Safety Monkey has a friend named Wally, who I often refer to as Wallingford, or by his handle Xarion. They’re friends to this day because of Meridian 59, which they played years ago, and he used to visit from Wisconsin from time to time. He has no accent to speak of, except when he says Cat, which comes out like “Kyat.” In any event, he doesn’t need to visit anymore because he lives here. This story is from when he didn’t.
On a whim, he and two friends drove from Wisconsin to Seattle at a straight shot, and that seemed like something worth celebrating. If you are a young person, I recommend that you celebrate a trek like that with wholesome milk. We did not. We celebrated with Liquor, which is like milk, except that it issues forth from the devil’s cold teat. Being bartenders, Xarion and his cohorts crafted beverages whose names are not known to men. He even invented a drink for me, which was exceedingly vile, and constructed thusly: Two shots of vodka, Grenadine, and Alka Seltzer. I’m not actually sure if he likes me very much.
That was the second place we went. The first place was Sushi Chiso, where I had Sea Urchin. They had two kinds of sea urchin there, cheap and very expensive, and I am glad I got the cheap one because I threw up in my mouth. It tasted like a combination of sand, peanut butter, and bile, and I apparently my stomach couldn’t wait to start digesting it.
By the time we made it to the fourth such establishment, my friend Gone had mentioned more than once something called a Cowboy Killer. I don’t have any particular interest in Cowboys, the killing seemed interesting, however he would not discuss the specifics of it, murmuring something about red and blue pills and how I couldn’t be told what the Matrix was. I was like, whatever. A couple of the other guys almost got into a fight over something in the Dungeon Masters Guide, so we were none of us feeling any pain. Yet.
Xarion’s friend wanted to know if my man Nihil and I were ready to do Cowboy Killers. I had tried to go to the bathroom just before this, and a loop from my fleece jacket had gotten caught on the pinball machine so I couldn’t move, and I had chalked it up to “force fields.” So this is the state of mind I was in when a shot of tequila, two lemon wedges, and a rubber band were placed before me.
I looked at them for a moment.
I couldn’t imagine any way to combine these things that would not hurt. Bob Wisconsin (I can’t remember his name) began to speak:
“Place the rubber band around your head, then squeeze the lemons into your eyes. Fumble around like a sightless kitten until you find your shot of tequila, at which point you will drink it and snap the rubber band.”
Do I need to put some kind of disclaimer on here? What I was about to do is not glamorous. Please don’t do this, it sucks.
As I squeezed the lemons into my eyes, new genres of pain were revealed. I reached out in agony for my liquor, which seemed distant. I ran into Nihil and nearly fell, but came up with the Tequila, and did my duty by it. I felt like an Olympian, such was my dedication to this act. I snapped the rubber band, and it was like being hit with a hammer. My cruel tormentor claimed I had not snapped it with enough vigor, which seems strange to me as my mind still echoes with that blow, as the music hall recalls the strains of the master’s violin. I pulled it out to nearly twice it’s length - I wasn’t going to do this again - and it came back like a gunshot, knocking my head back and leaving a welt I would see the next day.
So do not, do not, under any circumstances become curious as to the nature of Cowboy Killers. They are administered by psychotic people from Wisconsin who are nourished by human suffering.