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Twelve bottles - of varying density, of varying levels of alcoholic content - stood scattered on the antique Drinking Table, the last vestige of the Roswell Family Heirlooms. This table wasn't crafted by hand in Victorian England or housed in a Roman silo for umpteen generations. It had never even been refinished, though it most certainly had seen better days. Everything else in Palace Defcon screamed "PRETENTIOUS, WEALTHY, CUNT!" Except the valued Drinking Table, kept in an undisclosed location deep in the heart of the lavish abode.

Captain Barnabas had the room set up like a corrupt interrogation room in the 50's. One dangling overhead light with a cheap 60-watt bulb centered over the table, scuffed brown mahogany, with two chairs he picked up at a Good Will while in the midst of a Jim Beam binge. The chairs didn't match the table or each other, but he liked the silver padded office chair, and Aaron enjoyed the burnt orange barber's chair. Everything else about the room wallowed in its own stained, musky funk. About once a month, Margarita would come down here with a mop, a chisel, and a gas mask. No one else was ever allowed inside.

Aaron and the Captain had taken the five shots of random alcohol over the first hour together only opening their mouths to swallow and cough, should the occasion present itself. The only sound in the dank room eminated from a battery-powered boombox CD player on the floor. A late 60s Miles Davis album was just about to finish its run. After that, someone would have to start talking or go upstairs to get another album.

"OK, so I'm sorry about earlier," a weary and somber Captain blurted. Focused and reserved, with his left hand propping his head up over the table by the cheek, Aaron said, "No need." "Do you think they'll ever come back?" C.B. said. "I rather enjoyed that red-head, she had a fire and brimstone about her." Aaron said, "I doubt it. However, I made sure to tip well, so who knows."

Both slugged back some very fine tequila, then Aaron said, "Why the interrogation room tonight? I'm sure we could throw something together, it's only ... fuck, what time is it?" "Fuck if I know," C.B. said. "Nevermind that anyway. No more parties for a while. I've got to get out of this dump, the monotony of this rut is killing me." Captain Barnabas finally noticed the tequila that settled in his beard after half that last shot missed his mouth entirely. He squeezed the scraggly hair like a sponge, finally wiping his hand on his shorts. "Well then, let's get the fuck out of here! We'll go to the lodge and cool out for a while." "Damn straight, my man! No booze, no women, no fucking chili fries!" "Well, let's go! I'll have Hank get the car, we'll be off!"

"No."

Aaron cocked his head to the side, poured a shot of fruity liqueur, and nipped at it over the next silent minute until it was gone. Captain Barnabas assembled all of the empty shotglasses into two neat rows; then he opened a fresh bottle of Johnny Walker Gold. As he sloppily took the charge of filling each glass, he said, "This is to be our last big binge. A real 36-hour corker. Run up now and get the coke; and any other uppers you can think of." C.B. started to drink, one of five shots in a row, by the time Aaron closed the door behind him.

It didn't take long to find the bag, but Aaron was bombarded by a ringing phone and a knocking door. Locals were wondering where the party was. Aaron politely, but resolutely stated, "Not here," occasionally offering up a "sorry ladies" whenever a dejected beauty turned away. Some 25 or 30 minutes passed before he returned to the interrogation room. Miles Davis resumed his jagged tweetling, but Barnables was passed out on the floor. 12 more shots were consumed and at least that much lay splattered against the opposite wall behind his chair. Chunks of fried rice and ham infested the Captain's beard. He was still breathing, so Aaron laid out a few lines and prepared himself for the long night of Coma Watch.

Had he been there earlier, Aaron would've heard aggrivated complaints of "some damn fool case of heartburn at this time of night." As chance would have it, C.B.'s heart-clutching hand resided near his groin after the fall from the chair.