So today I received a telephone call. It was a friend wanting to know if I wanted to go to the liquor store with him. He’s got a brand new vehicle, and I had told him that I wanted to take a joy ride. So this was my chance.
As I abandoned my own meal that I had prepared for the evening, I took off into the Land of Booze. My friend was clearly on a mission, and I was just there to run around. I had no intention of buying anything there. Even if I did want something, I left my wallet at home.
And then I would turn the corner and go down the last aisle and find something familiar. Something that I would want. VAT 69.
I’ve had this before. The label says its Scotch Whiskey. The label also says “Imported from Scotland”. I still to this day have no idea if whether this is a scotch or a whiskey or if its really all just the same.
I’m not real big on drinking. I never really have been. And even when I go out, I don’t drink. So I honestly don’t know too much about the different kinds of alcohol and what they are.
But I’ve bought VAT 69 before, in the 1.75 L bottle. Tonight, I had my friend buy the only size bottle that they had, which was “1 litre”. He paid $15 for it.
I was remarking about my journey to another neighbor earlier this evening, and I told her about my FIRST bottle. And what happened to it. That neighbor’s request has prompted this story to be told in this blog post.
When I had the 1.75 L bottle, I had paid almost $45 for it. Alcohol is not something that I normally would buy and so I knew that this would last me a while. And if I didn’t like it, it would last me a lot longer.
But I blame Hollywood for that first purchase. And I blame Hollywood for my interest in trying Absinthe.
This VAT 69 was purchased only because I became a fan of the HBO series, “Band of Brothers”. It was shown in an episode towards the end of the series. And since I liked the series so much, the next time I found myself in the liquor store… I looked for it.
For whatever reason, be it ignorance or whatever, since the series was set in World War II- I wasn’t even sure if VAT 69 was around any more. I would always look for the specific black label that was shown in the series, but never saw it. Instead it was always VAT 69 GOLD. Proving that yes, it is still being sold.
So I would sit down and drink it the first few nights. But I wasn’t really drinking heavily at all. It wouldn’t even seem like I was making a dent to the bottle.
Then at one point, I had a bad tooth that needed to come out. So I would drown the pain away with VAT 69. At least I had the sense to stay inside of my home when I did that. And even still, that would never make a dent.
Enter: Neighbors In Need.
A married couple had been displaced because of Hurricane Ike. And now they live here where I am. The husband very tall and yet quiet and perhaps shy. The wife being friendly, yet living the life piously of “a good Christian life”. She would berate me like she was my own mother if I were to say words like “crap” or “dang”. Heaven forbid I uttered the truer profane words of “shit” and “damn” in her presence! Not only would I receive the third degree for using profanity in her home, but anywhere else that I might have been where she was at as well.
Then her health began to take a turn.
Unfortunately, she was not always financially able to get the medications that she needed at the time that they were prescribed.
Some other friends incessantly offered to make her a drink in place of the medication, saying that it would help ease her from the pain of whatever ailment she was suffering at the time. It would be an easier fix until they were able to afford the medicines.
Being that she lived this pious lifestyle, she would always refuse their offer. Drinking alcohol was just not something that she was curious about or had any desire to do… up until the evening where she felt she had no other choice because the misery and pain was too great. Desperate for relief, she called them back and begged them for a mixed drink. Of which I do not think that I need to mention was very, very stout.
She enjoyed it, and all the pain just melted away. I understand that she even got a good night’s sleep that night.
A few days later, she would call upon that same neighbor for another drink. I don’t think it was too long after the first time. But those neighbors were not at home.
I had gone over to their place to watch television with them, and she went on and on and on about how much pain she was in, and she wished the other neighbors were home so that she could just “get a little something”.
Now, I know what you are thinking. No, we did NOT corrupt her into being an alcoholic. Neither did we corrupt her to stray away from the Christian lifestyle that she lived.
When I heard her whining about the pain and heard these wild stories about how she believed she was in the midst of a “spiritual/religious warfare” with her doctor, I finally stopped her from nagging about the religious differences and told her that I had some alcohol at home and offered her some of the VAT 69.
(Note: her doctor at the time was from India, and she didn’t believe that her doctor was a Christian. And why she was so shocked to hear that I had alcohol at home is beyond me. I AM of legal age to purchase and consume alcohol.)
At that time, I probably still had 80% of the bottle left. I came back to her place and gave her the bottle. She thanked me and blessed me and called me her “saving grace, her guardian and protecting angel”.
The bottle was then passed over to her husband where he would pour some of the VAT 69 into some smaller container. Measuring by finger width, he probably took two fingers. Not that much at all. Then she insisted that she pay me for the alcohol.
This would repeat. She would call to see if she could have any of the VAT 69, and that she would pay for it.
Then I started getting $20, $20, $20, $15, and so on.
Eventually, she would take the rest of the bottle. It was all gone. And she paid for it all.
I paid $45 for the complete bottle. The neighbor would end up paying a total of almost $100.
It was a very profitable endeavor. All in all, she still has her lifestyle. But she quit complaining about her pains, and I got a little richer.