We drive down the road past a couple lights and are trying to look for this liquor store on our right. But by this time it’s way past breakfast and lunch. Grace is getting hangry, my stomach is having a boxing match with my small intestine, and we’re both slowly getting tired of this misadventure.
In the midst of our discussing what we’re gonna eat, we miss 125th street and have to turn around, wondering how we could have missed the store. When we make it back, we see a plaza that we missed and there’s a store with the following name written in giant red letters:
We take a moment to soak in the anticlimactic waterfall of irony then pull into the parking lot.
We’re finally here. And if Janiece isn’t passed out by now, the final ingredient for her saving grace is finally within our grasp.
We walk inside and I’m greeted by aisles upon aisles of liquor and my first thought is, “So this is what a liquor store is supposed to look like.”
We walk right up to the guy behind the desk and I ask him, “Can I get the smallest shot of liquor you have?”
“What kind?” he asks.
“Any kind. What’s the smallest shot?”
“Shots come in packs.”
“Okay,” I shrug. “What’s the cheapest one?”
“Well, which one do you want?”
It doesn’t matter! What don’t you understand?! Our friend is dying!
“Just give me the cheapest one,” I tell him.
He pulls down a pack of 12 shots of liquor.
“How much?” I ask.
Absolutely not. “What’s the cheapest liquor you have?”
“What size do you want?”
“What…it doesn’t—just give me the cheapest-what’s the smallest size?”
By now, more people have come into the liquor store and there’s suddenly a line behind us.
“We have a pint of vodka.” He pulls it out and puts it on the counter. “And we have some rum.”
“How much is the vodka?”
“Hmmm. That’s better. And the rum?”
“Hmmmm.” The Haitian medicine specifically calls for rum, but should work with any strong liquor. Should I risk it with the vodka or should I spend the extra $2.25 just to know for sure that I’ll get the exact recipe?
“Go with the vodka,” the woman says behind me.
“I’d go with the rum,” her friend chimes in.
I pause for a second to appreciate the myriad of assumptions these people are making about me and this pint of rum, none of which are probably remotely close to what’s actually happening.
“Wait, I know this rum,” Grace points out. “It’s Caribbean rum. We have to get this one—by principle.”
She has a point. “But it’s more expensive.”
“But we also just made four extra dollars.”
That’s also a good point. Thanks to Tyrone, we can now afford to splurge. “Rum it is.”
And the teller rings me up.
We grab our rum, the people in line wish us luck, someone claims to know me from somewhere, I establish that that’s impossible, then we head back into the car, with the final ingredient finally in our grasp.
But when we walk outside, the car is gone.
That wasn’t funny.
In the end, we make it back home, make the Haitian concoction, some ginger tea, serve it up to Janiece and we’ve all been living happily ever after.