There was a time when I could drink. I could really put them down. There was a time when I could do a flip too. I might even have been able to do a flip while drinking, and it’s quite possible that I have, but if I have, I don’t recall because of the aforementioned drinking.
Everything changes though, we mellow, the liquor now replaced by decaf coffee, the flips of youth devolving into the couch-flops of early middle-age, albeit beautiful ones. At least, I’d like to think so.
I shouldn’t have done it. I was out of practice and my body was no longer accustomed to such things. I had a beer, one of the tall ones that come in a tall can at the local wings place. She made me do it. Yes, that’s why. And then, after the beer was emptied down to the last tinny drops, I had another.
It was because of the hot wings. Yes, that’s why. I was fairly certain that my mouth was on fire, even asking her to pour some of her beer in there, just in case, and in the interest of the safety of the other patrons. The bar might burn down. People with families might die if she didn’t comply. Of course, I couldn’t speak properly with my mouth on fire, so after some pantomime with wing-sauce fingers pointed at my mouth, I just grabbed the can when she dropped her head into her hands and drank some of her beer too.
When she excused herself to go to the ladies room, I drank the rest of it, and then looked out the window pretending not to know what had happened, which is to say I looked like I usually do.
When she returned, there were questions. It seems there are always questions demanding answers. My tongue, swollen and burnt, prevented me from answering intelligently, so I wrote letters in the air, spelling out the word, “A L I E N S.”
Some women are never satisfied with the first answer given, and then each question becomes ten questions, each of those spawning ten more, like a question-hydra wearing a skirt and heels. Clearly she wasn’t understanding that travel-parched aliens had landed in the parking lot and had drank her entire beer, and that in their galaxy-crossing thirst had also dispatched the other beer which the bartender had brought while she was in the the ladies room. I also had to order a few more beers for them. They looked all green and wrinkly, the poor bastards.
She, seemingly unable to grasp this simple concept of beer-drinking aliens, continued staring at me with her hydra head. She must have been drunk. I had to provide a simpler explanation.
Some women are never satisfied with the second answer given either. Things can evaporate. It was possible, even bordering on plausible. Entire lakes have evaporated. Jesus parted a sea once. Things happen, sometimes even miracles.
While explaining with bar-napkin diagrams how evaporation works, and that if she held her beer glass out for long enough, if conditions were right, that it might actually rain beer back into her glass, it started. Not the prophesied beer-rain, but hiccups. Horrible diaphragm-lacerating, esophagus-rupturing hiccups.
Each one sounded like a dragon from hell crossed with a pterodactyl. Each was louder than the last, and they were building in crescendo. Women went running out the door, breaking heels, dropping purses and cell phones. Men ducked under the bar and cowered beneath the gum-bottom tables. Some pushed their wives or girlfriends in front of them and toward the hellish squawking sounds.
I then had twelve women standing in front of me, mascara smeared, and irritated. I opened my mouth to apologize and then the last one came out, as loud as all the others combined. The women all went down like bowling pins, laying in a tangle of legs and polyester hems. The windows had blown out, and the smoke-tinged curtains were waving in tatters like surrender flags. Then the fire sprinklers came on.
I hadn’t the nerve to call or write, even though none of it was my fault, at all, but I did see her driving around town one time since.
I shouted, “Hey baby! How you been? I’ve missed ya!”
She said, “Hey..” smiling. Then she parked the car and walked over, still smiling, pulled a tall beer in a tall can from her purse, still smiling, and poured it on my head.