I came home tonight not wanting to do much but relax. The Chief asked me over dinner what I was going to do with my evening, and the thought occurred to me that maybe playing a board game would be fun.
ME: How about a game of Monopoly?
CHIEF: Really?! Okay!
Having had a somewhat taxing day, I decided to run out and grab a bottle of bourbon. Then, I remembered that I already had a bottle, unopened, which I had been saving for a special occasion. This would be my bottle of Booker’s, perhaps the greatest bourbon to have ever graced my lips.
The story behind this bourbon was told to a small group of people at a tasting this past summer by Freddie Noe, great-grandson of Jim Beam. Booker Noe, Fred’s father, decided in 1988 to give the world the only bourbon that is bottled uncut and unfiltered, right out of the white oak barrel. Ben and I, both fans of the Knob Creek (another of the Jim Beam Small Batch family [Freddie Noe’s contribution to the line]), winced as we brought the small glass of Booker’s to our nose, and winced even harder as we took a sip. Because of the nature of its bottling process, a bottle of Booker’s is between 121 and 127 Proof. Though we were used to drinking single malt scotch neat, we were not ready for Booker’s. Unlike scotch, however, bourbon can be cut down a tad with spring water. Fred encouraged us to try a little water, and sure enough, the bourbon was greatly enhanced by the addition. Fred told us that part of the reason for Booker’s unique bottling was to allow consumers to cut it down to how they actually wanted it, instead of having it cut for them. We were amazed at how much better and smoother just a quick dash of water made to the drink.
I bought a bottle on the spot, and had Fred sign it for me.
FRED: What would you like?
ME: How about… how about “Max, Congratulations.”
FRED: Oh yeah? What are you celebrating?
ME: Nothing yet. When I got something to celebrate, I’ll open it.
FRED: Heh. I like you, son.
And so that bottle has sat in my cupboard for many months. Tonight, I realized in a rush that I had bought a house, a dog, written a novel, joined a professional comic studio and released my first comic book/graphic novel into the world. If that wasn’t reason to celebrate, I didn’t know what was.
The Chief had the game all set up, and our game of Monopoly began. Some history: I kick ass in Monopoly. Always have. When I was a 10 year old kid, not only had I beat the pants of off my unbeatable father, but I then beat the Emperor of Business and Monopoly – my grandfather, an avid player of the game. He even has strategy books on Monopoly, all for naught against my skinny buzz-cutted butt. The game where I first beat him was a ten hour stint, a power struggle of epic proportions until I finally edged him out. So, with my patience, luck, and verve, I was damn near unbeatable in my very business-oriented family.
The Chief took me out behind the shed tonight in under 40 minutes.
These were possibly some of the worst moments of my life. I hit all the bad breaks tonight by hitting every Chance and Community Chess card in the deck that actually take money away from you, hitting the Income Tax, and getting nailed four or five times a run on Mediterranean with a hotel ($450) and the thrice-owned railroad ($100). I think I passed Go a sum total of five times because of all my time spent in Jail (4 times in the clink).
For some reason, my Monopoly powers are negated by the Chief; the Monopoly gods must favor her charms. When we first played together, she beat me. Not bad, but unusual. The next several times she had beat me also. Eventually, I got used to her style, and I beat her about 1 to every 2 games nowadays. That is frustrating enough for an old dog like me. But tonight, tonight was an ass-beating that I will never forget. I have never lost that bad before in my life.
I played to the bitter end, mortgaging my properties almost as fast as I had purchased them as each roll of the dice cost me money. The Chief has more than proven to be a worthy opponent, and in fact I am thinking of having her look to my financial investments and affairs from now on.
But like alcohol on a wound, goddamn if that bourbon wasn’t what I needed.
Took the sting right out of it.
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