Plonk (From Monster Children #46)

By Dave Carnie

I was recently in a doctor’s office where I was asked to fill out a form that had a peculiar amount of alcohol related questions on it.

1. When drinking with other people, do you try to have a few extra drinks when others won’t know about it?

Sort of. When wine tasting, the friendly servers always say, “Let me know if you’d like to revisit any of the wines you’ve had.” I like to revisit wines. So I guess, technically, my answer is, no, because while I do have extra drinks, others know about it. At the same time, it feels kind of sneaky.

2. Have you been having more memory “blackouts” recently?

Yes. Because I’ve been drinking Jagermeister. The last blackout occurred at a gay bar in Key West, Florida. I think Tania and I would have been in the gay bars anyway, so much do we enjoy a good gay bar, but in Key West there really isn’t any other choice. Unless you want to sit in one of the dozens of “Margaritaville” iterations, all of which are filled with grumpy, conservative assholes on vacation. The other queer thing about the off-the-rack vacation bars is that each and every one of them has a dude playing an acoustic guitar, belting out pathetic renditions of shitty country songs at decibel levels usually reserved for Slayer. Tania and I are still at a loss as to what to call these guys (bar buskers?), but there are so many of them that we wondered if there are rival bar busker gangs that have rumbles (unplugged).

So we frequented the gay bars and watched the drag shows. There’s nothing like a husky fella in heels, wearing a tiny dress, and singing show tunes. As we were walking back to our hotel one night, we passed a bar called 801 Bourbon and we were herded in by a giant drag queen on the sidewalk who wouldn’t allow us to pass until we bought a drink. Fine. The queens in Florida are huge.

It was very late, and we were very drunk, but as we sat there drinking, I noticed an inconspicuous door against the back wall that people were discreetly going in and out of. “Wuzzat?” I slurred. “Secret bar?” Tania wondered. We moved closer to the door and waited for someone to exit, and then scooted into the room before the door shut.

I later learned the not-so-secret bar is called Saloon 1. “It's a relic from the late 70's—early 80's pre AIDS era,” Jeff D. wrote of it on Yelp. This place is as seedy and dirty as it gets.”

I thought it was cozy inside, so we pulled up stools at the secret bar. The sign on the wall in front of me read, “Our house wine is Jagermeister.” I thought it was funny for a second, until I realized it was a Jager sign, and then it wasn’t a joke anymore but a commodity. I ordered a drink and had a look around. My eyes wandered up to the TV above the bar where I expected to see ESPN sport ball replays like you do at every bar, but what was on this television was not sport. There were balls involved, and it was very athletic, but it was not sport.

There were no less than four nude men in the frame, and one of them was on his back on a table wearing nothing but a little leather vest. His legs were in the air and every other part of his body was occupied or busy doing something. I am rather jaded and callous, but the second my brain registered what was going on, I blushed and quickly averted my eyes. I stared at the drink in front of me realizing that I won’t ever unsee what I just saw. I started laughing and looked at Tania. I could see the whites of her eyes, so I knew that she had also seen the athletics on the TV. I recovered quickly because I thought it rude to go into a gay bar and not be down with gay sports. Plus, I had to admit I’ve seen worse sports involving straight men and women.

As my eye searched for another diversion, I noticed a neon sign above a black curtain that said, “CUM BUCKET.” It actually said “CHUM BUCKET,” but the H was out.

“What’s that?” I asked the bartender innocently.

“It’s a private room,” he said. “I think there are a couple people in there right now.”

I took that to mean, go on in, people are mingling about. But as I stood up to visit the Cum Bucket, the bartender rather sternly said, “No. There is a couple in there right now.”

“Oh, uh, okay,” I replied, not understanding. After a beat, it finally sunk into my thick skull and my eyes went wide again, and I said, “OH! Oh my!”

There was a pool table over in the corner, so I suggested to Tania we go whack some balls around. But as we were chalking up sticks, Tania looked at the end of hers and said out loud, “I wonder where the tips of these have been?” At which point, I abandoned the pool game and placed my stick back on the rack, but not before giving it a little whiff. “I wonder if they even play pool on this?” Tania wondered.

I sat down back at the bar and looked up at television, then at the Cum Bucket, then back to the pool table. “Diss playz is rad, man,” I slur-thought. I hailed the bartender and ordered a big, tall, frothy glass of the “house wine.”

“Make it two,” Tania said.

3. Have you ever been unable to remember part of the previous evening, even though your friends say you didn’t pass out?