El Vino Demonio

Jerry Martin

© Copyright 2002 by Jerry Martin

This is a true story about teenagers in the mid-fifties doing 
something that was taboo, namely: expermenting with alcohol. 

There comes a time in every lads young life when they just have to experiment with a little booze namely out of curiosity , peer pressure or both.

I was about fifteen and had never indulged in the in "spirits" unless one would count sneaking a sip of my Pops beer when he wasn't looking.

Pop didn't miss much and he had a uncanny way of finding out things that I KNEW it was impossible for him to know.

Well my cronies had been talking about partaking of the nectar for some time and really didn't know how we were going to get it.

One of the boys said he had a friend of a friend that had a recipe for "Raisin Jack". This being a concoction of witches brew thought up by some medieval scorcher for the purpose of eliminating enemies and insects.

We pooled our few meager coins together, went to the store and bought the ingredients and scrounged up a old gallon glass jug. We cleaned it well and put the mess in the bottle with the lid lose enough to keep out the insects and hid our treasure in a clump of bushes not from our houses so we could keep and eye on our treasure.

A couple of weeks went by and we nervously gathered together and went over and claimed our prize. We should have been warned by the amount of flies and gnats that were hovering around the jug that something wasn't right. We held the jug up for inspection and were not favorably impressed by the huge bloated raisins and other mysterious objects that were floating inside the jug, nor the scum of greenish mold that had formed inside on the top.

We took the lid off and were greeted by a putrid odor that would melt a brick.

It never dawned to us to strain the wine as we reasoned that might ruin the flavor. (retch)

So up to the lips and we all took a wee sip straining the rotten items through our teeth. It tasted as bad as it looked and smelled. I got down a very small sip which tasted like battery acid and none of us wanted anymore. We took our booty to the local drive-inn movie as that was the major hang out in the fifties. Within an hour I took on one of the most violet head aches that one could endure.

I suppose it was a good thing it tasted so horrible as we probably would have killed ourselves.

We showed it around and no one was interested in sampling our brew so we finally abandoned it in the trash barrel. We were afraid of being caught with alcohol in our possession anyway.

This was in the mid-fifties mind you and even having hair over your ears, you were considered a hoodlum. To say nothing of having a motorcycle jacket at those times. None of us could even shave, so trying to buy booze was out of the question.

So we decided we would have to pull a "heist." Steal it. We carefully out laid our plans and decided on a fast "blitz." We picked out a grocery store that sold beer and wine but not liquor which we really didn't know the difference anyway.

There was about six of us and we ruled out trying to lift a six-pack of beer because it was to bulky.

In the store we rushed, each person going to different areas of the store getting some little ten cent pie, cake or package of something and go around to the isle where the bottles of wine were kept.

We all kept moving so what few employees that were there couldn't watch us all.

I, having a very large coat grabbed two jugs of wine and under each armpit they went and were not noticeable. Another lad grabbed one and into his coat it went and a third lad slipped another into his coat.

We didn't pause at the wine department but grabbed as we walked by. Fast!

We went individually to the cashier to pay for our meager purchase and made out like we didn't know each other and everything went like clockwork with us filing out to pile back into our old jalopy we were riding in.

All except the last kid and when it came his turn, he must have been seen or the clerk may have saw the jug peeping out from his coat.

She asked, "are you old enough to buy that?" He turned very red and said: "no ma'am." and sheepishly handed her his jug of wine, then paid for his "Twinkies."

She said: "I won't turn you in this time, but don't ever come back to this store."

"Yes'm" the boy stammered. He came back to the car very rattled and embarrassed. "Let's git outta her" he stammered.

A good place to hide out in those days was the drive inn movies but that wasn't the only thing they were good for. (evil) HEHEHEHEHEH.

So five of us piled into the trunk of the car. We all chipped in and the driver paid his admission. I didn't know how we used to get away with that because those cars would be literally scraping the pavement from being so heavy in the back. I have to remember those were the days when cars were "shackled" meaning the car was lowered on purpose in the rear. The fad in those days. We invented "cool."

None of us had ever drank wine before but had seen it done in the movies and thought we had something very sophisticated and put us ahead of the other no accounts prowling around the area.

Understand we were used to colas, rootbeer, strawberry, Grapettes, and sodas of the time. Dope of any kind was unheard of in our neighborhoods.

So we uncapped a jug and passed it around for all present to take a swig. Mind you we did this in the privacy of our car because if kids were seen swigging out of a bottle in a paper bag it was instant arrest.

We all had a good mouthful with no one saying a word but I do believe we were all thinking the same thing. "GAGGGGG" who in blazes died and had their remains interned in this mess we were drinking. "RETTCCCHHH" God this stuff was horrible. But no one would admit it. We didn't know one wine from another. We all sit around trying to look grown up and you could hear the muffled "gulp" from all the surprised victims choking the swill down trying to look suave and cool. Silence!

After a few moments someone peeped, maybe we had better try another bottle and see how it tastes.

Yeah, yeah, good idea we all agreed finding a way to squirm out of taking another swallow of this embalming fluid. We passed around the second jug with the same results and then the third. None of us ever drank then and it only took three sips to start us grinning.

I don't think any of us could take a forth sip but no one would admit it.

We all started talking about finding some girls to share our merry making with and we looked around the drive inn and couldn't find any strays so we decided to go over to a girls house we knew and with luck on our side, her parents wasn't home. "Oh joy." We had her call a few other gals to have a quiet little party.

"WITH FRESH WINE!!" That got some action as the girls were curious too.

We arrive at the girls home and all piled out, went inside and laid out our liquid booty for all to admire and the girls daintily poured some wine into a little glass and took a couple sips with the same results as we had. It was amazing that no one had the courage to say: "THIS STUFF TASTES LIKE CRAP."

That would be admitting you wasn't cool.

One of the chow hound boys was rifling through the refrigerator seeing what morsels he could come up with and came out with a couple 7-UPs.

Hey! he hollered, let's try mixing the wine with this. We can have a mixed drink. YEA!!! We all whooped. Some of the boys were already starting to turn green and wouldn't admit they were getting sick but some of us more adventurous lads were game. So we put about one third wine and two thirds 7-Up, stirred the concoction and "slurp, smack, taste, ah boy, now this stuff is getting to be pretty good.

Little did we know we were playing with dynamite.

So now came the chug-a lug contests. We would make a toast to what a fine bunch of clever fellows we were, click glasses and glug, glug, glug, down the hatch the liquid demons went.

Suddenly, PLOP, on the floor, went one of the lads with the others grinning "awww, he can't take it." Har, har, the little sissy. Plop! went another, then me. Plop!

Flat passed out. Demon wine kicked like a mule.

Now this was a cold winter night and the light, drizzling rain set in and the girls decided it was time for us to leave as three of us were so wiped out we didn't even know what planet we were from. Others were outside, bent over inspecting the remains of their previous meal and making disgusting noises.

Off into the night we went taking the remainder of our booze with us to share with others if they had enough guts to drink it straight. Not many did.

I remember the lights flashing by in the night but was to drunk to even sit up straight. The worst of us were put in the back seat to babble our incoherent words of undying friendship and loyalty to each other. Talk among us was turning to being blood brothers. We couldn't find a sword for bloodletting, so one of the guys was sawing on his wrist with a comb determined to be a blood brother. We were interested.

As we cruised around the neighborhoods in our drunken haze, we all seemed to have to relieve ourselves at the same time. The driver, who wasn't in much better shape, finally pulled over at some God forsaken road and we all slid

fell out, trying our best to appear to be the strong ones and help the weaker ones. We all succeeded in falling in unison down a drainage ditch with about eighteen inches of water in the bottom.

We took our leak, accidentally peeing on each other with many apologies and it "was completely an accident my brother." Forgive me and here, you pee on me to show no hard feelings.

Tomorrow we WILL be blood brothers.

So now trying to escape our confinement in the ditch we found it impossible to climb the muddy sides which wasn't more than three feet high.

No amount of concentration and planning would reach the balance mechanisms in our brains and we all held on to each other to plan a mad rush up the little hill only to get half way up, slip, stumble and come sprawling back down to the cold, pee contaminated, muddy soup awaiting us.

Much howling, cursing and flopping about and we tried, as a group, pushing on one of the lads hoping he could make it to the top. Finally one fellow made it out, laid down and held out a muddy hand for us to cling to and little by little we all escaped our cold, wet, smelly imprisonment. Cold and shivering we all concluded we wasn't having any fun and voted to go home. One of the chaps was let off and made it half way to his door and collapsed in a heap. Enough racket was made for his parents to peep out the door and see what the ruckus was about.

The lads stench and personal appearence was enough to tell the tale.

We had problems of our own. We drove on.

I was dropped off and don't remember how I got into the house but I did get a hot shower going to warm me up and hid my muddy clothes in the clothes hamper.

Bouncing off the walls heading to the bedroom, I fell into bed and hung on the sides as the room was spinning with the rapidness of a airplane prop. Oh Lord I prayed, just let me survive this night and I will never touch another drop again, I pleaded with my maker. I was miserable.

I fitfully slept as long as I could possibly could but with the bellowing from my Pop telling me to get stirring brought me out of my haze.

Nothing was right. The sun and sky was a wrong color, the house was moving, my Pop kept changing shapes. I was trying desperately to act normal. I felt horrible.

I was thinking very hard, trying to remember how to dress myself.

I had my pants and shirt on and brought my socks and shoes in the living room where my Pop was reading the Sunday paper.

I tried so hard to act normal, planning each movement was a serous strain on my befuddled brain.

I put on my shoes and could see Pop squinting out from behind the paper at me from time to time. Ah, I thought, I got the shoes on and tied. Next the socks, I reasoned with myself. It didn't dawn on me that something was not right.

So I was struggling trying to put a sock over the shoe and Pop was noticing.


"Oh no shir I slurred". The first words out from me that morning and my six tongues were not attached to my brain.

What did you do? my Pop demanded to know.

'ell we swent hoo de 'rive inn 'ovie an''ad a 'oft dink Pep, I babbled.

Even I knew I was speaking gibberish and try as I may I could not get anything coherent to come from my set of four lips. My tongue was flapping uncontrollably in my mouth.

Pop demanded to know "what was that wine bottle doing in the driveway last night? I moaned softly to myself. Those idiots dropped a empty wine bottle in our drive way. I don' kno' Pip, it mus' ob ben trowed 'ere by sum'un.

I decided for my safety that it be best to go for a walk so I excused myself and slurred something about going to see about a job.

That always shut my Pop up.

I started walking to the local drugstore where they had a soda shop and this was no easy task as the sidewalks kept heaving up and down and the day being calm I was bothered by phantom winds that kept blowing me off the sidewalk.

Stumbling over a garbage can didn't help matters any either.

By the time I got to the store where our friends met to gossip and visit I had developed a terrible thirst. I mooched several cups of water and gulped them down and the evils of the wine spirits came over me again.

I was out of control, trying to get out of the store, ricocheting off the counters and get around to the back of the store where I lost anything that happened to be in my stomach.

I was never so miserable in my life much to the amusement of my friends who came with me to watch the show. It is very difficult to show how cool you are while vomiting.

My attempts at smiling, were twarted by disgusting splots of vomit clinging to my face. The girls walked away. I retched loudly.

They loaded me up and took me home as I was in no shape to walk back.

By Gods intervention my Pop was gone somewhere and in I staggered to my bedroom and by the time I felt a little better, I would go to the kitchen, swill more water and be drunk all over again. I stayed in bed all day and night explaining to my Pop that it must have been something I ate. He pretty much left me alone realizing I was getting punished enough.

Monday came and off to school I went feeling a little better and word had gotten around about what we did and I wasn't in no mood to talk about it. The terrible thirst persisted and to the water fountains I went.

Demon wine effects returned again. The building was spinning, the bellowing teachers echoed throughout the buildings and I wanted to die.

I put my head on my desk and tried to shut out the hub bub and noise drone and fitfully dozed off to the tittering of my fellow students.

The effects of the wine episode stayed with me for about three weeks finally wearing off but not before I promised myself never to touch this vile brew again.

I kept that promise for over thirty years. Even the faint whiff of a good wine would bring back nauseating memories of my first drunk.

Over the years I partook of other types of the spirits, sometimes with great zeal. But as time marched on I became tired of the sauce and today I don't drink any. I don't condemn it. I guess I was fortunate because I never craved alcohol but I have known people that HAVE TO HAVE it. I am sad for those people because they really want to quit and can't.

I say if you find yourself in a situation to where you have to have a drink, then it is time to have a long serious talk with yourself and quit before it takes over yourself. Too much damage has happened because of alcohol. Deaths, failed marriages etc. We can live without it.

Contact Jerry

(Messages are forwarded by The Preservation Foundation.
So, when you write to an author, please type his/her name
in the subject line of the message.)

Jerry's Story List And Biography

Book Case

Home Page

The Preservation Foundation, Inc., A Nonprofit Book Publisher