Our trip to the Cycle Oregon event in
Maybe it was the adrenaline or (more likely) the liquor, but after the Pants Machine RV began belching flame and toxic smoke (and after I trampled poet Scott Poole on my way to safety) my first thoughts were of the many grand tales and songs of the occasion that we’d share with friends and fans back home. As we huddled in the chilly street we began telling the stories right there and then, to people we really didn’t need to tell, as they were there, then. It was Roshomon soaked in tequila.
Our loudly exaggerated accounts were punctuated by the hearty, careless laughter of people who thought they cheated death and lived to drink again. Bedside lamps and porchlights flicked on all over the sleepy neighborhood. Nearby, tired cyclists grumbled in their tents as the RV whined its fire alarm, ever more weakly. Out of concern for the now disturbed peace of our neighbors I would approach clumps of storytellers and shush them responsibly. But a minute later I’d find myself bellowing my own hyperbolic account, making jokes about live wires and flaming pants then being shushed by someone less drunk and more responsible than I.
Perhaps it was because of our immediate and exhaustive processing of the event that the tales are few and I’ve yet to hear any songs. (I’ll be very disappointed if Alan and the Pants don’t come up with one. This could’ve been their “Smoke On The Water.”)
There are still legendary elements of that perilous night that deserve tales told and I want to share one in particular before it fades into the haze of the brain cell graveyard.
Getting to the RV-that-was-rockin’-so-please-come-a-knockin’ was a trial in itself. At the close of our show there was no clear plan or destination for our after party. The cast, crew and guests of Live Wire dispersed to find an open bar or otherwise not-friggin-freezing location at which to celebrate. For about an hour my girlfriend and I wandered the empty streets of
The partay prospects were looking more and more grim. We decided to wander past the RV on our way back to camp where we’d sadly, soberly slumber. There we found the encouraging sight and sound of way too many people crammed in a recreational vehicle parked crookedly on somebody’s front lawn. We were surprised however to find
So we partied! Finally! It was cramped and a little smelly and there was another weird towny guy inside making things interesting. But it was a party! I even went outside a few times to help the cop with his arrest by holding the flashlight, and going through the “perp’s” wallet. (I wasn’t as instrumental in this endeavor as our own Amy Stevens, who was so professional and helpful to the policeman I started to suspect she was a narc.) We discovered from his ID that the drunk guy was actually minding his own drunk-ass business in his own front yard (our unwitting host!) but made the mistake of getting physical when Johnny Law happened by. I salute you, drunken scrapper! You played your fateful, enabling role well.
It was there, next to the toilet, peering out the RV’s back window upon the scene of our host’s misdemeanor that I sampled Linsel’s Jagged Gin and Tonic.
Linsel Greene, friend of Live Wire, took pity on my sober state and fashioned me the drink that would make me merry, and later, lubricate me enough to smoothly slide through the figurative tight spot of a crowded RV fire. From then on it was either tightly gripped in my hand, held aloft in toast, happily passed amongst friends or (believe it or not) sloshing around in the pocket of my coat.
Yes, this blog entry does have a point and this is it. The recipe. I will try and present it as I observed it being created.
3 inches of warm Schwepp’s Tonic Water forgotten in the bottom of the plastic bottle.
An equal portion of Tanqueray Gin containing swig backwash from friends and strangers and probably drunk belligerent dude from the lawn outside.
Something mysterious that kept bobbing against my lips but was never identified, possibly from my pocket.
Step one: Cut tonic bottle in half with rusty kitchen knife, leaving plenty of jagged plastic points on rim.
Step two: Pour gin/backwash mixture into tonic bottle (now the drinking glass.)
Step three: Dump in a dirty handful of melting ice from equally dirty RV sink and swirl.
Step four: Allow a moment for alcohol to kill deadly bacteria from rusty knife, soiled hands and dirty sink.
Step five: Enjoy!
Step six: Repeat.
Except...there's no repeating this one-of-a-kind concoction. You can try. That's the idea behind a recipe I suppose.
Not being a fan of tonic, especially, I found this mixture exceptional. To my understanding tonic was invented as a means of administering the medicine quinine, so gin and tonic seems a bit like scotch and Robitussin, or rum and Pepto-Bismol.
So thanks go to Linsel, and his contribution to one aspect of that legendary fiery night under the stars of
And thanks to whoever picked up the drink’s empty plastic shell, which I abandoned on the street when the warm, convivial feeling it produced had cooled and gone taciturn. Give a hoot, don't pollute.