I only have to blame myself for what happened. I had seen this before. Mr. Fauxpo had always been and would forever be the very definition of a bounder. Not good for anything accept getting loaded, he was the first at the party and the last to leave. Unfortunately for him and the people he has befriended, he often is without any personal monitor for tracking his wretched excesses. He has never understood that beer, with all its culinary connections to civilization, is not just an alcohol delivery system. For a man of advanced age, this is downright pathetic. He often is totally oblivious to the detrimental effects he has on others.
So when he settled in for the holiday beer tasting, the only detail he was interested in was how strong each beer was. Mr. Fauxpo pretended that he was interested in the flavors of beer, like artisan brewing enthusiasts, but the reality was that this was a complete lie. Mr. Fauxpo was an any kind of beer guzzler, who also has an obsession with smoking marijuana. Not the cannabis cultivation found in those states where it is legal. No. Obtaining marijuana for Mr. Fauxpo involved travel to dangerous neighborhoods where an ugly mix of police-racial paranoia permeated the air. All of this in order to score some mediocre weed. Not that this actually mattered to Mr. Fauxpo. It was the idea of having a beer and a joint on hand at all times that provided the little comfort he had in life. Never mind that the herb he purchased was so dry, he coughed furiously with each inhalation.
So the football game was on free TV and our local team, remarkably, was actually winning. Mr. Fauxpo treated the holiday beers like they were his personal spigot: Hibernation Ale, Breckenridge Christmas Ale, Anchor Our Special Ale, Madtree Thundersnow, Emergency Malt Kit, Great Lakes Christmas Ale, Bell’s Christmas Ale, and Rhinegeist Dad were all guzzled in a quiet fury that was only revealed when Mr. Fauxpo stumbled his way over to the bathroom.
Since I do not permit smoking in my house of any kind, Mr. Fauxpo would go out to the backyard porch, where he would proceed with his fixins ritual of chopping up the dry withered buds to roll into a reefer. This process took often a half hour to perform.
The question will inevitably be asked: so why do you put up with the bastard? Well I have always had a soft spot (in my head?) for people who do not fit too well in the established world. These are dysfunctional folks whose behavioral foundations were set long ago in analog times, who now find themselves living in a bewildering digital age. Mr. Fauxpo could serve as a classic example. He depends upon his cellphone for contact with the outside world, yet is too proud or too lazy, or both, to admit he needs corrective lenses to see the data on his smart phone screen.
This quickly became an ale and safety issue. As someone who does not own a car, nor a license to drive one, the thought of this out-of-control, beer and pothead getting behind the wheel of an auto, is a distinct nightmare to say the least. What was I to do? What was suppose to be a festive season celebration became something rather ugly when Mr. Fauxpo decided, for whatever reason , to display in full, his obnoxious drunken persona. I thought: perhaps if I give him some food, like a large slice of pizza, maybe the cheese will absorb some of the alcohol.
Well he seemed somewhat reasonable when he quietly informed me he would be leaving, by way of the backyard door. I said goodbye and returned to my working area to take care of some chores.
It wan hour or so later when I went out to recycle the cans and bottles, only to find Mr. Fauxpo lying at the bottom of the three step porch, unconscious, with a bloody gash upon his head. I tried to revive him but to no avail. All I knew about his condition was he was still breathing. So then I called 911.
The Firefighter EMT and Police arrived shortly thereafter. The cops wanted to know if there had been a fight. I told them no, he had just consumed too much strong beer, fell off the back porch, unknown to me until I found him later. Looking at how busted up Mr. Fauxpo was, some of the cops suggested he might be on other drugs. So then they scanned the dark area where he fell, using their Mag flashlights. The tiny remaining crumbs of bud found in his fixins tray were scattered to the winds, right before the constabulary arrived.
All this happened two days before Saint Nicholas Feast day. Since then I have wondered if Mr. Fauxpo’s extreme behavior was a physical manifestation of Krampus. Some gnarly holiday demon seeking to banish the idea of in cervesio felicitas.