Whiskey

  • Blue Ghost Blues

    I feel myself sinkin’ down
    I feel myself sinkin’ down
    My body is freezin’
    I feel something cold creepin’ around

    My windows is rattlin’
    My doorknob turnin’ round an’ round
    My windows is rattlin’
    My doorknob turnin’ round an’ round
    This haunted house blues is killin’ me
    I feel myself sinkin’ down

    I been fastin’ in this haunted house
    Six long months today
    I been fastin’ in this haunted house
    Six long months today
    The Blue Ghost is got the house surrounded, Lord
    And I can’t get away

    They got shotguns and pistols
    Standin’ all round my door
    They got shotguns and pistols
    Standin’ all round my door
    They haunt me all night long
    So I can’t sleep no more

    The Blue Ghost haunts me all night
    The nightmare rides me all night long
    The Blue Ghost haunts me at night
    The nightmare rides me all night long
    They worry me so in this haunted house
    I wished I was dead and gone

    – Lonnie Johnson

    A ward against evil: bay rum, whiskey, cigar smoke, black pepper, and salt.

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  • For the Joy of It

    In prison Shadow had learned there were two kinds of fights: don’t fuck with me fights, where you made it as showy and impressive as you could, and private fights, real fights, which were fast and hard and nasty, and always over in seconds.

    “Hey, Sweeney,” said Shadow, breathless, “why are we fighting?”

    “For the joy of it,” said Sweeney, sober now, or at least, no longer visibly drunk. “For the sheer unholy fucken delight of it. Can’t you feel the joy in your own veins, rising like the sap in the springtime?” His lip was bleeding. So was Shadow’s knuckle.

    Whiskey, mead, honey, gold, sweat, and blood.

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  • Mad Sweeney

    “Coin tricks is it?” asked Sweeney, his chin raising, his scruffy beard bristling. “Why, if it’s coin tricks we’re doing, watch this.”

    He took an empty glass from the table. Then he reached out and took a large coin, golden and shining, from the air. He dropped it into the glass. He took another gold coin from the air and tossed it into the glass, where it clinked against the first. He took a coin from the candle flame of a candle on the wall, another from his beard, a third from Shadow’s empty left hand, and dropped them, one by one, into the glass. Then he curled his fingrs over the glass, and blew hard, and several more golden coins dropped into the glass from his hand. He tipped the glass of sticky coins into his jacket pocket, and then tapped the pocket to show, unmistakably, that it was empty.

    “There,” he said. “That’s a coin trick for you.”

    Barrel-aged whiskey and oak.

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  • Mister Wednesday

    His hair was a reddish gray; his beard, little more than stubble, was grayish red. A craggy, square face with pale gray eyes. The suit looked expensive, and was the color of melted vanilla ice cream. His tie was dark gray silk, and the tie pin was a tree, worked in silver: trunk, branches, and deep roots.

    He held his glass of Jack Daniel’s as they took off, and did not spill a drop.

     

    Sleek cologne, the memory of a Nine Herbs Charm, gallows wood, and a splash of whiskey.

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  • Tavern of Hell

    Sometimes I would venture from my sepulchre to the jazz of night Paris, where having gathered the colours, I would think them over in front of the fire. I could be seen walking through a funeral corridor of my house and descending down a black spiral of steep stairs; rushing underground to Montmartre, all impatience to see the fiery rubies of the Moulin Rouge cross. I wondered thereabouts, then bought a ticket to watch frenzied delirium of feathers, vulgar painted lips and eyelashes of black and blue.

    Naked feet, and thighs, and arms, and breasts were being flung on me from bloody-red foam of translucent clothes. The tuxedoed goatees and crooked noses in white vests and toppers would line the hall, with their hands posed on canes. Then I found myself in a pub, where the liqueurs were served on a coffin (not a table) by the nickering devil: “Drink it, you wretched!” Having drunk, I returned under the black sky split by the flaming vanes, which the radiant needles of my eyelashes cross-hatched. In front of my nose a stream of bowler hats and black veils was still pulsing, foamy with bluish green and warm orange of feathers worn by the night beauties: to me they were all one, as I had to narrow my eyes for insupportable radiance of electric lamps, whose hectic fires would be dancing beneath my nervous eyelids for many a night to come.

    White gardenia, ambergris bouquet, lavender fougere, orange blossom, melissa, tobacco flower, coriander, ebony wood, ylang ylang, absinthe and aged whiskey.

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  • The Center

    “What is the word for it? The opposite of sacred?”

    “Profane,” said Shadow, without thinking.

    “No,” said Czernobog. “I mean, when a place is less sacred than any other place. Of negative sacredness. Places where they can build no temples. Places where people will not come, and will leave as soon as they can. Places where gods only walk if they are forced to.”

    “I don’t know,” said Shadow. “I don’t think there is a word for it.”

    “All of America has it, a little,” said Czernobog. “That is why we are not welcome here. But the center,” said Czernobog. “The center is worst. Is like a minefield. We all tread too carefully there to dare break the truce.”

    Peeling paint, faded wallpaper and threadbare carpets, flickering neon, candlewax, and a fading whiff of Jack Daniels.

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