Saturday, June 7, 2008

Bumwine: The Horror... The Horror

The usual suspects.

from issue 1, volume 2

Written by: Morgan W. Carmichael and The Editor

With help from

First, there are probably some of you who do not know the meaning of the term “bumwine.” Bumwine, fortified wine, hobo wine—they’re all names for the same terrible kind of drink. As long as there have been homeless people, there have been awful-tasting forms of alcohol there to keep them warm, insensible, and, uh, homeless. You’ve probably seen them in gas stations, or heard of them, or maybe you’re one of the idiots like me who’s tried them: MD 20/20, Night Train, Wild Irish Rose, Thunderbird… or the Hobo King of them all, Cisco. Most of the time it says “wine product” on the bottle under Ingredients, often with added “natural and artificial flavors.” By natural they mean urine. By artificial, they mean paint thinner. Sometimes the makers have the courtesy to add in some artificial flavorings like “green apple,” “blue raspberry” or the more ominous “wild fruit.” Alas, with Thunderbird all you get is a heady bouquet of rubbing alcohol and gasoline. I have seen Cisco Orange at a gas station before—I’ll bet you anything it still tastes purple. But, for the second Christmas season in a row, your faithful Editor and two of his friends plumbed the darkest depths of the human soul in ways that only Cisco can allow.

The only Cisco for sale in Boone was the Black Cherry variety, but it really doesn’t matter. As I said, the ingredients don’t vary from bottle to bottle: they all say “citrus wine and grape wine with artificial flavor and artificial color,” and below that, the obviously-lawsuit-enforced warning, “THIS IS NOT A WINE COOLER—8 SERVINGS.” Speaking of lawsuits, Cisco was ordered by the courts to remove its catchphrase “Takes You By Surprise,” from the label, despite its being 100% correct. Most people don’t feel drunk at all before they’re halfway through the bottle, at which point the liquid crack, or whatever’s in there, hits them like— well, like a night train. The only difference between the “flavors” is the dye—I will go out on a limb and say it’s dye, not actual food coloring—in each one.

Last year, my two fellow travelers and I dueled each other with furniture. I apparently passed out in a friend’s lawn and had to be retrieved and dumped on a couch. One of my two companions was photographed asleep with his eyes open. That picture still haunts me. The other spent over an hour throwing up. This year, after scaring a lot of non-drunk people who’d stopped by to see the spectacle, and attempting to maintain the attention span necessary to play WarioWare on the Wii (think about that for a minute), we decided to walk across town, in the middle of the night, in twenty-degree weather, to see a friend who was working the night desk at a local hotel. I honestly believe that I would have fallen by the wayside, shuddering like a shellshocked World War I soldier, clutching my bottle and urging my fellows to go on without me, probably somewhere in the neighborhood of the Long John Silver’s for maximum pathos, if not for the intervention of a kindly couple of friends who had stopped at Cook-Out at the same time as we three. Once we were safely indoors again, I asked one friend to play a game of comic book word-association with, well, my drunk ass. These are the results. The ancient Greeks believed that Dionysos and the other gods sometimes spoke through mortals who drank so deeply of the vine that they touched the infinite. After two go-rounds with Cisco, I can get behind that.

Batman: “Rich asshole!”

Post-Infinite Crisis Flash: “First-term abortion!”

Hawkwoman: “Worthless bitch with a stupid helmet!”

Gorilla Grodd: “Best Flash villain ever!”

That scene in Green Lantern where Kyle’s dead girlfriend gets stuffed into his fridge: “Fuck you, Comics Code!”

The current Fantastic Four storyline: “Time travel? Don’t they do that every Thursday? Kinda like TNG? (zing!)”

Birds of Prey: “I’m an asshole for not reading it.”

Green Arrow- Year One: “Wrong time to rip off Lost!”

*Federally Mandated Child Warning Corner!*

Kids— please do not, under any circumstances, attempt to drink bumwine. At least, not until you’ve trained for several years with ordinary wines and liquors.

—The Editor

No comments: