Friday, May 25, 2007

Rebel Without A Cork

"That had better not be tequila," the customs agent spat as she looked at the bottle of tequila in Laura's hand.

"No, it's not," I dearly wanted to say. "It's a special hammer to hit rude people on the head. Want to see how it works?"

But I'm afraid of customs people, so I kept my yap shut.

"Of course it's tequila..." Laura responded honestly, leaving off the implied "...you idiot."

"I hope you're not planning to take it on the airplane." Laura respects officials too, so she didn't bother giving the obvious response. When she was ordered to dump the tequila out, she did, with a fat tear in her eye. She was planning to enjoy it upon arriving home after celebrating Laurie and Wayne's wedding in Mexico.

Raoul had tequila too, but it was still in his carry-on. We passed by him in the zig-zag cattle line for the x-ray scanner, and when he asked about her tequila we just shushed him. If they didn't search his bag, maybe.... But they did search it, and told him he couldn't take it any further and had to dump it out.

"That is so wrong," he said. Raoul does not waste liquor. So he did what I would only dream of: he popped open the cap and upended the bottle into his mouth until bubbles coursed through it. Then he held it up high in defiance, and yelled, "Anyone want some tequila!?" Everyone froze, expecting that the fierce little customs agent would casually pull out her gun and blow a hole in him. But to my shock she repeated in her chihuahua bark, "Aneewan wan sam tah-KEE-la!?"

In unison the crowd exploded "TEQUILA!" and hundreds applauded as the first guy in line behind Raoul grabbed the bottleneck in his fist and knocked back a high swig, then passed the bottle back down the line. It made it to me and I took a long pull. It was two-thirds empty when I lost track of it. Keeping a mental count of those who stuck it in their mouths ahead me, I figure I did the equivalent of kissing two big bald guys, a rugby player, a new husband and an attractive 40-ish Latina--about my same luck as here in Omaha. I normally like to observe rebellions from a safe distance, but in this case I'm glad I was close to the action because there were some in line with whom I don't want to share a bottle-lip.

As we left the customs checkpoint, Laura leaned to me and murmured, "Raoul is my hero." We dubbed it The Great Tequila Rebellion. I sat next to Raoul on the plane and tried to tell him that, but he was already passed out from his long swig of defiance.

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