I was driving myself to drink. Literally driving to Dungee’s, a bar, on Drinksgiving. It was a tradition to go out the night before Thanksgiving to pregame hard before the festivities start the next day. The idea of dealing with my family among the mindless constant babble of football was enough to warrant the mandatory hangover.
Dungee’s was one of the few places I knew of that had Pappy Van Winkle bourbon usually available. It was liquid gold, and you better have a vault of gold to afford it, but I work hard and drink harder. That might have been one of the reasons why my family was hard on me, but it was a holiday and I didn’t want to think about it. I ordered a flight of shots of their top of the line stuff and found a table in the corner. I sat with my back to the wall so I could watch everything that was happening. I wasn’t going to allow any of these townies to sneak up on me, those bastards.
As I sipped my first shot glass, my sister and her husband came in and waved at me. Jennyfer was as much a pain in my ass as the rest of the family, but she could be fun when she got buzzed, so I waved them over to the table. Steve waved back, but the two of them went to the bar first. They placed their orders before coming over to sit with me. Jennyfer had her Manhattan in hand, half of it already gone before she even sat down. I pointed at it with a raised eyebrow. “Hey, I had to walk all the way over here. It made me thirsty,” she said.
“You guys walked from mom and dad’s?” I asked. They lived like four miles away and it was breath seeing weather out. That seemed so unlike my sister who had to have a car to drive from her dorm to the building across the street. I wondered if she had been abducted by aliens.
“Hell no,” Jennyfer said, “Just the walk from the bar to the boonies where you are sitting. Could you have sat any farther away?”
I smiled. That was my sister. Jennyfer one, aliens zero. I nodded to Steve. “You DDing tonight?” I asked.
“Hells no!” Steve practically shouted. “I’ve got my own flight coming. I need some fortification to put up with the beat down my Cowboys are about to receive.” As if the heavens opened up as the prophet had spoken, five beers landed on the table. Steve lifted the first into the air. “God bless ‘Merica and God bless them Cowboys!”
“Wait!” I said as I slammed my empty shot onto the table. “One of us better be the Designated Driver or we could be so screwed.”
“What were you planning on before we got here?” Jennyfer asked.
“To be shitfaced before you showed up, forcing one of you to deal with it,” I replied.
Steve took a drink of his beer, pondering what I had said. I could tell his beer was something fancy, but all I could smell was the Milwaukee’s Beast that he would drink last. Steve didn’t want to waste his money on something he wouldn’t care about, but I found it barbaric. There were times I didn’t know what my sister saw in him.
“Well if you didn’t sip that swill then your plan would have worked,” Jennyfer said. She threw back her Manhattan and raised two fingers. The bartender smiled and nodded. I think he was an ex of hers, but still pined on. Loser.
“Look, you do it tonight and I’ll do it on Friday,” I told Jennyfer. “I already spent a mint. I pointed at the four other shots still sitting in front of me.
“I’m not facing that house sober,” Jennifer replied. “Uh uh.”
I looked at Steve. He held up his hands. “I’m just married into that crack house. You guys fight it out.”
I looked back at Jennyfer. Her two Manhattans arrived. She looked back at me, daring m to take the next step. I thought about seeing how fast I could shoot them all, but that would be such a waste of my hard earned drunk money.
“Okay,” I said, “Rock paper scissors to determine who confronts Dad’s cranberry sauce without a hangover.”
My sister looked like she wasn’t going to ride to the bait, but she suddenly gave in. “Fine. On three. One, two, three, throw”
I threw out a scissor thinking she was going to go all paper guessing I was going to rock her drunken world. Instead she went rock and smashed my hopes and dreams.
Steve screamed, “Yeah!” He then grabbed two of my remaining shots and handed one to Jennyfer. “To sibling love and them Cowboys!” Jennyfer was about to shoot it back when Steve yelled, “Wait.” He motioned his shot towards me. “One for you dude.”
“But I lost her bet,” I replied.
“We’re going to be here for a while,” Steve said. “One won’t kill us.”
I picked up my shot and the three of us shot them back. Okay, so maybe Steve was cool after all. I slammed my glass down. Let the Thanksgiving festivities begin.