Yet More Truth Serum.
As I described previously, some of the boys discovered an old bottle of Sodium Pentothal in a hidden drawer disguised as a regular plank-end in one of my old pub tables. Last night they once again slipped a pleasant little dose into Ray's tipple, and the resulting conversation might be said to exclusively reside below. (I fear it went unrecorded by his drinking buddies.)
RAY: [returns from restroom] So where we at?
ROAST BEEF: Alright dogg you were straight up wrong about it not rainin' today so you got to drain that G&T all at once [points]
RAY: When it rains, I pour! [drains cocktail, motions for another]
BEEF: Oh man rock it and dock it do you know the origin myth behind the Morton's Salt slogan
RAY: [pauses] If I am honest, I recall hearing that the promise Morton's Salt made to consumers was that it would not clump up in times of humidity — a common problem with salt at the time. Hence the clever slogan, "when it rains, it pours." The girl with the umbrella in the rain slicker is iconic, and far more classy than the Jodie Foster Coppertone ad, in which a dog tries to eat a naked child's underwear. I have always found that ad tasteless. I feel that the advertising agent was making an appeal to a powerful client he knew was a pederast.
BEEF: So advertising shapes culture.
RAY: Advertising is culture. In between advertising we do things like talk about what we have been up to, but all we have been up to is following the instructions of advertising. Going to the gym, going to Burger King, downloading the latest music or driving the latest car. If you think about it, even non-sponsored images are advertising: the old woman with her walker is an advertisement for old age; the young boy with no helmet and a cheap scooter is an advertisement for making the community nervous. He will die beneath the wheels of a car, and it is mathematically likely that it will be a neighbor of his at the wheel, and this will make one of the families have to move. A moving company makes five thousand dollars, or less, per move. On average.
BEEF: Wow so we got to get into the moving business.
RAY: It seems unlikely. It's an unpleasant enterprise, and many of the employees report fatigue. There is also the issue of poor meals during travel, which affects the bowel.
BEEF: So this is why you always say that most moving company guys are dumb as a bowling ball but with the same number of major holes?
RAY: [pauses again] I...Beef? Beef. Dude. Why you talkin' about whatever while my G&T goes all Death Valley? Come on, man. Here's a twenty, get us some fries and some other stuff, maybe the mushroom caps comin' out crispy tonight...wait, no. Hate those. Fries and some poppers. Set us up.
BEEF: Word dogg all that comin' up like a Coppertone sunrise.
RAY: Huh? Get a move on, man. Don't be high.
I took the cue and had the kitchen prepare a lovely little platter of fried treats for the men. They stood themselves pints and cocktails well into the night, with "Coppertone" quickly emerging as the evening's wink-nudge word. The fried scallops and lager had a nice "copper-like tone" to them, and Téodor openly mused whether a winsome young lass across the room had a good "coppertone." Lyle asked if Revolver had been released on the Coppertone label, and that curious little Emeril fellow even joined in, refusing to karaoke on the grounds that his ear had a real "copper tone" which prevented him from hitting proper notes. Ray laughed and nodded to keep up appearances, but one did feel a bit sorry for him in spots. Here and there. Not the sort of welling-up that comes when a child with leg calipers topples off a bridge, but the merest suspicion of a wince. Invisible, of course, and fleeting.