Alright! I’ll tell you what happened. You promised to go easy and I promised the truth. So here it is. Even if you don’t believe it, this is how it happened. I hope you keep your end of the bargain.
The customs agent wouldnâ€™t stop looking at me. I felt his eyes as he gave the declarations brief to the planeâ€™s passengers. It could be paranoia but I would swear he was looking directly at me and only me the whole time.
He explained that smuggling illegal goods into the U.S. would result in prosecution to the fullest extent of the law. He warned us not to forget to declare any items we may have purchased over seas.
I was sweating, even in that over air conditioned 747, sweat kept beading up on my face. I tried to remain calm. That only made me nervous. The more nervous I got the more I would sweat.
The way things were going I was almost sure the customs agent was going to pluck me right out of the seat and perform a body cavity search in front of the rest of the passengers. As if I could fit a bottle of Absinthe in my ass.
I wouldnâ€™t have been in that situation if it werenâ€™t for my idiot friends. As soon as they heard I was going to Spain on a family vacation with my parents, they made me swear to get a couple of bottles of â€˜the green fairyâ€™ for them.
I know most of you wonâ€™t believe me but I honestly didnâ€™t even know what they were talking about. That was truly the first time I had heard of absinthe or of the green fairy.
â€œDude,â€ Cam, had said. â€œThatâ€™s the alcohol like no other. Van Go cut his ear off after drinking too much!â€ Cam is a major bullshiter. I didnâ€™t believe a word he said about this â€˜super alcoholâ€™ but still, if it exists, Iâ€™ll pick up some.
So I left with my family and we headed off to Madrid. The nice thing about Spain; the drinking age is 18. The nice thing about my parents; they trusted me enough to run around the city â€œsight seeingâ€ alone. As long as Iâ€™m back by dark, they said.
Almost immediately I started searching for the souvenirs my friends asked me to bring back. It wasnâ€™t too hard to find shops selling the stuff but I figured that if I were going to get it, it should be of the highest quality. So I asked around, and it was on the last day before we were scheduled to fly back, that a cab driver and I had a nice little conversation.
Driver: â€œah, you seek the best absinthe. There is but one place.â€ His English wasnâ€™t terribly great but it was understandable. â€œDo you know what you are getting into, my young American friend?â€
I told him I was a long time drinker of Absinthe. In a matter of fact tone, I told him I drank it everyday. He laughed at me. Clearly aware of the bullshit I was speaking, â€œI take you to get Absintheâ€, he said.
The shop looked closed. Not for the day, but for a long, long time. Graffiti marked the store front. Trash was blown all over the side walk. Although no lights appeared to be on inside, the driver walked in and hesitating only for a moment, I followed him.
Out of nowhere an old man leaped up from behind the counter, almost causing me to shit my pants. Again the driver laughed at me. Embarrassed, I sat on an old stack of newspapers as the two had a conversation in Spanish.
The driver looked over and asked me for money. I asked him how much. He gave me a look of impatience and thrust his hand, palm side up, in front of me. â€œMoneyâ€, he insisted.
I reached into my pocked and grabbed the wad of five and ten dollar bills and slammed it into the driverâ€™s hand. He pocked two tens for himself and tossed the remaining funds on the counter. The old man reached under the counter and grabbed two bottles of liquor, one after the other, and sat them next to the money.
He motioned for me to come grab the bottles. As soon as I picked them up from the counter he pointed at the door, which I interpreted as â€œnow, get the fuck outâ€
â€œDo not get caught with those, my friend, illegal in America, they areâ€, the driver said as we were getting back into the cab.
This was news to me. I considered taking them back but changed my mind as I recalled the encounter with the old shop keep. I would risk bringing them into the states. How bad could it be?
The driver and I didnâ€™t speak anymore the whole way back to the hotel. My parents and I didnâ€™t speak the whole way back to the airport. I didnâ€™t speak to anyone the whole flight home from Spain.
The two bottles were in my Carry on. The customs guy was making me nervous but never did give me that cavity search. We left the plane and walked to the baggage pick up. The whole time I was thinking, at any minute, some airport security guys were going come out of nowhere and beat me to the floor, then expose the contraband I was smuggling into the states, fucking paranoia.
Without incident, we got our bags and left.
It was the next week when I went to Camâ€™s house for a party. I had the bottles on my backpack. Camâ€™s older sister Joyce answered the door. Sheâ€™s 22 or 23 still living at home. Hot beyond belief, but with the manners of a cobra.
â€œOh, itâ€™s youâ€, she said with contempt, â€œwhat do you want?â€
â€œIs Cam downstairs?â€
â€œCameron!â€ she yelled down the basement steps, â€œget the fucking door!â€ and started to walk away.
â€œHey Joyceâ€ I said, as I unzipped my backpack. â€œLookâ€
When she turned around and saw the cargo I was carrying her eyes got wide.
â€œIs that what I think it is? I want to try it.â€
â€œStop being a cold hearted bitchâ€ I said.
I pushed passed her and walked down the steps to where Cam and the rest of our friends were drinking cheap beer and having a good time.
Iâ€™d like to tell you about our night. Iâ€™d like to, I really would, but I wonâ€™t. I canâ€™t.
I remember how we opened the first bottle and passed it around the 8 to 10 people at Camâ€™s little party.
I remember mixing it, 1 part absinthe to 5 parts water. Just so we could start out light. Then we slowly moved up to equal parts absinthe and water.
I remember how we melted the sugar cubes into the diluted absinthe to lessen the bitter taste.
I remember as the bottle was finished off people started to stumble home until it was only Cam and I left.
I remember looking at the clock and realizing it had been only about 30 minutes since I had gotten there.
I also remember Joyce coming down to Camâ€™s room, asking if her and her friend Sara could drink with us. To Cam and I, this sounded like a great Idea. He had a thing for Sara, and Secretly I guess I liked his bitch of a sister Joyce.
The Girls were older. We wanted to show off. That meant shots. No more diluting the alcohol with water, we were going to drink it straight.
I donâ€™t remember us finishing off the last bottle.
I donâ€™t remember dressing up like a Mexican gunslinger.
I donâ€™t remember driving the 4 of us to the strip club where Joyce told us she secretly worked.
I donâ€™t remember getting thrown out.
I donâ€™t remember getting pulled over.
I donâ€™t remember stealing the car we were in.
I donâ€™t remember Sara naked and running from the police through central park.
I donâ€™t remember when Cam asked a guy selling hotdogs to cut his ear off.
I donâ€™t remember how we ended up on a subway train.
I donâ€™t remember Joyce attacking a blind manâ€™s Seeing Eye dog.
I donâ€™t remember Sara peeing on a manâ€™s laptop.
I donâ€™t remember when Cam pulled the emergency stop lever.
I donâ€™t remember my stand off with a rookie cop in the subway tunnel.
I donâ€™t remember Cam, Sara, and Joyce doing Wild West sound effects as I pretended to draw a pistol I didnâ€™t have.
What I do remember is the thunder the copâ€™s pistol made as he fired.
I remember the searing pain as I fell to the ground.
I remember wondering why I was dressed as a Mexican.
I remember seeing a naked and mud covered Sara, Standing over me, giggling. Her legs glistening wet and smelling like pee.
I remember seeing Joyce, whose stripper clothes weâ€™re ripped up and bloody from fighting a Doberman. She was dancing around, ballerina style.
I remember seeing Cam, standing there laughing his ass off, stolen hotdogs hanging out of each of his pockets, and one in each hand. He said, â€œDude! He shot you in the hand man! See if heâ€™ll cut your ear off too!â€