By Jamie Swinnerton
By Mark Antonation
By Lori Midson
By Jonathan Shikes
By Amber Taufen
By Cafe Society
By Juliet Wittman
By Jonathan Shikes
It's that bittersweet time of year when we must say goodbye to certain members of the Institute of Drinking Studies as they move on to greater responsibility, more disposable income and, with any luck, more time between binge-drinking bouts. While their departures sadden those of us who remain at the Institute, Denver insurance rates and liver enzymes should start to ease downward until new researchers are found to take their place. But in the meantime, the heads of Drinking Regrets and Sleeper Drunks and I had one last ride in store -- and we were hoping to take a few others down with us.
The night started with several rums colored with Coke and an online version of Jeopardy (I have no idea why). In a very short time, we went from answering highly difficult trivia questions to not being able to spell our own names two times out of three. We were like those two Russian soldiers who, after stopping for vodka at a liquor store, crashed their armored vehicle into a car dealership on the ride home. (You'd expect your stereotypical Russkie troopers to handle their liquor with more aplomb.) Not that we'd point fingers, because we were carted to our destination by a cabbie who tried to kill us as well as several pedestrians unwisely sitting on their front lawns, and essentially crashed our own version of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle in front of the Handlebar & Grill(305 South Downing Street).
The impact of our arrival was lessened by the absence of the Head of Sleeper Drunks, who somehow disappeared between the parking lot and front door -- a distance of fifteen feet. Still, just two of us managed to make such a loud, inappropriate entrance that we were both thinking we'd never get served. So we grabbed a booth and quickly ordered alcohol-absorbing bar food as well as two drinks apiece, after a premonition that we'd either be cut off or spill. It was the latter, but the mess didn't deter us from devouring delicious wings and nachos in a display that would make a hyena nauseous.
Rejoining us, the Head of Sleeper Drunks spun us towards the back room. A young lady soon approached, probably as part of her community service, and during the usual bar banter we learned that she'd recently resigned a local phone-sex job. On any given day a guy is going to be intrigued with this information; at our level of inebriated immaturity, we were absolutely enthralled. In a matter of seconds, we learned more about the phone-sex industry than should be legal. Obviously, to have a future in this business you must be an accomplished actress or female impersonator capable of upwards of fifteen depraved personas. Despite what the movies show, you can't do household chores at the same time, because clinking dishes ruin the mood of whoever's paying $3.99 a minute. And while you might think that this profession would cramp your social life, she advised us that she always got called fifteen minutes ahead of time so that she could prepare the requested scenario as well as find a phone where people won't notice her turning eight shades of red. Despite our pleading, we never got a free sample.
So we spun off yet again, showing our mental prowess at pool ("Which number am I?" I wondered at one point) and entertaining the bar with a moving rendition of Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead or Alive," with me as a short-haired JBJ and the Head of Drinking Regrets as Richie Sambora. There wasn't a dry eye, or pair of panties, in the place.
By the end of the night, the Head of Sleeper Drunks eerily resembled Chaka from Land of the Lost; since he'll never be able to top that, it's probably good that he's moving on. So while we honor our departing colleagues, we're also seeking new Institute members. Feel free to contact us in care of Westword -- but make sure you give us fifteen minutes to answer the phone.