Gulp Fiction: Adios & Allen
By Rue Smickens
I’d tell you to go to Hell, but I know you’d get lost on the way there. Idiot.
“What’ll you have, pal?”
The question, although expected, still didn’t have an obvious answer. What would I have? I had no earthly idea.
“What do you suggest for someone who’s going far, far away?”
The bartender nodded slightly, the ghost of a smile playing across his lips. As he turned to grab something, the light reflected off of his name badge and flashed across my eyes. It said his name was Sam.
“I’d say Adios, Motherfucker.”
My mouth opened so wide my jaw practically unhinged. Like a snake who received a shock instead of food. I was about to retort, to let this so-called Sam fellow know that he was a rude a-hole and I wouldn’t drink here if it was the last bar on earth. Before I could get my words out, however, his smile turned from a ghost to a solid form. “No worries friend,” he said as he began wiping down a clean glass. “That’s the name of a drink, the Adios, Motherfucker. Or A.M.F. for short. Less fun to say that way, though.” The glint in his eye told me that he enjoyed shocking people with this drink suggestion. I couldn’t help myself. I smiled along with him.
“That sounds like the perfect sendoff for where I’m going. What’s in it?”
In a whirl of motion that reminded me of an octopus playing the drums I’d seen in a cartoon once, he started grabbing bottle after bottle from where they were obscured beneath the wooden bar. “A few things,” he said, “mostly vodka, tequila, rum and gin.” He read the look on my face. “Yeah,” Sam said, “that’s how it got its name. One drink is about all you need and then it’s…” He trailed off, but I finished the thought for him with a grin. “Adios, Motherfucker.”
“So where are you headed?” Sam asked as he added some blue curaçao and sweet-and-sour mix. “Out of town, some little place called Bannockburn. Only about a thousand people there total.” He nodded along to my words, as if he knew the exact place. “I know that exact place,” he then confirmed. “Had a girl up there before I met my wife and settled down. Tiny place, not too many work options. What do you, if you don’t mind my asking?”
I didn’t mind. Funny, he was okay dropping a MF bomb on me immediately, but had to check in and see if it was rude to ask about my work. “I’m a teacher,” I said. “History,” I added before he could ask for clarification.
“Noble work,” he said with a smile as he gently placed a highball glass in front of me that was topped with Sprite and a preserved cherry. The drink in the glass was a phosphorescent blue, the look of melted Jello. I was impressed. Impressed and thirsty. “What you do isn’t so bad either, Sam.” With a slight tilt of the glass in his direction, I started in on the strong, cool blue concoction.
That first taste was one of my last memories of being in that bar. True to its namesake, by the time the glass was empty of anything but a few thin ice chips, it was Adios, Motherfucker.
The next thing I can recall, I was on a train. I am not entirely sure how I had boarded it, but some of the mystery had been solved when I looked down and saw a note pinned to my chest, like an unruly child bringing a parental summons home. It read:
Good luck with the new job, Allen. Come again anytime. - Sam
I smiled. Bartenders are truly out here doing god’s work. I closed my eyes again, confident that they would open in time for my stop. My last conscious thought was me trying to remember when I had told Sam my name.
If my eyes did open in time for my stop, I missed it entirely. The drink, as they say, had gotten on top of me. Adios indeed, I thought to myself. For now I was no longer on the train, I was standing at the precipice of a large, looming forest. I turned around and I could just barely make out the train tracks some distance behind me. Not a stop, not a station. Just the tracks. I was still too drunk to be worried, so I shrugged my shoulders and turned back to face the inviting woods. I breathed in deeply, took in the sweet scent of pine needles, moss, green. As my lungs filled with fresh air, my belly heaved and felt a slight stabbing sensation. I looked down and saw that the note from Sam was still pinned to my shirt. I snatched it off and absently turned it over in my hands, studying the blurry letters. I blinked and shook my head until they came into focus. There, on the backside of the note, was a neatly scrawled paragraph of directions to my new place of employment. Once again, I was deeply impressed by Sam’s service. I skipped ahead to the step I was already apparently on.
Once you are off the train, take the road due east until you come to a clearing in the woods. From there, hop the fence and you can cross the open field until you hit the little red building posted there. It’s the old post office, from there it’s a simple trek to town. Good luck again!
“What would I do without you, Sam?” I muttered to myself. If there was anything I disliked more than the town I was leaving, it was asking for directions. My father hated it, his father hated it, and his father’s father before him hated it as well. That feeling was instilled in me at an early age.
Without a second glance back, I put one foot in front of the other until I had arrived at the edge of the darkened, thick woods. The morning had been pleasant, the late afternoon was a blur, and now the beginnings of evening seemed more boisterous. A sharp, cold wind blew ebulliently, cutting right through my skin and into my very bones. I clutched my jacket tighter against my chest, holding the front of it in a bunched fist until I decided it was easier to just zip the stupid thing closed.
I looked up and saw dark clouds with rounded edges closing the gap between themselves until very little light emanating from the yellow moon was able to filter through. There was just enough light for me to see a couple of steps in front of my nose. I had better get going.
I quickened my pace as I crossed the border into the woods. I walked rapidly and soon enough my breath was starting to come in in great throngs, the crisp air felt exhilarating in my lungs. It felt like freedom. More and more I put my past and my hometown behind me as I walked.
The road I was on was little more than a dirt path, although from the deep ruts in some places I could tell that bicycles and cars had been able to go down this way. The road now though was completely deserted. No bikes. No cars. No merchant carts or joggers. Not even an animal seemed to be stirring at this time, I had the entirety of the path to myself.
Keeping a sharp eye out for the upcoming clearing and fence, I pounded along the path at a steady pace. The wind picked up, ripping at my jacket and tossing the hood of it constantly off of my head until I cursed and just left it off. The wind sent little dust-devils swirling on and off of the dirt path. It rippled the deep blue, almost black surfaces of puddles that were scattered here and there.
I continued on, unaware of how much time had passed, but enough where I felt like I should have hit the fence by now. I paused and looked at the note once more. As I reread it for the fourth time, another mighty gust of wind came and swept the note from hand. I grabbed at it, but the action was futile. It was up and away in a flash, carried off by the invisible hands of the gale.
“Shit!” I said out loud to no one and nothing in particular. The squall continued, causing the green giants all around me to bend and stoop and rustle their leafy fingers. The grass all bent one way and then the other, genuflecting to invisible kings.
I gripped my jacket even tighter about me, as if the wind could carry that away from me too, and I pressed on. What else was I to do? I continued journeying the way I assumed was correct, but with each passing step, a little bit of doubt began to creep in. What if I was going the wrong way? What if the clearing never came? What if I didn’t get off at the right stop, or even onto the correct train!
My doubts crowded in on me, pushing and shoving against each other like a riot in a nightclub. Right when they were about to take over and slow my pace, possibly even turn me around, suddenly, I burst into a clearing. I was three and a half steps into it before I even realized it was there. My relief was a big as the hangover I was going to be nursing tomorrow.
I quickened my gait, both excitement and a little bit of fear fueling my accelerated pace. There, across the clearing, maybe a mile or so away, I saw the little red building glimmering in the scant shreds of moonlight. And, right in front of me, appearing as suddenly as a wound-up jack-in-the-box, was the fence blocking my path. A few paces to my left, a sign: No Trespassing.
Deciding it was better to be safe than sorry, I looked around for anyone who might be around, watching. I looked for cameras as well, anything that might be monitoring the area. Not that I was a trespasser, far from it. But, being new around these parts, I let caution take the lead. It was also a great chance to catch my breath, as the strong wind and the stronger alcohol had definitely taken a chunk of my gusto away.
A few silent, peaceful moments passed. My heart was no longer beating in my temple, taking a rest had slowed the beat down enough to stay put in my chest. Once more steeling my resolve, I awkwardly flopped over the short fence, thankful that nobody was around to see that sad athletic display.
As soon as my unsure feet hit the ground, there came such a harsh howling wind that I was practically knocked to the ground. The furious flurry was so strong that I clung to the fence for dear life, feeling like I could be blown away from the force of it. I shut my eyes hard, waiting for it all to pass. It roared past me, through me, a dragons breath protecting this side of the fence from intruders. Then, as suddenly as it came on, it was gone.
Stillness all around me. No more did the trees and the grass bend. No more howling, roaring or rushing. Just perfect calm. I shivered and affixed my hood back on my head, I didn’t want to catch my death of a cold out here.
I mopped the sweat from my forehead. The area smelled faintly of flowers. I crossed the clearing with all the rapidity I could muster up. I ducked my head, the wind picking up again. I felt dead leaves and elastic branches reach out and snatch at me, hungry wooden hands begging for my attention. I shut out the wooded world around me as best I could and I hustled towards where I saw the red building in the distance. When I had finally cleared the length of the clearing, however, I was in for a shock. Instead of the red building, I had come up against a hard, wooden fence. On the fence, a sign: No Trespassing.
What the hell?
There were wilted flowers along the edge of the fence, the colors gray and bland in the night light. Ferns lurked about in the darkened places made by the wooden posts. The smell of the earth was sickly sweet and a little sour. It smelled like death with a pine air freshener hung upon it. The wind struck up again. The branches of the nearby trees all swayed and groaned, moving around to block out the few silvery streaks of moonlight that had once been permitted to permeate the area. The light flitted and danced away from me, a butterfly staying just out of reach.
I adjusted my hood, took a step, then fell hard to the cold ground. A thick branch, one the length and girth of a baseball bat, had smacked me across the forehead, downing me in the process. A branch that, to my recollection, had not been there a moment before. Although, if I was being fair to the situation, my recollection came from a mind that was drunk, lost, and startling to get just a little but worried.
I looked around, taking stock of my surroundings. Was this the same fence? Had I gotten myself turned around in circles? Or was there a second fence that wasn’t mentioned in the note? I decided that it had to be a second fence, I couldn’t have been spun around like that without my noticing. I decided to hop this fence as well and push forward.
To alleviate some of my worry, I started to whistle. First aimlessly, just looking to make some noise, then it morphed into the opening of The Andy Griffith Show. As quickly as I had started it, the tune dried up on my tongue. The pressing trees around me seemed to discourage my whistling, the creepy stillness of the clearing was deafening.
Suddenly, off to my right, there was a rustling amongst the ferns and something dark and small and fast shot out across the clearing just a few yards ahead of me. The shadow creature paused, cocked what I assumed to be its head sideways, and looked at me with two small illuminated eyes. Then, like my whistling, it disappeared as quickly as it had appeared.
I laughed. It wasn’t a laugh of mirth. It was the laugh of a small child, the laugh of someone who was scared but trying not to be. The sound of someone who was scared, but of what, they didn’t know. In the distance in front of me, I heard the high shrill whistle of a train.
“Wait a minute, a train?”
It hit me then, I really did get turned around, as the train was supposed to be behind me. How did this happen? How long have I been out here, anyway? I turned around, my pace even quicker, headed back straight to the fence. I hopped it again.
Am I going in or out?
I asked myself that question vaguely in the back of my mind as I leapt over the wooden blockade, this time less clumsily as I had had more practice doing so. I was headed the right direction now. I had to be. I pushed my pace, half running, wanting this trek to be over. My quick, longer steps took me across the clearing in record time, slowing my pace only as the fence came into view in front of me. A wooden fence. One surrounded by dead flowers and withering ferns. One that held a lone sign upon it: Trespassers Will Be Persecuted.
I blinked my eyes rapidly, as if such a thing could clear up what I was seeing. It was the same fence, I swear that it was. The sign though, the sign was different. I kept focusing my quickly sobering mind on that last word. Persecuted. Persecuted. Persecuted. Shouldn’t it be prosecuted?
That last word sent a shudder down the entire length of my spine. Then with a jolt that practically separated me from my skin, I saw a man next to me. He was dressed like a hunter, deep brown jacket and boots, green stained pants. He leaned against the fence and watched me with two very cold and vacant eyes.
“Please, you’ve got to help me. I’m lost and - ” The rest of my plea died in my throat, for no one was there. It wasn’t a man after all, it was just a trick of lights and shadows, shade and foliage. I shook my head and took a few steps this way and that, trying my best to recreate the effect, to see the man-shape again. The leaves all rustled loudly and strangely, branches protested the winds that beleaguered them to move. Yet, despite my best efforts, the illusion could not be reconstructed. I shuddered.
I hopped the fence and this time I ran. I strode across the clearing in huge, decisive steps, putting as much distance as I could between myself and the fence and the man who was not there. My lungs burned with effort, my heart thudded like a jackhammer in my chest. I set a personal best time as I cleared the entirety of the clearing and then was stopped dead by something in front of me. It was the fence. On it, a sign: Trespassers Will Be Executed.
My head spun and my stomach threatened to vacate my body by way of my throat. I gripped the fence until splinters skewered my white knuckled fingers. It couldn’t be the same fence, it couldn’t be!
I stared at the sign until I could stare at it no more. That last word threatened to finish off my weakened resolve and leave me a blubbering, sniveling mess on the ground. I couldn’t allow that to happen to me.
I started moving before I had a plan. Moving was the only thing that was keeping me sane. I just needed to continue in this direction, I couldn’t go back and forth anymore. I already felt so spun around that I no longer had any recollection of which was I was going, which way way correct, which one was in the note. Ignoring the sign as best I could, I scrambled up the fence, ready to vault it and run forward. To what was next, to the unknown. Probably to the same damn fence again. No! No, I couldn’t think like that.
I had paused for maybe a microsecond, no longer, as I steeled my fleeting resolve. In that time, the fence had grown. I had risen a few feet without moving, yet the top of the fence was quickly eluding me. No time to process this latest piece of insanity, I frantically climbed with everything I had left in the tank. I had to get over it. I had to. Before it got too high. Before I got stuck here. Or worse, if I got over the top and fell, by that time I would be hundreds of feet in the air and - no! Stop that! Just climb you stupid idiot!
My ascension was so quick, so cat-like, that I was up and over the fence before I even had time to think about it, to look down before I leapt. What I did was closer to spilling over the fence than vaulting, I quickly lost my footing and was free falling towards the earth, everything spinning and disorienting. I hit the ground with a hard, tongue-biting thump. My pants had caught on a splinted fence post. I was going to wait until my head stopped pounding before moving again, but I found that it wasn’t my choice anymore. The fence, the one that changed, the one that grew. It was moving again, this time sideways, dragging my haggard body like a bull rider caught in the stirrups after being thrown. My head bashed into the ground again, sending me to my back, where my shirt rode up and the skin started scraping off of my back as I was dragged. Towards the trees. Towards what, I didn’t want to find out.
I struggled to disentangle myself from the fence, no small feat with the absolute beating that I was taking, every bit of my body was abused by branches and rocks and twigs. I heard laughter as I was dragged, a high-pitched, horrible giggling. In the distance but getting closer, right at the edge of the tree-line that I was being sucked into, I saw the man again. The one who wasn’t there. Shouldn’t be there. Hunters garb covered him from head to foot. Branches stuck in his hat to look like antlers. His black rubber boots caked with mud and blood and leaves. Gripped in his brown, camouflage gloves, a leash. At the end of the leash, a man. A man on his hands and knees, quivering. A man banged up and bloodied, obviously hunted and then dragged. Dragged like me. The man, he was me.
My hands instinctively flew to my throat, looking to rip off the collar that was attaching me to that man, to that monstrous hunter. There was nothing there. The man wasn’t me! He couldn’t be, although he wore my face. A face that was getting clearer the farther I was dragged. Towards the trees. Towards them. No, the man wasn’t me. Not yet. I knew that it would be if I didn’t get off of this fence right now. I redoubled my effort and with all my strength I ripped myself free of my wooden nemesis. As I sat up and tried to backpedal, to get as far as I could from that man, the fence rushed past me like a runaway train. The wind whipped at its passing.
I got up and, despite all my injuries, after a few staggering steps I began to run. My adrenaline was pumping, fueling my war-torn muscles beyond their normal capabilities. I saw with dismay, however, that the forest was running with me. The trees all shifted and shoved at each other, intertwining and disconnecting and dancing about him like deranged rooted ballerinas. The leaves grew and folded and unfurled and gaped, obscuring my vision and turning me around. Around me, there was no rustling, only laughter. That terrible, high giggle. It bounced off every tree and through every fist of leaves. Mixed into the laughter I heard footsteps, heavy and rubber booted and angry. The wooded walls were all closing in, I watched as the path narrowed from a couple yards, to a few feet, to an almost entirely closed off hole. With a cry of fury I pushed forward, the hopelessness of it all giving birth to a reckless courage in my soul.
I tucked my head to my chin, shoulders forward, hands shielding my skull like a football player about to get dog-piled. I plunged headlong into the trees that were blocking my way. Either they were going to give way, or my body would. Right before impact, the trees silently side-stepped and I went tumbling head over heels into a clearing.
My teeth rattled, my head was a mess of fog and pain and pounding. I scrambled to my feet and spun round and round, seeing trees all around me. I was surrounded. The clearing had already been reclaimed. I snarled, an animal backed into a corner by a hunter, ready to take one last stand. The wind ripped at my shredded clothing, the branches tore at me and leaves rustled and raked my skin, crawled into my eyes, my ears. Itching and tearing and filling my head with noise I could hardly understand or withstand. A large oak moved rapidly towards me, its roots bunched and carried it forward like it was on two legs. A fell to the ground as I tried to retreat. I felt thousand of tiny fingers all tugging and pulling and my clothes. Nettles pressed in and wrapped around my throat. Before I blacked out, I saw another figure come dashing out of the possessed woodwork. It was just a blur of motion and color and energy, my eyes filled with tears could not make out any features. This thing, it tore across the trees and collided into the hunter with an impact that threw me clear out of my predicament.
I hit the ground hard and didn’t move. I couldn’t, my every muscle and bone and internal organ screamed at me at the very thought of it. So I lay still, ready to let death have me. But it never came.
Silence all around me. Eventually, I sat up. When I did, a piece of paper blew across the field and flapped against my chest until I was able to grasp it with shaking fingers. It was my note from Sam. Only this time, there was more written on the back:
Come on back anytime you’re in town!
At that moment I did the only thing I felt I could do. I stayed where I was; and I cried.
Adios, Motherfucker (A.M.F.)
- 1/2 ounce vodka
- 1/2 ounce rum
- 1/2 ounce tequila
- 1/2 ounce gin
- 1/2 ounce blue curaçao
- 2 ounces sweet-and-sour mix
- Sprite or 7up, to top
- Garnish: lemon wedge (optional)
- Garnish: preserved cherry (optional)
- Add the vodka, rum, tequila, gin, blue curaçao and sweet-and-sour mix to a highball glass with ice and stir vigorously. Top the results with 7Up or Sprite. Lastly, garnish it with either a lemon wedge or a preserved cherry. If you’re new to this drink, it may be wise to have a friend walk you home. You never know what can happen on a walk after one of these!