Saturday, January 26, 2008

Mossy's Backpackers #20

“Okay so that makes Cate, Greg, Cindy, Tim and myself,” Max said. “Anyone else want in?”

“What’s going on?” Tobias asked as he returned from the kitchen carrying three bottles of beer.

“We’re going to the beach to build a bonfire and stay up to see the first sunrise of the year,” Max replied, gratefully accepting one of the ice cold bottles from Tobias. “Interested in joining us?”

“You’re all off your rockers,” Tobias laughed. “No way. I plan on being passed out on this couch by 2 am at the latest.”

“Aw, come on Toby! It’s going to be an experience you’ll never forget!” Cate begged.

“The amount of alcohol required for me to stay up that long pretty much ensures that I would forget it immediately,” he replied. “How are you guys getting there anyway? You’re not walking are you?”

“Oh hell no! Max is gonna piggy back me there,” she answered as she hopped onto Max’s back and wrapped her arms and legs around him.

Max took a swig form his bottle and contemplated the pros and cons of accepting this proposal.


“If she gets a free ride,” Cindy announced, “then I better…”

“No,” Greg cut in firmly.

“You’re all bonkers,” Tobias said, shaking his head. “What time are you heading out?”

“Whenever my lady digs her spurs into me,” Max replied.

“I was thinking one or two, depending on what time things quiet down here,” Cate said as she rested her chin on his head.

“Alright, well ask me again when you’re packing up to go, I might change my mind by then,” Tobias allowed.

“Sounds good! Any other takers?” Max asked, doing his best to act as though having Cate perched on his back was the most normal thing in the world.

“Yeah, why not – we’ll go too,” Diego said from the far end of the couch where Jay and he had been talking it over.

“Excellent! This is going to be brilliant.”

“Ah, the persuasive power of alcohol,” Tim mused before taking a liberal sip of his rum and coke.

“Speaking of which – that doesn’t look like a Texan’s drink,” Diego said. “I thought you guys only drank beer and cow blood.”

“I prefer beer,” Tim replied, “but the coke will help me stay awake until the sun shows up.”

“That is a damn fine point,” Greg said. “As a result of this new information I think I shall switch to vodka and Red Bull. Can I mix one for anyone else?”

“Oh God,” Max answered immediately. “Absolutely not.”

“Haha, bad experience mate?”

“You could say that. The first time I got drunk was in Ireland – we had vodka and Red Bull at the hostel then went out for a couple pints of Guinness. I have never been so sick in my entire life.”

“Nasty,” Cate said as she slid off his back. “That would put me off it too.”

“Well, I’ll drink either on their own – just no more mixing!” Max laughed. “And it didn’t help that I had to hitch hike the next morning.”

This revelation was met with groans of understanding all around; almost all of them had been stuck thumbing with a hangover at some point in their travels. Although they had probably been wise enough not to do it in a country with roads as winding as Ireland’s.

“Hey, it’s almost midnight! Does everyone have a drink?” Cindy asked.

“A drink? A drink?” Greg winced. “It’s the start of a new year! Not just any drink will do. I’ll get the tequila.”

Despite several voices rising in disagreement Greg marched into the kitchen. Before long he returned with a bottle of Jose Cuervo and an armful of shot glasses. He moved around the room as everyone picked a glass from its precarious perch – some more enthusiastically than others.

“Alright,” Greg announced once everyone had their glass, “hold out your glass and I’ll fill ya up.”

“This is such a bad idea,” Tobias muttered as he eyed the amber liquid in his glass warily.

“Thanks,” Max told Greg after his glass was filled. “I think.”

“Hey, just be glad I didn’t grab the Fireball,” Greg warned him.

“Oh, I love that stuff!” Cate exclaimed. “It tastes like cinnamon – I want that instead.”

“No way, everybody has to drink the Cuervo,” Greg said firmly.

“Fine – then I want a shot of Fireball to go with it,” she shot back. Greg started to protest before realizing he had no ground to fight on. He gave in with a shrug and returned to the kitchen.

“Thank you very much,” Cate told him sweetly as she accepted the second shot.

“Whatever, ya nutter,” Greg replied with a shake of his head.

“Let’s count it down!” Tim called out. “Everybody up!”

Everyone not already standing scrambled to their feet with varying degrees of spillage. Greg eyeballed a few that looked rather intentional but was met with innocent faces.

“Ten!” Tim boomed out on his own before being joined loudly for the “Nine!”

Are you going to do it?

Do what?


You’re hopeless.

Oh. That.

“Two! One… happy new year!”

As one they raised their glasses in salute then downed their shot. Beside him Cate chased the tequila with the whisky before thumping the empty glasses on the table and turning to face him.

She looks um… determined.

Before he could react she rose up on her toes and kissed him firmly on the lips. She lingered briefly before sinking back down onto her heels.

“Happy new year, Max,” she whispered, smiling up at him.

“Happy new year, Cate,” he murmured back, his lips tasting pleasantly of cinnamon.

“I’d like to propose a toast!” Greg announced, then quickly added, “Of the non-tequila variety.”

Everyone gathered up their previous drink before giving him their full attention. Well, besides Max, who gave him about a quarter of his attention.

“To butcher an old saying: let new friends never be forgotten and may they often be brought to mind!”

“I’ll drink to that,” Max said as he raised his bottle, clinked it against Cate’s and took a good, long swig.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just loving the storyline