“Since we can’t hang on your birthday next week, I brought over a present.” Garret presented Joseph with a bottle of Maker’s 46.
Joseph handed Garret a PBR and grabbed one for himself.
“Play some heads up?”
Each man shuffled a deck of cards and counted out an equal number of chips. In their regular ring game with friends they played dealer’s choice, but one-on-one they only played No Limit Hold ‘Em, tournament style for a fixed amount.
After an hour they’d each won a game and had a couple of beers.
“Why don’t we open the bottle you brought over? Just to try it.”
“No arguments here man, I just thought you might like to save it for some other time.”
“Nah, let’s open it.”
Joseph opened the bottled and poured a glass for each of them, neat.
Another hour passed.
“This stuff is so smooth. Just plain Maker’s is so smooth, but this stuff is . . . I don’t wanna say ‘better,’ but they’ve outdone themselves with it,” Garret said.
An hour later, “Joe, you’re just not a good poker player. Let’s play again, I own you.”
“How can you say that after you just bluffed away all your chips?”
Garret snickered. “I read you right, you shoulda never called with bottom pair.”
“But you had nothing. It was the right call, I beat you.”
“Yeah but I could’ve had something. You’ll see next time. Shuffle up.”
“Hang on, I’ll pour us another.” Joseph walked to the kitchen with their glasses. “Garret, you know there’s only about a third of this bottle left.”
“Are you serious?”
“We can finish it.”
“That would be dumb.”
The game devolved into a display not much unlike two card guts, rarely seeing a flop before they were both all in. When Joseph poured the last of the bottle, Garret tossed his deck aside, knocking over his remaining chips.
“I owe you $8. I’ll pay you later.”
“I don’t care about the money, Garret. The joy lies in victory.”
“Good, then I won’t pay you later.”
Joseph raised his glass, “To the remnants of this beloved bottle, Mr. 46, you were delicious.”
“May the juice cleanse our souls.”
The doorbell rang. As Joseph rose to see who was there, he realized for the first time that he was very drunk, his perception falling into a familiar blur. It was Annabeth. He’d forgotten she said she might stay over.
“You guys got wasted, what’s wrong with you?” Annabeth laughed as she asked, but her tone disapproved.
Joseph, concentrating hard to avoid slurring his speech, offered, “Sometimes people drink a whole bottle of 46.”
“I’ll just be on my way now,” Garret said as he stood to walk home.
Annabeth fell asleep disappointed, Joseph barely making it to the bed. The next day he felt horrible, nausea and a splitting headache barely affected by ibuprofen, wondering why. Annabeth thought perhaps her boyfriend was an alcoholic.