Kissing the calibre of Bogart and Bergman in Casablanca does not exist at a booze show.
In fact, to use Casablanca as a frame of reference, kissing more on the level of Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre going at it is more of the type of eroticism one might witness at a booze show.
How do I know? What makes me the expert?
cheeky little bastards--I'll tell you!
Because at the last booze show I worked, I opened a Kissing Booth when we ran out of beer.
Don't believe me?
Unlike a blurry photo of a Sasquatch or some metal pie plates spotted "hovering" over Montana, this picture clearly shows what I will call "The Exposition" of this story.
The Building Action:
People began to mill around our booth, curious about the chalkboard; asking eagerly if we were "for real". We most certainly were. It helped stem the flow of drunk dudes staggering up to our booth, tickets in hand, looking for a sample; all we needed to do was point at the chalkboard and ask, "One ticket, or two, sir?" They were pretty quick to retreat.
People were laughing, taking photos, and what had initially been awkward and embarrassing (running out of beer an hour before the end of the show) became a triumph of the adage, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!". . . only, I guess in this case, it would be, "When life gives you bitter Hallertau Hallertau Magnum hops, make beer!".
Everything is hilarious until someone loses an eye. Or their will to live. And their innocence.
A pair of fifty-something crones approached our booth, their cheeks rosey with gin blossoms.
A- "Oh! Tsk! I'm too old for something like that!"
the smaller one giggled.
D- "I'm not!!"
the bigger, slightly more hideous one bellowed.
And with that, D slammed her hand on the table, palm flat on our blue table cloth. She drew back her hand with the cold composure of a poker player turning up a Royal Flush--but, to my abject horror, I got two tickets on "the river". Two blessed little tickets, crumpled and curled from sweat. Two tickets happy to be free.
Two tickets meant "French Kiss"--but surely to God she didn't expect a French Kiss!? This whole Kissing Booth concept was a joke--HA HA HA--no one would want a French Kiss from me!
I looked to my brother--my older brother, I should point out--for help. But his ear-to-ear grin told me I was in a fix. A fix I had created by putting chalk to board, like the clever little jerk that I am, and advertising kisses at rock bottom prices.
It's fair to mention in my Victoria Cross citation that, in the face of enemy I showed great valour; I saw her mouth agape and a tongue floundering on the shores of her craggy, Dieppe-esque features, and I charged in anyway.
I have since described the ensuing 13 seconds thusly: imagine taking a broomstick, slathering it with vaseline, and ramming it into your mouth. For 13 seconds. And with the energy of someone in the throes of death. That's what this kiss was like
Even C, who had started out laughing, soon fell into a hushed horror.
Deprived of oxygen for so long, I had hoped for some kind of brain damage to shield my mind against the memory of that kiss, but no such luck. Indeed, every time I brush my teeth I shutter. When others are enjoying French Stick bread, I can only excuse myself, draw a bath, and weep while I try to wash away the sin. If I happen past the butcher's counter and spy as beef tenderloin, my teeth clamp shut so tightly I'd swear that I had stepped on a rusty nail earlier in the day.
Our CFO has found the silver lining; as he points out, those two tickets represent 100% profit for the company, as no product was sampled.
No product, so long as my dignity isn't dispensed in green bottles.