The Gross National Debt

Monday, April 27, 2015

Bad would be an improvement

The writing on the side of the bottle has to read "HAHA! Stupid American idiots. They drink our brake fluid!"
Hovey provided this reminder, a picture of hell in a box.

This is not a case of Engrish because the writing was not in any form of English from either side of the Atlantic. For that matter, it might not be Chinese hieroglyphics. It could be random slashes of ink on the carton and the bottle.

If whoever designed the containers had drank much of that crap, it probably was random slashes in an attempt to spell out "I'VE BEEN POISONED TO DEATH! HELP ME!"

"That crap" was a box, bottle and liquid contents which Hovey Smith swears he got in China on a business trip a day or so before he came back to Georgia to attend the Georgia Outdoor Writers 2015 conference in St Marys.

I believe Hovey as he's never lied to me, nor given me reason to doubt him. After that ... stuff ... I have reasons for other opinions about Hovey, none of which I can go into here because he can shoot just as well as I can.

 Hovey said the Chinese call it "white liquor" as he sat down at the table with me and handed over a barest sip of the stuff in a plastic cup. I immediately thought of the "white" bourbon Jim Beam sometimes sells. It's the raw bourbon, before aging in the barrels.

"It has bamboo with a hint of machine oil. They like to get foreigners drunk on it," he said.

Hah. A challenge! Not that I intended to get smashed on the stuff, but I certainly had to sample this stuff which the Chinese like to foist on unsuspecting Westerners. I immediately thought of sheep's eyeballs and other "delicacies" foisted off on us Western types much to the amusement of the Eastern hosts.

I sipped. Being Southern Born, Southern Bred and determined to stand tall in the face of adversity, I put on my best poker face as it burned its way down. The burn wasn't that rough.

The taste. Well now.

That stuff would have to go a LONG way to be called bad. I'm thinking a 20-year soak in burnt oak casks might bring it to the level of moderately effective paint thinner.

Vile. Demonically vile. UnConstitutional punishment vile even during the days witches were burned at the stake. In the Sandman Slim novels, the main character drinks something brewed in Hell. Richard Kadrey got the idea for that whisky from the stuff Hovey had. Machine oil, you bet. Bamboo, yep. A complex host of other tastes found in the world's biggest metal foundries that set up shop next to outdoor commercial tanneries and piped the combined effluent out into a fermenting vat into which semi-rotted carp scales were dumped for flavor.

I felt my genes mutating.

Except worse. No. You can't imagine. Be more thankful than you can imagine that you haven't found out and pour on greater hope that you will never try it.

"They love it," Hovey said.

While Hovey did not lie to me, I feel certain the Chinese lied to him.

I told Hovey alcoholics who shoot hair spray into water to remove the alcohol for drinking would sip that stuff and become stone cold sober and never, ever drink again.

He laughed.

Polly tried it a second time because she could not believe her first taste. Words fail me.

I was certain the last bit of the stuff was going to dissolve the cup. Even the scent was enough to cross my eyes and people who know me tell you I have no sense of smell. (That, thanks to a walk through a cloud of anhydrous ammonia when I was 5).

It took four good bourbon and sodas to erase the taste. It took that much to straighten my insides out.

Intrinsically vile. You'd serve this to people whom you hate so badly you want them to keep living.

Even now I can remember it and the memory is causing my stomach to cramp.

I'll see if I can get a bottle to share with y'all next time you come around.

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