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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tell Me About The Scrumpy

“Tell me about the scrumpy, Vin.”

Vin takes a smiling drag from his cigarette, squints at me through the exhale.  The night is warm and dark, and the party is at its peak.  “Scrumpy?  Who told you about the scrumpy, love?”

We grin at each other through the crowd that has gathered on Kathy’s deck. 

“I learned about it from you, Dad!  I learned about the scrumpy from you!”

“Ahh,” he says.  “So you did.”

“When was it?” I prompt.  “Remember?  You had just left one school and went west to another…”

Vin stands up, goes to the cooler where he pulls out a beer.  “Well, it had just been suggested to me – and rather forcefully, I might add – that I take my educational pursuits elsewhere.”

He returns to his seat, takes a short pull from his bottle.  “Naturally, I was compliant.”

The crowd on Kathy’s deck leans in. 

“So there I was, just a mate and myself, with time on my hands and naught to do but waste it.”

“Naturally,” I say, “you were compliant.”

Vin nods.  “Mmmm,” he says.  “Compliant.  Isn’t that a nice little word?”

The group on the deck, an inebriated collection of eight, maybe nine souls, ponders “compliance” and what Vinnie would look like in such a state.

We chuckle.

“Aw, leave off!” he says, laughing.  “I’m a right angel when I’ve a mind to!”

The laughter intensifies.

“So there I was,” he says, shouting over the crowd.  “There I was!  Going to school in the West, and a far cry it was from Aldershot!  But me and – what was his name?  Hmmm.  What was his name?  – we made due.  And by ‘made due’ I mean that we found ourselves at a little bar.”

He looks at me.  “You know how they make scrumpy, don’t you?”

I do know – he told me this story almost four years ago, initially, but I shake my head ‘no’.

“There’s this meat, see, on a hook, lowered down into apples.  The meat and apples work together like, fermenting.  Produces a cider.”

“Vin, you are pulling my leg.”

“On my honor, I am not.”  He takes a drink of his beer.  “It’s a matter of record.”

He takes another quick sip of his beer, lights a cigarette.  “So we’re drinking, aren't we?  Scrumpy, served up in rinsed out detergent bottles –“

“ – so you know it’s good, right there,” I interject.

“It’s a mark of distinction, iddin it?” he confirms.  “We’re drinking.  And drinking.  And we’re just not getting drunk.  So we get up, walk out of the place and up to a kebab shop.”

He pauses, recollecting the night in question.  “So there we are, kebabs wrapped in paper and pressed against our faces – rowr rowr rowr” – Vin imitates what would be labeled, in many circles, as “scarfing” – “when my legs go out from under me and I fall to the ground.”

He looks around the deck, the better to impress upon us the seriousness of the situation.  “I am entirely legless!”

The cry goes up “He’s legless!”  “Vin’s got no legs!” 

He shakes his head. “Dead from the waist down.  And so’s my mate.  There we are, laying on the ground.”

“Just laying on the ground?”

“Right there on the sidewalk,” he says.

“What’d you do?”

He shrugs.  “What could we do?” he says.  “We crawled along the sidewalk, pulling ourselves forward with our arms…”

He shakes his head, the memory warm. 

“It never got to me head,” he says, chuckling. “But me legs were dead drunk.”

36 comments:

joeh said...

Puerto Rican 150 proof rum will do that! Felt just fine until I tried to stand up.

Pearl said...

joeh, have never experienced this myself. But I have to admit that there's a perverse little fella in my head that say, "Come on! Try it!"

Shelly said...

I've been completely off caffeine for five years and then I had a super energy drink the other day. My brain exploded and while I didn't have to do a combat crawl like Vin, my legs only wanted to go in a bicycle motion.

You tell the best stories, Pearlie-

Pearl said...

Shelly, COMBAT CRAWL! THAT'S what it's called!!

Dagnabit. :-)

Pearl said...

Oh, and thank you, Shelly. :-) People tell me their stories, and so many of them I find interesting...

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

Oh, Vin - you are a character, I can tell! parties are not complete without Vins!

Pearl said...

Dawn, good ol' Vin enlivens every deck he graces. :-)

Eva Gallant said...

Too funny!

Pearl said...

Eva, :-)

jenny_o said...

You have to wonder what the hangover is like with something like that ... think twice, Pearl, before following that perverse little fella's wheedling voice!

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
...oh yeah. Scrumpy is the one that'll take the legs. It knows which end is up.

Scottish 120/- heavy ale is inclined to go for the kneecaps. Then there's the Queensland lager XXXX. 20 cans later you can still see the line. Gnat's piss, my gran would call it. Good for watering cress. Not that you needed to know that...

YAM xxx %-\

Pearl said...

jenny-o, the perverse little man rarely has his way with me. :-) I think I shall avoid the scrumpy!

Yamini, so you've heard of it! :-)

Brian Miller said...

wow. geez. it reminds me a bit of tub juice in college....though never had it just hit my legs....killing me with this one...haha...a few stories come to mind but...envisioning the crawl...lol

Pearl said...

Brian, around here I believe it was called "wahpatui"...

Perpetua said...

That's scrumpy to a T, Pearl. Head fine, legs AWOL. :-)

Pearl said...

Perpetua, every day, I learn a little. :-)

Jacquelineand.... said...

Sounds rather like what Stag's Breath will do to you...

fishducky said...

If your legs get drunk & you have a hangover, do you have a throbbing footache?

Joanne Noragon said...

I had my scrumpy around age 21,leaning back into the corner of a deep sofa rescued from the curb. Good noise level. Lots of cigarette smoke. Black Russians, they were called. Like drinking velvet.

Gigi said...

I'm thinking I'll just stick with wine....I can't have my legs getting drunk.

ellen abbott said...

I still don't know what scrumptious is. Is that what they were drinking? Fermented meat and apples? Ick. I think I'll pass.

River said...

Vin has to be the funniest, most interesting man alive :)
Scrump is a fabulous name for a drink.

River said...

Oops, that would be "Scrumpy"

TexWisGirl said...

yikes! i'm thinking i'll stay away from that particular mess o' brew.

HermanTurnip said...

You had me at "“I learned about it from you, Dad! I learned about the scrumpy from you!”"

Subtlety genius, my friend. Heh...

Susan Kane said...

You hang with the classy crowd. Vin... is he married or what?

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Dang! Dontcha hate when that happens?

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

All I can say is yeah blame it on the rum.............I do not like rum so I glad to blame the rum

Daisy said...

reminds me of my first martini, and how my face froze in a large grin! My legs weren't so sturdy either!
Daisy's Barbara.

Diane Tolley said...

I wonder if scampi does anything for arthritic knees . . .?

Saimi said...

HA!! "Legs are dead drunk" Love it!! Your stories Pearl, always good for a laugh!!

Elephant's Child said...

Love it. And might (just might) remember something similar. Thank you Pearl. How are your wrists? Getting better? I do hope so.

Marion Bulmer said...

Always got to respect real proper cider, innocuous-tasting but inevitably fatal to the co-ordination. In the UK we have also have variety of real ale (beer) called Tanglefoot, which has a similar effect. The clue's in the name...

the walking man said...

WOW! This story just made me remember why I have 4 inch thick callouses on my elbows!

Linda O'Connell said...

You certainly can tell a story. I saw a guy walk out of a bar, fall to the sidewalk and combat crawl down the street. Was Vin ever in St. Louis in 1980s?

ellen abbott said...

That would be scrumpy, not scrumptious. Stupid auto-correct.