The mix is sloppy; heavy on the alcohol, no considerations given to taste whatsoever. But alcohol is not something to be enjoyed, or even tolerated; for them, it is a means to an end only. Jenna looks at her friend after taking a sip of three-quarters vodka, with orange juice for colour, desperately trying to appear pleased even though her face is contorted in a disgusted grimace.
"Mmmm, this is really good! You should try some!"
And they both take sips, one after another, trying do out-do the other's acting skills. Meanwhile, I sit on the couch next to Liam, who is already slurring his words at what, 9:45, 30 minutes after we cracked open the Tanqueray. Oh, young drinker, so much to learn yet. How to pace yourself, start quick and slow it down, riding the buzz. But I watch, the fascinated elder statesman, as they experiment and learn; what mixes well, what doesn't, what liquor hits you like a tonne of bricks and which ones mellow you the fuck out.
But it is almost ten now, and they are all way too drunk to care. They drink disgusting, ad-hoc concoctions, much like the Japanese at commodore Matthew Perry's end-of-negotiations banquet, who, in the words of an American officer present,
"when clean work had been made of champagne, madeira, cherry cordial, punch and whiskey, we gave them a mixture of catsup and vinegar which they seemed to relish with equal gusto."
Their still-forming, nascent personalities are laid bare. The boys immediately want to fight me, each other, inanimate objects, anything, and make crude advances towards the females. The girls slowly bare more and more skin, newly understanding their feminine powers, and wind up crying about the latest grave injustice to their existence. They all stumble around, like learning how to walk again, and - what's that? Sounds like violent retching coming from the basement bathroom.
I check my watch. Zero to puking in forty-eight minutes, we have a winner.
Liam comes stumbling up to me, wiping his mouth. He cups his hand over my ear and speaks quietly.
"Hey dude, do you have any pot on you?" This kid just doesn't stop. I exchange knowing glances with my friend sitting across the room. I sure as fuck have some pot on me, but that's for us, much later, once the youngins have passed out.
"Sorry, dude. I'm dry."
Liam stumbles away, obviously disappointed. But I will not be corrupting the youth tonight.