The Dance of Jack Daniels

Allen didn’t have many friends before high school–one or two, to tell the truth. But upon transferring to his best friend Ethan’s school, he became a part of Ethan’s circle of friends. And his friends were far more normal than Allen was wholly comfortable with.

Tyler, a well-liked (even by Allen) member of the group, had reached his sixteenth birthday. He was a young man with a wisp of a mustache and chin whiskers, the thickness of which was most acute just above the corners of his lips, giving him a permanently demented sort of grin, like a cartoon duck. It suited his character.

“The parental units have agreed to abandon the premises,” said Tyler during lunch hour as the five-man and three-woman crew surrounded their usual cafeteria table. “Joey will secure the boozeahol.”

Puberty peaked for Joey in grade eight. Today, he was a full-bearded, somewhat corpuscular man with fur sprouting from the back of his t-shirt collar and a vaguely receding hairline. He was never carded.

“Gonna get wicked dunk,” he said. “Dunk and intoximacated.”

The others responded approvingly to his lingo. Allen followed their example, despite having comparatively innocent experience with booze, alcohol, or any portmanteau thereof.

He looked at Ethan, who shrugged grinningly. The two of them were more experienced with movie and video game nights, sipping coke rather than coolers. But there were one or two or maybe all three ladies they were each interested in at that table, and so would accept any excuse to loosen up with them in the vicinity.

And thus came the day of Tyler’s party. As promised, his parents departed for the night on the agreement that there be no booze or drugs in the house. Joey arrived an hour later with the goods.

Tyler kicked things off with a birthday shot of Jack Daniels. “This stuff is evil,” he kept saying. “Eeeevil.” Then he planted his duck mouth to the rim of the glass and took the shot to great cheer.

Now it was everyone else’s turn. Joey supervised, having the most experience. Ethan opted for vodka as his beverage of choice, taking a mickey of the stuff and drinking surprisingly liberally for such a religious guy. Allen, daydreaming about rugged cowboys slamming back whiskey, wanted to try a shot of Jack. He was nervous, though. Sure he’d tried beer and wine, disliking both, but never to a drunken level. He was never one for too much of anything that he thought might alter his brain chemistry in any way. He kept away from coffee and over-the-counter medicine and certainly weed. But he could see Heather Meadows watching him, and he resolved to cowboy up.

“Keep your throat open and let it slide all the way in before swallowing,” Joey suggested.

Alan Day pointed out that an unspecified lady once uttered the same words. Heather rolled her eyes but smiled, smiled at the wrong Allen/Alan. So Allen Kaminski said, “Alright,” and took up the shot of Jack, and down it went, just as Joey instructed. He felt a campfire roaring down his throat, warming his belly. His throat tickled, and he wanted to cough, but goddamnit, cowboys never coughed (except due to all those Camels), so he wouldn’t either.

He had no memory of the rest of the party.






Day 268’s three random writing prompt categories were, “The surreal life of Allen Kaminski,” “A pack of high-schoolers,” and, “Duck face.”

I’ll add more to this tomorrow. Let’s see what trouble old Allen gets up to this time.

– H.

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