairs gave me a bottle of Vicodin and a few instructions: take it with food, don't mix with alcohol, don't operate heavy machinery. I put it in my pocket and we left. "Do you want to go home, or do you want to go to a bar?" asked Johnnie.
We were standing on the sidewalk. I had gauze in my mouth and I was drooling. From somewhere far away I had a premonition of pain. "I anna ngo ooh a ngar," I said.
That's how it started...with a Vulcan Highlander. We were at the Grand Hyatt's rooftop bar; it was a gorgeous view and a very classy drink. I had no control over my bottom lip and half of every sip ended up on the table. I was certain the waiter thought I was retarded, and I'm also fairly certain there are laws against serving drinks to retards. Johnnie asked if I'd like a straw, and I gestured to the effect that the dentist had told me I wasn't supposed to use straws. Johnnie pointed out that I wasn't supposed to use scotch, either.
And then, while I was beginning to be drunk, beginning to lose the Twilite Sleep trip, and beginning to be aware that a full eighth of my jaw had just been ripped out, I had an epiphany. Spocktails. I needed Spocktails.
ALL of the Spocktails.
"You have no hope," said Johnnie Royale flatly. "It's not just anybody that can pick up one of my drinks and survive." I'm only a junior beveratologist, and Spocktails, for anyone even glancingly familiar with the scientific findings of the Spock Mountain Research Labs, require a great deal of professionalism and dedication. I thought I could handle it. That I was ready. Johnnie laughed unpleasantly. I should have listened...Lord knows, I should have listened then.
Day 1, 8:00 PM. Spocktail #2: The Sedated Pirate.
I begin to take notes as I gulp down a Sedated Pirate -- vodka, lime, club soda, Vicodin -- as I am, after all, a scientist. I find myself pleasantly suprised by the tastiness of the cocktail. My notes read: I begin to feel giddy with the absence of pain.
Spocktail #3: Red
Mmm. Kool-aid and vodka. A childish delight. JR waxes nostalgic.
8:45 PM. Spocktail #4: The Elven Astronaut
Everclear and Tang. My notes: Deceptively drinkable
Spocktail #5: The Lost Probe
Vodka, rum, 7-UP, Tang. Fruity, like could be served in a coconut.
I am growing very pleased with these strange recipes. They have all been good so far. I feel inclined to trust my luck. And then...
Spocktail #6: Dr. Dew
A simple recipe, calling only for Dr. Pepper, Mountain Dew, and Dewar's scotch. A hint of skepticism begins to mar my happy naivete. Johnnie is mixing, and I complain about the amounts he pours, noting that the recipe requires only EQUAL portions, not LARGE portions. "Shut up and drink," he says.
My notes here are underlined: Wretched, horrible, v. bad
"I told you, you wouldn't like it," Johnnie gloats.
"Well, do YOU like it?" I demand.
Attempted to dilute w/ extra Dr. Pepper. Only extended misery.
11:00 PM. Spocktail #7: Rocket Punch
I've fallen behind, wrestling with the Dr. Dew. Johnnie mixes himself an Everclear with Red. I protest that this is not a documented Spocktail. "That's one of the advantages of being a SENIOR beveratologist," says JR. "We don't have to to stick to the textbook." I taste his new Spocktail, and it's pretty good.
Spocktail #8: Dead Man's Float
Guinness, bourbon, ice cream, and we opt for the mint garnish rather than the candy sprinkles. (Mint will also be required for the Infuriated Mandrill, and we are thinking ahead.) I will present my notes on this Spocktail unabridged:
"Oh, fuck." --JR
Seems like a dessert drink to me, but JR insists we have now, so we can wash down with proper booze. JR more discombobulated by this drink than any so far. Swears to kill author.
JR has point about murder, as resultant float is butt nasty. JR promises author will die slowly. Yet we grimly drink our Dead Man's Floats.
"Next dead man float I'm gonna have is gonna have a piece of [Mr. Bad] floating in it." --JR
8/10ths of the way through the DMF, I want to quit, but JR coaches me through: "This is where the sr. beveratologists put the rubber to the road." "This is what separates the..." He falters under my glare.
"I'm in my zone, okay?" I grumble. I finish the float and then, when JR is not looking, puke discreetly into my shirt. I clean up, swallow another Vicodin, and move to ST #9.
Spocktail #9: The Bloody Dog
This one calls for grapefruit juice, vodka, and human blood. I've been swallowing blood all day, and can easily stir up a little more just by prodding the big holes where my teeth used to be. Johnnie insists on mixing the alcohol with a butcher knife. When I offer him a spoon he says, "This is much sharper." Then he pulls out the dripping knife and stands there sharpening it ominously until I catch on and pull a Pocahontas, barely preventing JR from opening his own veins into the cocktail. I think we might be drunk.
The punch is delightful though.
1:30 AM. Spocktail #10: The Innocent San Francisco Mule
Ginger beer, corn whiskey, and lime. My notes grow nearly incomprehensible. My best reconstruction:
JR is admittedly shitfaced. He blames the Red. I think [the Mule] is nice. JR is more grudging. V. nice actually, though my criteria are growing lower.
Shortly thereafter, I pass out. Unfortunately, I do not die. This will prove to be a mistake.
Day 2, 1:30 PM. I grudgingly stumble out of bed and send out an email to SMRL associates admitting the Spocktail problem. Those who receive my cry for help seem to misinterpret it as an invitation to a party. Offers for the more esoteric ingredients begin to pour in. JR goes to buy potato chips. I take a Vicodin and reapply myself to my chosen task: I have this idea that I'm in too far to back out now. For their part, the Spocktails are patient.
Spocktail #11: Spock's Balls
Ginger beer, Everclear, and Metabolift. It's basically a primitive "Innocent Mule." I take one sip and decide to add lime. It's much better now. I'm not used to Metabolift though...
5:00 PM. I find myself trembling uncontrollably. I look over the Spocktails ahead and realize that nearly all contain Metabolift or some even more potent stimulant. I despair. When I close my eyes I see swirling shapes.
7:00 PM. Spocktail #12: The Millennium Falcon
Vodka, energy drink, and 2 capsules of Metabolift. Johnnie and I mix this one up while waiting for the reinforcements to arrive. I find my notebook:
Bleah. Take one sip and back away slowly. Take Vicodin. Take Vicodin.
Spocktail #13: SMRL Juice
Gatorade, vodka, Metabolift. We've all had this one before, but since Johnnie made it up he growls angrily at the merest suggestion that we might skip it. It's still fruity and refeshing.
8:00 PM. Baron Earl and the Baroness arrive at our door in a rickshaw drawn by an albino from Quebec. The Baroness enjoys an occasional Vicodin, so JR mixes her up a Sedated Pirate. She is gracious enough to take notes as well: Had 3 potato chips because Vicodin bottle said to take it with food. No pain now!
LiquorPig and Downer Cow also descend upon us in due course.
LiquorPig is lithe and feral, like a mongoose. He has served as a bodyguard to rajahs. With his pretty manners and ninja killing instinct, he's the perfect party guest.
Downer Cow is actually descended from a long line of Canadian gypsies. Her medicine is strong. She has the Sight, and due to an acute presentiment of evil, she can never be deceived or caught off guard. You want her watching your back.
Some of the above is only metaphorically true. I say this so that you will understand that everything else is factual and literal.
Spocktail #14: BOOJ! There It Is
Beaujolais, Absolut citron, and cointreau. "It maintains the character of Beaujolais while adding the kick of Thunderbird," judges LiquorPig. I think it tastes like bad wine, only worse.
9:30 PM. Downer Cow invents "gonzo medicine." She takes our vital signs -- heart rate, eye dilation, blood pressure, etc. She's brought real medical implements with her. I'm still measuring up well at this point...eye dilation of 2mm, I believe, or something like that. I will soon have cause to be grateful for gonzo medicine.
Spocktail #15: Spockmopolitan
This one is a nice rest stop, as it were, on the grueling highway of beveratology. It's just an ordinary Cosmo with blue food coloring. I savor the fleeting moment of sanity.
Spocktail #16: Wine Spockiodi
Since we've got the bottle of Beaujolais open, we decide to make a Wine Spockiodi. This one involves wine, whiskey, allspice, and ma huang. We've got Metabolift on hand, so we use that for the ma huang.
The first sip is very bad. The second sip is strangely compelling. Ultimately it's addictive like an abusive relationship.
10:25 PM. Spocktail #17: Plain Water
I give you the Baroness, in her own words:
I had a Vicoden with some new Spocktail called plain water. I had two more potato chips because, as you know, the Vicodin bottle says you need to take it with food.
I had one of these too.
Spocktail #18: The Inattentive Beachcomber
LiquorPig is whining about needing a pick-me-up, so we slap him with this Spocktail. I only have a sip, due to my ongoing problem with the shakes, but it's incredibly tasty. LP later reports that it "works" as well.
10:30 PM. I lick Dr. Pepper up off the floor.
"I just had another Vicodin," says the Baroness.
Spocktail #19: The Star Twin Spectacular
Gawd, this was yummy. And we even substituted $4.99 champagne for the "high-quality shom-pan-yah" called for in the recipe. Everyone has lots of this Spocktail. Downer Cow ceases to be able to feel our pulses.
"You can't feel my pulse?!" I demand. "I can," she says, "but I can't really can't."
"She's talking, she's fine, give her another drink," says Johnnie Royale.
"I'm really happy," I declare.
11:00 PM. El Destino arrives! Destiny generally comes with a rumpled suit and a crooked grin, and is always to be found telling truth to Power. Everybody cheers.
"I have Vicodin if you want some," I say. "I'm ok. Thanks," says Destiny.
Spocktail #20: Brainwash with a Firehose
And then everything goes pear-shaped. I really don't know what to tell you...hopefully the notes will speak for themselves. While we're waiting for the effects to really kick in, we decide to mix a round of Key Lime Spocktails.
Will take a Vicodin soon. --The Baroness
Spocktail #21: Key Lime Spocktail
The key to this one is the graham cracker garnish. I am very careful with the graham crackers, and everyone appreciates that. The spocktail is VERY sour, but in a candy sort of a way. "It's very deceiving. Good for underage drinkers," somebody says.
We play Thom Stark mp3s for a while. Johnnie insists on reading aloud the entire lyrics to "Bob."
Downer Cow tells a story: "My dad showed up to meet Dan and he said, 'I brought this English beer.' It was Old English 800. This is why I left home."
LiquorPig and I agree to switch bodies. Neither of us think the other will be happy with what we do in each other's physical forms. (My plan involves gay bars and a lot of free drinks.) Downer Cow wants pictures.
12:00 AM. I feel no need for Vicodin. Which is good, because there's not much left. I'm playing pattycake with LiquorPig and I know I'm not him, but I can feel what he must feel when my hands touch his. And when they don't touch, I can feel that too. I'm giggling uncontrollably. "Wine Slurpies, anyone?" offers Johnnie.
Spocktail #22: Wine Slurpies
It really is just like a wine flavored Slurpie. It's good.
12:30 AM. The Baron and Baroness usher me into the kitchen. They say they have a present for me. It's a sink full of water, and then the Baroness starts squeezing drops of food coloring into the sink. The colors fall and blossom in the water with impossible purity, and I can hold my hand perfectly still in the sink and be part of their dance, but when I try to grab the colors I destroy them. It is a wonderful present.
Sometime Later. Their Baronialnesses have departed. Everything is too bright and too loud and I have to throw up. Throwing up is no fun when your senses are all terribly heightened. Downer Cow pulls out mad medical skillz, talks very calmingly, and gives me some Dramamine. Afterwards I have to lie on the couch with pillows all over my body, and this way I can just barely endure the input of my senses. Strangely, I am still very happy. "I feel like I could spread across the planet. Like a moss," says LiquorPig.
Lying on the couch, I have a vision. I travel inward and confront the Guardian Of My Nausea. He is not necessarily humanoid -- my impression is mainly that of a vast hall with intricately carved columns, and pieces of antique Samurai-style armor. "Thank you for your honorable duty," I say to him. "You have been loyal and most skilled, and your excellent protection has saved me many times. Thank you for making me throw up. It is a needful and most honorable service you perform for me. But I do not need you any longer tonight. You have done all you can. Thank you."
It seems to work. I pull the pillows off my head.
1:30 AM. I would like the existence of Moon Putty to be noted for the record. Moon Putty is a truly disgusting gloppy substance involving cooked cornstarch and some food coloring. LiquorPig made it and is very enamoured of it. He invites us to stick our hands into the putty and enjoy the resulting sensations, which are purely repulsive. I spend some twenty minutes doing just this.
2:40 AM. LiquorPig has now discovered ice. "Why are you throwing ice in my fire?" Johnnie demands.
2:46 AM. "Why do I have a glass of ice in front of my face?" --JR
2:48 AM. "What the fuck is going on with the ice?" --Me
3:37 AM. I go to sleep. The senior beveratologists are still lying around and talking, and continuing to take notes, as they are professional scientists. I'm woken a little later by a dream in which ICBINJ has hacked my regex, and this means that I hear and see him from both sides simultaneously. The dream makes me sick, and I stagger to the bathroom, but the good Doctor Downer Cow materializes to speak soothingly, and the wave of nausea recedes. I go back to sleep.
4:34 AM. JR goes to bed. Destiny and Downer Cow go home.
The notes that follow this entry consist entirely of lyrics from "Abbey Road." Then there is a final notation:
5:05 AM. We're still here.
Day 3, 3:49 PM. I stumble out of bed. Only Johnnie is still around, which is natural, because it's his house. My stomach is incredibly sore and I can only walk with stiff little baby steps, like C3PO. Johnnie is pretty much fine. He tells me that the Baron stopped by with coffee, sugar and 5-HTP, for the Blurry Sharp Meltdown.
Spocktail #23: Blurry Sharp Meltdown
I want a Blurry Sharp Meltdown, but far from having fresh fruit in the house, the only juice we have is pineapple mixed with corn liquor. Also there is Tang. I decide the spiked pinapple juice, along with vodka-laced Tang, will suffice.
The half-and-half curdles at the top of the coffee. I scrape off the curds and drink.
I don't feel much better, but I could hardly feel worse.
I really want to quit the Spocktail madness -- or what Destiny's dubbed the Vulcan Deathmarch -- at this point, but there's some stern ethical fiber within me that won't allow me stop. I AM a beveratologist after all. And while I now realize that the Spocktails will destroy me in the end, I cannot abandon the quest without assaying at least three final drinks: The Week Between, The Infuriated Mandrill, and The Acadian. The Mandrill is, of course, the ORIGINAL Spocktail -- the one that started it all. The Week Between is a symphonic medley of ingredients; I've been looking forward it to for a long time. And the Acadian is, quite simply, the Spocktail to put all others to shame. So I make arrangements with Johnnie to meet later at my house.
10:45 PM. I discover to my own intense chagrin that we have no bitters! And after I'd made such a stink about getting the pearl onions! Johnnie and I wander the Tenderloin searching in vain for purveyors of bitters. JR is now sober and grows dangerously grumpy, I note.
Finally, in desperation, I insist that we duck into Julip, may their name live forever in glory, which is a new bar on Geary street. Gorgeous place. You should go there. I explain the dictates of Science to the bartender, who has time as the bar is howlingly empty. Then I give him my prettiest smile and order "one shot of bitters, to go please." The bartender gives me a whole bottle of the stuff, and refuses my money. Yay Julip!
Spocktail #24: The Rosy Week Between
This Spocktail calls for vodka, corn whiskey, French mustard, hempseed oil, bitters, and pearl onions for garnish. I've no idea where to get hempseed oil, so I'd decided to substitute rosewater. Johnnie grudgingly agrees to mix. We pull out the fine glassware for this one. The finished cocktail holds an astonishing golden glow.
Delicate medley of colors. Presentation excellent. Color of summer sun at sunset. Bold. Sophisticated. Onions are KEY.
"I never actually tasted any alcohol that tasted more like turpentine than that," Johnnie says. "Deceptively drinkable. No. That was a joke. I couldn't stand it. That was yak vomit."
Spocktail #25: The Infuriated Mandrill With a Strawberry Butt
The Infuriated Mandrill calls for vodka, absinthe, ginger, green food coloring, and Looza Banana Nectar. But I couldn't find Looza Banana Nectar, so I bought Strawberry-Banana Odwalla instead...hence the Strawberry Butt.
However, as we are mixing the Spocktail, we realize that the recipe does not specify how MUCH fresh chopped ginger is required. A scientist cannot operate under these conditions! I complain to my notebook.
"Suspecting that the person who wrote this really hated humanity, and was attempting to take revenge for a failed life, we'll put in as little as possible," says Johnnie.
The resulting concoction is not light green, as the recipe suggests -- it is a very disturbing DARK green -- but perhaps that's due to the strawberry, or maybe JR put in too much of the food coloring. "Okay dear, swallow, and I will call the paramedics," Johnnie says.
"Ooh! Mint garnish! I knew we'd forgotten something!" I cry, stalling for time. We add mint and I stare at the glass.
"You're one of the lucky people," snortles Johnnie. "You get to choose the time and place of your death."
"Okay. You watch me. I'm gonna drink this," I vow. "It can't be as bad as it looks."
Tastes GOOD. No really. Like something you'd buy at Jamba Juice. And I don't even like absinthe!
"I hate you," Johnnie says when I try to make him drink it. "You'll get me to the point where I can't stand alcohol, and then I might as well be dead."
"I really like it! It's good!"
"Banana mint absinthe!" he cries. "What are you thinking?!"
It really wasn't that bad.
Spocktail #26: The Acadian
I have not yet consumed this nectar. But now that the Spocktails are in my blood I cannot refuse the ultimate call...all lesser things seem wretchedly trite, and my life is not worth living if it does not contain an Acadian. If I am heard from no more I have instructed Johnnie to publish these notes, in the hope that future generations may learn from my endeavors and succeed where I have failed. Perhaps my fondest wish shall be honored, and my name shall posthumously be counted among those most noble, ironhearted, and senior beveratologists.
Farewell, Spock Mountain. Stand me now and forever in good stead.
"And it got less and less funny every time. The end." --El Destino
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