This week’s Flash Fiction Challenge from Chuck Wendig is more bizarre than usual. It’s also just a bit more outside of my strike zone than other challenges have been. We have to invent a new drink or cocktail, real or fictional, then use that cocktail as the title and a part of the story. While I am not a teetotaler, I am a long way from being a big drinker or knowledgeable about cocktails of any sort.
What the hell? That’s what Google is for, right? Going for it anyway, what have I got to lose? As always, comments and constructive criticisms are appreciated.
THE OLYMPUS DISMOUNT
- 2 double Old Fashioned tumblers
- 2 shot glasses
- Gymnastic equipment
- Olive branch sprig with olives attached
- Ice cubes made of water from Lake Placid
- 30 cc water from the Beijing National Aquatics Center
- 30 cc gin made with juniper berries harvested near Sarajevo
- 30 cc silver tequila made with blue agave grown near Mexico City
- 30 cc dark rum made with sugar cane grown near Rio de Janeiro
- 30 cc vodka made with potatoes grown near Lillehammer
- 200 cc orange juice from fruit grown near Rome
- 200 cc cranberry juice from fruit grown near Vancouver
- 100 cc Guinness Red (Foster’s Lager may be substituted in a pinch)
Chill all fluids to 1°C except for Guinness Red, which should be kept warm. Fill blender with ice cubes. Slowly mix in gin, tequila, rum, orange juice, and cranberry juice. Blend to a slushly consistency.
Pour mixture into two double Old Fashioned tumblers, leaving room for additional ingredients. Fill shot glasses with warm Guinness Red. Garnish with olive branch and olive. Drop shot glasses full of beer into the mix in the Old Fashioned tumblers, shouting “Belly Flop!” as you do.
Clamber up onto a piece of gymnastics equipment, such as the stationary rings, parallel bars, balance beam, or pommel horse. Drink quickly in an effort to induce blinding brain freeze. Once in agony, attempt at least two competitive gymnastic moves, followed by a dismount, sticking the landing. Extra credit if you can do so while holding the olive branch in your teeth.
I had gotten into Sochi about two days before the official start of the games. My event wasn’t scheduled to start until the tenth day, so I had plenty of time to spend enjoying the festivities.
At the opening ceremonies you could tell which athletes had events scheduled early – most of them didn’t even show up. The ones who did were out of there like a shot as soon as they could get free. It was time for that last little bit of practice, planning, strategizing, or Zazen to help with their focus and visualization. Whatever.
The rest of us were looking to promote international relations, preferably in a one-on-one discussion of the Kama Sutra. There’s a reason they hand out over 100,000 condoms during those two weeks.
Most of us had been busting our butts about nine days a week for at least three years to get ready for this. Everyone else had started the day after we left Vancouver. I had long ago lost track of how many thousands of times I had gone down the courses in Utah, Colorado, and New York.
With all of that training and all of the pressure to win (or at least not do anything stupid that might break every bone in our body), the worst thing that they could have done was confine us. We needed to be out on the town, blowing off steam, cavorting, carousing, and capering. We needed to be footloose and fancy-free.
Instead, due to “security concerns”, we might as well have been in a gulag. It was a reasonably well appointed gulag, granted, but a gulag nonetheless. We had over 10,000 athletes, most in their early 20’s or younger, all in incredible physical shape, all under a ton of pressure, all nervous as hell, locked up, nothing much to do for entertainment.
You do the math.
I ended up in the room of Emma, a member of the Norwegian women’s hockey team. She was tall, blonde, and everything you might have fantasized about in that situation. Keep fantasizing. Yes, it is that great.
Afterwards, we got to talking about how we got to Sochi. She told me about a lot of running, weight training, and endless skating practices. I mentioned some of the routines we had for learning and perfecting our flips, spins, and tumbles. You don’t just go out onto the slope and do a jump with three twists and two spins in a spread-eagle.
That seemed to pique her interest. “You do gymnastics to train for skiing tricks? So you have done an Olympus Dismount, yes?”
She had me stumped with that one. I knew that her English wasn’t perfect, but it beat the hell out of my Norwegian. Still, I figured that there must be something lost in translation.
“No, that is what it is called, The Olympus Dismount. You have not heard of this? It is a drink with a ritual that goes along. All of us have tried it. You are sure you don’t know it? A great amount of alcohol like an icy sludge, a beer, and gymnastics equipment? No?”
I had to assure her that I had no idea what she was talking about. In a flash she was up, getting dressed, throwing my clothes at me, and calling someone on her phone. After a great deal of discussion in rapid-fire Norwegian, she grabbed a bag from her closet, grabbed my hand, and started dragging me down to the gym.
“You must try this!” Emma said. “We have brought all of the ingredients and we have extra, so you will get the honor!”
We ended up at the door to the training gym. It was supposed to be locked this late at night, but the door was propped ajar. We slipped inside and I found myself with about a dozen of Emma’s teammates. All were tall, all were blonde, and all were goddesses. If I had been harboring any doubts about this ritual, they disappeared in a flash of burning testosterone. I would die happily before I chickened out on any challenge this group could throw at me.
Two of the ladies had a large blender with Russian markings on it. Emma asked them a couple of questions about it. I couldn’t understand a word, but I was pretty sure that they hadn’t brought it in their carry-on luggage. Other women had their own bags of potion fixings to match Emma’s.
Emma ushered everyone over to a corner where there were several pieces of gymnastic apparatus. A balance beam, parallel bars, rings, and uneven bars were all covered with thick padding, which also covered the floor everywhere. The women started pulling out bottles and flasks, lining them up along the balance beam. From her bag Emma pulled several glasses, both large and small.
“You said you trained on rings, yes?” she asked me. “Like these here, yes? You can do at least simple moves? Show us, please.”
Here I was in a foreign country, trespassing in a room that was supposed to be locked, with what was certainly stolen equipment, surrounded by over a dozen stunningly gorgeous women hockey players, and they wanted me to do an impromptu still rings routine for them. What could possibly go wrong?
I grabbed onto the rings, got myself going into a swing, did an inlocate, pulled into a front uprise, fell out of it to a dislocate, and did a dismount with one somersault. It wouldn’t have gotten me on an NCAA junior varsity gymnastics team, but for strength training and flying skills, it was pretty good.
The women were all very impressed. Emma led me back to the balance beam.
“These are all the ingredients for The Olympus Dismount. They are all from very special places. We will blend them together and then pour the beer. You must drop the beer into the drink and shout ‘Belly Flop!’ Then drink it as fast as you can, to get an ice headache. When you finish it, do your rings routine again. Yes?”
What non-dead, red-blooded American would pass on that challenge in that audience? Besides, I figured that doing the routine ten or fifteen minutes after drinking would be far more dangerous than doing it immediately, when the alcohol hadn’t yet hit my system.
It took just a minute for everything to be mixed and blended. It looked a bit like a dark orange margarita and reeked of booze, but it was too late to think about backing out. I dropped the depth charge, shouted the challenge, and started drinking.
I was about half way through it when the brain freeze hit. I stopped drinking for a moment, grimacing with agony, but all I could hear was the ladies urging me on. Pushing onward, I managed to finish it quickly.
The pain in my head was truly blinding. I couldn’t see a thing with my eyes screwed shut. I tried to get one eye open and started groping around, finally finding Emma.
Rather than comforting me, she led me over to the rings. There weren’t a lot of brain cells working at that point, most of them being occupied trying to figure out how to remove the invisible ice daggers from my eyeballs, but my secondary head reminded me that my machismo was on trial before a dozen potential supermodels. I grabbed the rings and pulled.
Surprisingly, the swing didn’t make me start to puke, nor did my head explode and scatter brain shards all over the room. I guess all of that training paid off. My brain might not have been worth a nickel a pound, but my muscles remembered what to do.
Swing into an inlocate. Check! Pull into a front uprise. Done! Fall out of it into a dislocate. Piece of cake! Another full swing and let go into a somersault for the landing.
That was when the police burst in.
Shouting. Whistles. The Norwegian witches grabbing their magic potion ingredients and running like rabbits for the exits. All while I was spinning. And spinning. Finally, I miscalculated the landing so badly that I over rotated and landed flat as a board on my back.
Only the fact that I had all of the wind knocked out of me kept me from screaming in agony. My brain was saying, “AAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!” while my lungs and mouth were making soft, pathetic sounds, sort of like an alligator coughing up a hairball.
The pads on the floor had kept me from needing an ICU unit, but the not-breathing thing was annoying. Someone finally got me to sit up, bend over, relax just a bit, and allow my lungs to remember what they were there for.
The only things that Emma and her friends had left behind were the blender and me. Well, that and the four security guys and two cops.
Who knew that the athlete’s village had a jail?
My coach and some undersecretary from the US Consulate finally convinced the Russian authorities that it was just some harmless fun. I managed to get off with a stern lecture, a warning to be really careful if I wanted to not be deported in disgrace, and a workout schedule from my coaches that didn’t leave me any time for thoughts of further shenanigans.
The next ten days were a total blur, but at the end of it I was the proud owner of a bronze medal. Since I hadn’t figured to even finish in the top five, the medal finally got my coaches off my case. They also warned me that the Russian security dudes carried a grudge for a long time.
I had a couple of days of fun following that. It’s amazing what a conversation starter one of those medals is, even a bronze. If I was making this many new friends with a third-place finish, I definitely wanted to win gold next time.
The next afternoon I watched Emma’s team win the bronze medal game for women’s hockey. I was happy for her and wondered if I might bump into her again. As I was leaving the arena after their medal ceremony, my phone buzzed with an incoming picture. It was Emma, holding her medal, along with the olive branch garnish from my Olympus Dismount.
The message was immediately followed by her tackling me and knocking me into a snow drift, laughing maniacally.
It was going to be a fun three final days.