(originally posted to alt.atheism March 18, 2006; a little editing and revision follows...)
Back-story: I've known "Lefty" (not his real name--protecting the guilty) for more than 30 years, now. We've lived a few houses apart almost all that time (for several years we each lived in different states or towns, but he moved back into the family home in December of 2005).
The guy's got a well-stocked liquor cabinet, he's a hell of a cook and a movie freak. Every Sunday evening, I make the long (500 foot) slog over to his place to watch a movie and hang out.
Lefty's been wanting to try absinthe for a few years; last year (when he lived across town) he dug up a recipe and tried making up a batch. He sunk more than $100 into this venture, getting several large bottles of Everclear, the wormwood extract and other stuff. He and another guy tried it out one Saturday night; I showed up and watched. They opened the first bottle and in seconds I could smell the stuff from the other end of the house--it smelled of Listerine and oregano. Nasty. Dark green. Each one had a couple of martini glasses of the stuff. Aside from the booze buzz, though, all they got was Oregano Listerine breath.
Fast forward to this past Sunday. Lefty had ordered a 700ml bottle of the real thing. Took a few weeks to ship. He was utterly impatient waiting for it, and once the bottle arrived he was utterly impatient to get into it.
He started with maybe 3 fingers' worth in a Scotch glass, pouring it over a pair of sugar cubes to mask the taste. Guzzle. He waited several minutes and was disappointed, for he'd been hoping for some psychedelic effects and was just feeling the booze.
A second glass, only this time he held the sugar cubes in a spoon and lit the stuff (it's 60% alcohol) to melt the sugar. Guzzle. Several more minutes' waiting, and now he was getting angry. What was the point in spending US$120 for a simple booze high?
Third glass. Now it's been maybe an hour, and he's only getting drunk and more irate.
Fourth glass. If I'd known any better I'd have stopped him at the third one. He's complaining loudly to me and his other guest that this stuff was too damn expensive. She got up and went outside to answer her cellphone.
He got a good bit drunker just on this 4th glass.
Then the stuff hit him. He was all ready to get up and make himself a fifth glass of the stuff. Had his glass in hand...and somehow poured himself out of the couch. That's the only way I can describe it--he went down flat without a THUMP, and without spilling the dregs of drink #4.
That is talent.
He started laughing hysterically and shouting with glee, lying there on the floor: "I'm on the floooooor! This is fucking awesome! This is the best high I've ever haaaaad!"
Needless to say, this cracked me up, me being stone sober and eternally amused by the antics of drunks in captivity. I wish I'd thought to bring a camcorder.
He low-crawled into the kitchen to procure drink #5. He had it all ready to go (and I was ready to take it from him and hide it and the bottle) when his cell phone rang. He carried on at length with the caller, utterly enthralled by this wonderful booze, and went out his back door to take a leak.
10 minutes went by. He knocked on the door glass. He couldn't negotiate the stairs (they wouldn't be still). He handed me the phone and told me to pour drink #5 out. I did this and hid the bottle. Lefty handed me the phone and stretched out on the dirt at the foot of the stairs, staring up at the amazing clouds. I told him to roll on his side. He did, and spent considerable time being fascinated and frightened by the "Hitchcock Zoom" interaction between his arm and the ground it rested upon, and by the electric grass.
Long story short: He stayed on his side for nearly 3 hours, with me and the other guest trying to get him to move inside. Any sort of motion made him retch. He tossed up maybe 3 glasses worth of that stuff in that time (he did all this on an empty stomach), and with us nagging at him he finally crawled on his belly up the stairs, crawled across the threshold, and stopped on the floor (refusing to move any further), where we covered him with blankets, pulled off his shoes, made him as comfortable as possible, and let him sleep it off.
He remembered most of it the next day--and says the hangover was pretty bad. I just added the whole thing to my "This is why I don't drink" list, made note of it for future use in a story, and hope he doesn't try such a damnfool thing again.
At least...not without me having my camcorder handy.