When he first made his way to his seat from the back of the bar, I thought I had been blessed with a caricature. The Marine drill instructor hat, the track jacket, the missing front teeth. But the aviator sunglasses covering the eye patch and another, almost useless, eye almost made me believe that I was the butt of some "Scent of a Woman" style joke. But no, this was real. I had finally gotten to meet the Sarge.
We came to the conclusion at the end of the night that the Sarge must have taken a liking to the cut of my jib, (maybe because I used the word "sonuhbitch" instead of enunciating) because neither of the Sunday regular staff had ever seen him like that, a visual interpretation of the word drunk. But I'm getting ahead of myself. I asked him what I could get him:
"I hear you have a Mr. Dickel behind the bar...I'm comparison shopping tonight," was how it all began.
Glass of George Dickel and a water with lemon.
"I'm from Tullamook, Oregon."
"Oh, like the cheese." That response also earned me some points with the Sarge. Boot camp was going particularly well. We made jokes. He made my patrons feel uncomfortable, like a reminder that they too will succumb to age and drunkenness. Boot camp was still going well.
Old Crow (after the Sarge made friends with Cowboy George, who deserves his own explanation).
Old Grand Dad (no, I wasn't presenting the Sarge with a theme. He was too clever for that).
Three rounds of Henry McKenna table whisky. (Where I earned particular favor when I explained that it was called table whisky because if you drink too much of it, you end up under the table.)
Then, like a dog that's been beaten for too long, he finally snapped under the strain of too much roughhousing...
Will finish this when my wife stops complaining about her hangover...