We Were Always Drunk

by Wells

We had a bottle labeled “Bass”.  Like the tonal range, not like this fish.

I imagined a Laurel and Hardy -era sleepy man in a nightcap referring to a cabinet full of bottles labeled for the specific label each elixir could cure; Arthritis, Nerves, Polio, Bass, Toothache.  When the party was still raging downstairs, below Room 7, the bass from the speakers would  shake the beds.  The only way to cure the insomnia this caused was a couple of bold swigs from the appropriate medicine bottle.

We just poured the last bit of  every bottle of booze that came through the house into Bass.  No beer, no wine.  It was really awful.  One time we found tiny flies in it, even though the bottle had been securely corked.  We poured it all through a coffee filter into a jug, then through the same filter back into the bottle.  I drank Bass once or twice.  It was not pleasant.

There was plenty of  Schnapps, so it was always minty or spicy.  But mostly it was whiskey.  The flavor of whiskey, good or bad, has a way of cutting through vague fogs of flavor the way drinking a beer with dense chocolate cake makes you really realize you’re drinking a beer.  Bass was so harsh.

By the time the bottle got smashed in the fireplace we didn’t know whether it was still half-full during the incident or emptied, and we were secretly half-glad.  Bass existed and now it’s gone and attempts to bring it back will prove insufficient and anyway moronic.  It was a mistake.  But still, Bass was legend.

Again, it’s pronounced “base”, not “bass, like the fish”.