We were deep into a Monday night of drinking at Touchdown Club, blasting 90s rap from the jukebox and chasing whiskey shots and dollar Rattlesnakes with Busch. When Destiny arrived to relieve the previous bartender, she approached us and, without hesitation, extended her hand. "Hi, I’m Destiny," she said with a smile. "And you are?"
We challenged her to choose our drinks.
"Destiny will choose our shots!" my friend exclaimed, nudging me with drunken wordplay, a foggy reminder that I was there for a story. "DESTINY WILL CHOOSE OUR SHOTS!" I yelled, as if sheer volume would transfer ownership of the turn-of-phrase. I typed it in my phone’s notepad, misspelling a few of the words.
Another shot was probably a bad idea. It was time to tab out and go home, but it was 17 degrees outside and no one was itching to leave.
Hours earlier, the unassuming dive at Admiral and Yale beckoned us with one of those unwieldy stand-alone marquees, the kind usually found at used-car lots. It blocked the sidewalk and was nearly flush with the building’s exterior, its big, light bulb-laden yellow arrow pointing straight at the front door as if to say "GO HERE. NOW."
The bar was smaller than it looked from the outside. Two pool tables and a handful of high tops competed for the limited floor space. Several digital gambling machines occupied the corners. A microwave and coffee pot sat under a dry-erase board filled with handwritten specials. The space felt hard and lived-in, but the staff was friendly and the regulars tolerated us.
A handful of weathered bikers sat at the bar, eating Pizza Hut and drinking low-point beer.
It was silent inside, save for some chatter and the low drone of the television. We surreptitiously overtook the Internet jukebox through an app that allowed me to anonymously pick the music from my phone. My buddy mischievously suggested Radiohead’s morose, electronic "Everything In Its Right Place." I bought the track and pressed play. The first note, though relatively soft, hit my eardrums like a freight train. The building practically shook from the volume. I winced and forced myself to gauge the room’s reaction. I expected at least a few glares, but no one batted an eye.
Destiny chose Lunchboxes.The concept of the Lunchbox is ridiculous: it’s beer, orange juice, and amaretto, piled into a pint glass. It’s like an alcoholic eight-year-old’s answer to an Irish Car Bomb, one of those festive, embarrassing things you do only if you’re already sauced. She prepared a round while I quietly, pathetically attempted to rap with Ice Cube.
"No barking from the smog – I mean dogs – no smog –breakfast with no hog… Finally got a call from –shit. I forget." Thankfully, no one paid attention.
We cheers’d and chugged. It was refreshing—if nothing else, a welcome reprieve from the whiskey. The guy next to me watched us, then ordered his own. He took a sip and eyed it suspiciously. "It’s okay, I guess," he told me.
Destiny reclaimed the jukebox and asked another customer to play her favorite Kacey Musgraves song. We tabbed out, thanked her and made our exit.
The hangover was brutal.
My head pounding, I made myself morning promises: no more Lunchboxes, no more Rattlesnakes, no more rapping.