1 Shot Spiced Rum (Sailor Jerry)
2 Shot Rye (Rittenhouse Rye BIB)
½ Shot Orange Liqueur (Grand Marnier)
1 tsp Rose’s Lime Juice
Dash of Blood Orange Bitters
Ginger Beer to Top
His head was pounding and when he moved his hands from the table he could see palm prints made out in fog on the wood.
“Your head hurt still?”
She turned and stooped to the cupboard directly behind her, ignoring the shotgun on the counter. “I think I’ve got something that’ll help.” She pulled out a bottle of rum and a bottle of rye and then went to her fridge, old and dirty and light blue paint flecking off.
“I’m not sure drinking is going to make this any better.”
She pulled out a bottle of ginger beer and some lime juice. “Well, hair of the dog, like they say, right?” She paused for a moment. “I suppose not really in this case.”
Not really at all, he thought. He hadn’t had a drop of drink in close to two years and had not planned on starting back up today. Plans have a funny way of changing on you, though.
“This is sort of like this drink they call a Suffering Bastard. Sort of like it, but that has gin and bourbon, or rum and mai tai mix.” She had a mixing glass in front of her now as well as a shot glass. She poured a shot of the dark rum and he could smell its spiciness from the table, and then she reached to the rye. “But I don’t trust clear liquors. And I have a personal rule against premade mixes.”
His response was silence, still, his eyes hazy and looking not quite at her and not quite past her. He reached with one hand to his eyes, pressing slightly against the pressure he was feeling in his head. She dropped in a second shot of rye, and then poured a slight bit of the lime juice in after it. “Oh! I have something that’ll really make this.”
She bent back down to the cupboard and pulled out a bottle of some orange liqueur in a kitschy little bottle and, without measuring, poured in a stream. As she was bending over, he noticed some of the dried blood on the back of her shirt, which he noticed she had not changed out of since the night before.
“We need to talk about last night,” he said, finally.
She didn’t answer. Instead, she put the orange liqueur bottle away, pulled out some orange bitters and dashed a couple drops in, and stirred. She took a step over and grabbed a pint glass from the sink. She looked at it for a moment, turned the faucet on and rinsed it out, and then went to her fridge. She opened the freezer, popped several ice cubes out of a tray into the glass so it was nearly totally full. Then, returning to her mixing glass, she opened up a drawer, pulled out a spoon, and stirred. She poured the cloudy looking mix into the glass over the ice. The glass was half filled, and she poured the ginger beer in to fill the rest. She turned and handed him the drink.
“We’ll name it after you. How does the ‘Suffering Asshole’ sound?”
He didn’t answer but looked at it with the sort of blankness that is usually reserved for attempting great obstacles without any preparation: climbing a mountain, running a marathon.
“It usually has some fruit chunks in it like pineapple or whatever, but eh, we’ll have to make do with this.” She sighed. “It’s supposed to be good for hangovers. And I suspect that is about as close to what you’ve got as anything.”
“I usually prefer Bloody Mary’s for that,” though he didn’t add, when I used to drink.
“Bloody Mary’s are for Sunday brunches at Grandmas, and pussies. I’m sure as hell not Grandma, so don’t be a pussy.”
He looked at the drink one last time, took a breath, then brought his hand to the glass and took a swig. There was a familiar warmth from the whiskey and rum, several layers of spiciness, unexpected sweetness.
“You can go fuck yourself if you wanted something different.”
He held the glass still, in front of him, and he felt the ice crack suddenly. “No, no — its good. Something to sip.”
“Well, you wouldn’t want to gulp it, thats for sure.”
The silence that was becoming familiar to both of them reintroduced itself.
“I saw a man get eaten last night,” he said, setting the glass back down on the table a bit too hard, making a loud thwump sound. “And not just eaten, or eaten by an animal, or whatever. It was eaten by a, by a… a thing. Actually, a large, green, quivering mass of things.”
It wasn’t quite pity she looked at him with, but it wasn’t far off. “That, actually, was a shub-niggurath.”
“The black goat of the woods with a thousand young? No?” He shook his head. “Well, its like this: Super ancient evil being, pre-human, pre-dinosaur, pretty much pre-everything. Occasionally it eats people. Or makes them go crazy. Or both.”
He was silent again. The drink in front of him was not going to waste.
“Listen, you followed me. God only knows why. I didn’t ask for that, and you get what you get.”
He had followed her, to be true. The blind date had gone terribly, but she had left her wallet at the table and he wanted to get it to her. Her cab left seconds before he got to her, and he had to get his friend to send him her address — that had taken some work to convince him he wasn’t some creep trying to track her down. Or, perhaps, he was a bit of a creep; he had, after all, hoped to salvage something in talking to her. Such as:
“Oh, I’m so sorry for what an ass I was tonight!”
“Oh, that’s fine, I get it, you were nervous.”
“Terribly sorry! Here’s your wallet. Can I make it up for you with some ice cream and dirty sex?”
Instead, he got to her apartment building, but pulled up to see her leaving. He followed her for a moment — was she actually going to meet up with someone else? — but she ran into the park that was just down the road. He followed her in, and the park became thick with large oak trees and old, ancient growth.
There, he saw it.
It was walking, or floating — he couldn’t tell — maybe 500 feet in front of him in the forrest. A mass of tentacles — he thought they were tentacles — and eyes and squirming, writhing darkness. It dripped small blobs of things that looked like giant maggots that were also seemingly a singular creature.
She was crouching to the side of the growth, hiding behind a tree, a revolver in her hand. A man in a robe stood in front of it, yelling something indecipherable. He stood, watching, dumbfounded. A ringing started growing in his ears. Coldness swept over his forehead and he couldn’t close his eyes. She saw him from her hiding spot.
“Get down!” she yelled. And that was that — whatever cover she might have had was gone, and the man in the robe saw her too. But that broke his concentration as well.
She ran to him and pulled him down, and the robed man started to say something. That was cut short, though, as one of the tentacles came out and slid around the man’s waste. He gasped, and started to scream — but another tentacle came around the man’s neck, and squeezed him silent. Then, they pulled, and with a spray of red the man came apart.
She sat up, and fired two shots at the beast. Then she pulled him up by the collar of his shirt, and dragged him back, and they ran as fast as they could. They arrived back at the apartment, and he didn’t say anything.
Actually, he couldn’t say anything. He was stricken silent, seemingly forgetting communication himself. She put him on her couch, and she went to bed. He lay there, quiet, not sleeping until she woke up just an hour ago. Her reaction was to take him to the kitchen and make him this drink.
“Well, I suppose that you have some questions.”
He nodded, looking only at the sweaty glass. “Is it going to come for us?”
“Maybe. Eventually. Right now it is growing and feeding its young. I’m going to stop it before it gets any farther.”
“What about me?”
She laughed cruelly. “You’re going to go home and forget about this.”
He looked at her directly. “Not fucking likely.”
“Most people actually go insane when they see it. It’s not entirely a part of this universe, and that can warp minds.” She pulled out the only other chair of the table and sat down. “You’re lucky you’re actually talking today.”
“Let’s just say I’m not fazed easily.”
It just occurred to him that he had never given her the wallet back.
He pulled the small thing out of his pocket. It was thin, brown, a bit worn, and simple. She looked at it and her bottom lip fell open just slightly.
“Is that why you were following me?”
He lied. “Yeah.”
“You stupid son of a bitch. You know you could have gotten it to me today?”
He finished the drink, leaving only the half-melted ice. “Now you tell me.”
(posted as a response to Chuck Wendig’s Flash Cocktail Fiction Challenge: http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2014/01/31/flash-fiction-challenge-a-drink-with-a-story-a-story-with-a-drink/)