Is It Bleach?

James Stephen, contributor

It was August in Northern Michigan. The lake was clear and cool and we were camping. Five families and their 5th wheels, doublewides, and pop-ups.

It was 11 in the morning and everyone had already had their Bloody Mary to cure the hangover from the night before. It was time to do some serious drinking.

Every camp outing someone is designated to make a Yukka Jar. For those ignorant to this delicious cocktail, a Yukka Jar consists of a fifth of vodka, 5 O’Clock will do, a can of frozen lemonade from concentrate, a half cup of sugar, and a shit ton-o-lemons and limes. You fill a gallon pickle jar with ice (be sure that it is empty and not lined with sweet, delicious pickle juice) and toss in all of your ingredients. The remainder, and there’s not much, is filled up with water. Then once you cap the jar, wrap it in a dishtowel (it’ll be frosty cold!) and shake it for 15-20 minutes. It’s tons-o-fun! Just pass it around from person to person getting a good curl on to make for a fantastic

“Sun’s Out, Guns Out.” Then consume copiously, greedily, until drunk.

Today was my turn to make the jar. It was the last day of camping. We’ve been there seven days already. Still, no one was burned out nor had they lost their thirst. We were all out in the water. My Dad’s buddy swam up to me and told me that he had all the stuff for a Yukka and all I had to do was walk up into camp. We didn’t have water hook ups for our trailers so I asked, “Where do you keep your water?”

“It’s in a plastic container underneath the sink, you’ll see it.”

I moseyed up to his trailer and walked into the kitchen/living space/master bedroom. I did up all the stuffs and was ready to cap the jar, but I needed to fill the rest up with water. Opening the cabinet under the sink I saw TWO plastic containers for liquid.

“Shit…” I picked the one up on the right and opened the lid. It looked like water. I  smelled it. Now, maybe it was because I was already buzzed up on Bloody Marys, but I didn’t smell a thing! I smelled the other container. Same story, odorless. Some of you may be thinking, ‘Hey, James. Why not just ask which is which?’ Well, that is a damn good question. But everyone was still out on the water and that was over a mile back, five if you’re stumblin’ shit-faced, so I gambled. I filled up the jar and started shakin’.

Everyone was cheering, hoot-hooting, whistling, and the like upon my gallant return with what could have very well been the Holy Grail in their bloodshot eyes hidden under dark sunglasses. We passed it back and forth, shaking it all up. Finally, it was time to keep the knot tied, the shine on, putting the sheets well in the wind. After a first few gulps folks started to make some judgments.

“Say, this tastes kinda funny…”

“Smells fine.”

“Hey, whaddidjya put in this?”

I looked at my Dad’s buddy. “You said the water was under the sink. I used the container you told me about.”

“Yea, but did you use the one with bleach in it?”

“Shit…they were identical!”

Everyone looked at me. Then they looked at the jar. Then they looked at each other.

My mom’s sister was holding the jar. She shrugged. She kept drinking it. We ALL did!  The way we figured, the alcohol would kill any poisons we consumed. Right? It  would have been a crime to pour it all out. There was a fifth of vodka in that thing! So, we drank and drank until it was gone. I was not chosen to make the next jar. We did make another. It was much better. However, my Yukka Jar gave everyone the whitest smile that Crest Strips couldn’t match and everyone’s bowels had a deep cleanse that evening before dinner. I’d say we made the best out of a bad situation.

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