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by Ed Sikov
My birthday was approaching, and Ramona insisted on taking me out to celebrate. “Let’s get shitfaced,” she advised. She’d just broken up with a 24-year-old gymnast. For some reason she wanted to revisit Le Quai a Nice, the French bistro we’d gone to several months ago.
When I arrived I found Ramona on the sidewalk staring at the storefront. “What’s up, Mo?” I asked. “It’s gone!” she cried. “Look!” She pointed to a Caribbean restaurant called Turks and Cake-O’s. Le Quai a Nice was now a calypso joint. “Oh well,” she shrugged. “Conch fritters, anyone?”
We were seated immediately, Turks and Cake-O’s not having quite caught on yet. “Two Zombies,” Ramona yelled at the dark, handsome waiter before she’d even taken off her coat. “Mo, I really don’t think that’s a good idea,” I said. “F*** you,” she advised. “It’s your birthday, and I just got dumped by the best lay I’ve ever had.” (This was an achievement; Ramona isn’t known for sexual restraint.) “What’s in a Zombie anyway?” she asked.
“A laundry list of heavy duty alcohol mixed with some fruit juices so you won’t know how strong it is. Let’s have one each and switch to seltzer.”
“No!” she shouted. The bartender turned and looked at us warily, as did the three other diners in the room. “Fasten your seatbelts,” she quoted. “It’s going to be a bumpy night.” A shiver ran down my spine.
Mo polished off her Zombie before we’d even ordered any food, which gave her the opportunity to describe every inch of Geoff the gymnast’s body before getting anything to sop up her boozy misery. I’ve never heard even the gayest guy describe a man’s body in such hot detail. I felt like I’d spent a weekend in the sack with Geoff – with a magnifying glass and Klieg light. The highlights: “The best-tasting treasure trail ever.” “Pecs like granite.” “I swear he had a 12-pack. I counted!” “His dick was only seven inches, but he made up for it in other ways, if you know what I mean.” (I didn’t, but didn’t care to ask for clarification.) “And the sweetest little hairs around his nipples.”
“Anotherrround,” Ramona slurred when the waiter arrived with the conch fritters. “I don’t think that’s such a good idea,” I said through my own buzzy haze. Ramona leaned toward me as though she was about to reveal a secret. “Theysayitsyrbrthday, yagonnahaveagoodtime,” Ramona said conspiratorially.
The rest of the evening was like limbo – the place, not the dance. I remember helping Ramona on with her coat at the front door with the waiter hurrying toward us with the check, which we hadn’t paid; pulling Ramona off the sidewalk, where in an inadvertent homage to “Loony Tunes” she’d slipped on a banana peel; folding her into a cab and giving the cabbie $20 to get her safely into her building; somehow landing in my bed; and Dan waking me up as he pulled my shoes off with a scowl. They don’t call them Zombies for nothing.
1 oz. white rum
1 oz. golden rum
1 oz. dark rum
1/2 oz. fruit brandy
3/4 oz. pineapple juice
3/4 oz. papaya juice
Lime juice to taste
151-proof rum to float on top
Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake, then strain into a Collins glass (a tall, usually straight-sided tumbler) filled with cracked ice. Float the 151 rum on top by inverting a spoon over the glass and slowly pouring a thin stream of 151 over the back of the spoon.