Restless and reckless add up to bitter mischief, especially after I’ve pounded a few brews. Although there were four beers left in the cooler, I was dreading the walk upstairs to the liquor cabinet. In order to get to it, I’d have to walk through the house and that’s where my wife would be, asking me what I was up to, so I’d have to make up a lie and try to keep moving before she got it in her head that there was something she wanted me to do. Then, if I made it past Checkpoint Charlie, I’d have to make my way through a den that had become the final resting place of various unfinished projects, towering piles of improbably repurposed crap listing like castoffs from an incompetent totem pole carver. At the end of that journey, our august liquor cabinet stood like a tabernacle, imposing and dusty.
Everything that happens there is nearly silent and solemn as a church service, the serious business of pouring a drink while keeping the rest of the world in the dark. It just seemed like too much work, with too many potential pitfalls to get to the goodies.
Bored, I wandered out onto the lawn, a meandering ramble through the backyard despite the desert heat, like a walk on the face of the Sun. A lush start gave out to an area closest to the rear wall where the lawn was reduced to large patches of baked dirt, weeds, dead grass. And now, ants. Their little village appeared to have been washed out, the area where they’d been living and working turned into a slab of adobe, sunbaked mud ripples where piss puddles had dried. The thought that my mighty torrents had killed them off lasted less than a second when suddenly tiny needles of fire exploded on my feet and legs. I showered myself with beer as I went airborne, dancing wildly as I tried to slap the little asswhipes off my skin, spitting, “Fuck! FUCK! FUUUUCK YOU!”
Ant-free and the stings still hurt. In the grass, just beyond the spot where I’d laid down my diluvium, eight fresh holes poked out of the ground. I immediately knew where I’d be coming for my next piss. If I had to chase them around my lawn with my lethal flow, so be it; I had the beer and the urethra of a baby whale.
Back in the shade of the patio my thoughts returned to a buzz supplement since most of my beer had spilt when I did my ant dance. Killing it, I reached into the cooler for a freshie and succored myself with an ice cold gulp. With the heat, I knew my beer wouldn’t last long and I’d be still be standing tall, not staggering into a corner bead. Rummaging in the compartment beneath my grill, I was hoping to find a spare bottle, maybe a liquor I’d used to flame something. On the side of the cabinet not occupied by a large bottle of propane, a pile of grill gear accumulated over the years had been forced into a solid mass of unused barbecuing tools and accoutrements. Beyond the pile was my secret stash, a fuel-fed chafing dish, a small bong and two bottles, Evan Williams (empty) and Captain Morgan’s (Maybe a shot. Maybe.). Pulling out the rum, I considered the sterno attached to the chafing dish. After all, there was a blues song about it, “Woke up this moanin’, canned heat on my mind,” guy must have liked it if it’s his first thought after getting hammered by it the night before. Yeah, he did go on to say it was killing him (that, and the woman who wasn’t having him) but he was drinking it night and day. This was going to be a one-time experiment. What could go wrong?
I fished out a small highball glass and closed the grill back up. Keep things tidy before getting balls out insane. Western-like, I spit into the glass then wiped out dust and dead bugs with the tail of my shirt, then poured in about half the sterno. Expecting an awful, chemical smell, I was surprised at how bland and waxen the bouquet was, a few notes of cherry cough syrup, banana peels, a peppery hint of Toluene. Really, the smell was no worse than the wine we’d served at Thanksgiving, stuff her sister had brought over. Taking about a shot’s worth, it tasted no worse than that wine, no worse than the rum I’d just finished. However, the glow that followed gripped with a weird vibration, one that felt like having a piece of cardboard for a roof while eating beans from a can.
Ants were asking to be pissed on and I was ready. The sun was almost down and I wanted to get a good look at my target, find a safe place to stand. It looked as though the ants were packing it in, calling it a day, fewer scurried through grass that had been busy with ants just a little earlier. The unsuspecting insects began scrambling wildly after catching the first burst from my bladder, tumbling ass-over-elbow in the torrents that rushed down the sides of their little hills. All eight entrances had been obliterated by my stream and I had plenty to spare for just giving the entire patch of their stomping ground a good watering. Zipping up, I returned to the patio with a sense of accomplishment, certain I’d have them whipped out by night’s end.
I celebrated my feat with another stiff shot of sterno chased by a fresh beer. There were only two beers left and a half can of sterno to finish so I revamped the pace I’d set for myself. Although not completely nasty, the sterno was better with a beer chaser.
There’s little I remember, after that. I know I pissed on the ants one more time and then, the next thing I knew, I was in handcuffs, wearing nothing but a blanket, sitting in the back of a police cruiser while my wife was pointing and shouting at a couple of cops who appeared to be looking for reasons to leave. Apparently, I’d taken off my clothes and then climbed a wall to sit in my neighbor’s pool while their family was using it. They said I didn’t do anything perverted but just swam around the pool, claimed I was God and that I’d destroyed the Sodomites, that they’d all turn into pillars of salt if they looked in my backyard. I was charged with trespassing, disturbing the peace, indecent exposure and a bunch of made-up charges that they throw in to make sure the sterno is left alone.