Flash in the Pan

A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights

A Conversation In Yucca Valley

by Larry Maxcy

I brought the bottle of Bombay Sapphire up to the checkout stand. Benny was working there. I know Benny-a little guy, maybe older than me, traces of a New York accent although he'll tell you he's from L.A. Benny works retail. He would fit in anywhere behind a cash register, always looking a little sad, always looking as if he's going to be disappointed.

He scanned the bottle, and his eyebrows went up when he saw the price. "Wow," he said. "Twenty bucks for a little bottle of gin!"

I told him an old friend who drinks it might be visiting later this year, and I wanted to try it, see what it was like.

"Must be a chick," Benny said.

"Well, yes, it's a woman" I said, "but how did you know that?"

"Only a chick would pay twenty bucks for gin. And in a frou-frou blue bottle, too. Gin's gin. Pay eight bucks tops. It's all the same."

"Well, let me try it," I said. "I'll let you know what I think."

"Yeah, yeah," Benny said. "But gin's all the same. And do you know what they got now? Flavored vodka! Can you think of anything dumber? The whole point of vodka is no taste, no smell. Drink it for breakfast if you want, no one knows. Now they put flavoring in it, just like a soda. Damn chicks ruin everything."

I gave Benny the money, and he gave me change back. "Look at that-just for a damn bottle of gin. Jeez!"

I picked up the bottle, and told him I'd let him know how I liked it.

"Let me give you a tip, man to man," he said. "You finish it up, then fill that frou-frou blue bottle back up with the house gin. She'll never know the difference."

"Well, I don't know, Benny. I think she might."

Larry Maxcy lives in the desert, in a place where frou-frou liquor is available. He has written numerous articles on gardening, but prefers to write about gin.

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