Or, How Not to Store Ocean Spray Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice

Dave and Chuck were, like most high school juniors, not terribly good at keeping their room clean, and the fact that they lived as roommates at a boarding school didn't help--they were basically two messes co-habitating in one very tiny space. Both were basically apathetic about anything that fell on the floor, but they did follow the thirty second rule, which some of you may know as the five second rule. With such a laid-back attitude towards food, neatness, chaos, and entropy (their attitude being that all four should be able to pleasantly coexist, just like the Horsemen of the Apocalypse) it was only a matter of time before something like this happened.

Juniors were not allowed to have refrigerators, but some of us did have small ledges outside our windows; those who didn't devised schemes for hanging our perishables out the window, using Mother Nature's benevolent coolness in the colder months to keep our caffeine and assorted tasty beverages pleasantly chilled. When Dave and Chuck bought the jumbo bottle of Ruby Red grapefruit juice, they surely had something like this in mind. Surely they must have... right? Because nobody in his right mind would take a fruit beverage that advertises its utter lack of preservatives, and drink only half of it, and then roll it under the bed.

a number of months later...

I was hanging out with Chuck and Dave in their room, watching Dave hack his way through another level of Doom II, or whatever the current game of choice was, and I dropped a pen. It rolled, as dropped and forgotten things are wont to do, under the bed. "A-ha," says I, "whose juice is this?"

Chuck: I think it's Dave's.
Dave: I think it's Chuck's.

Looks were exchanged, and they shrugged. One of them said that it might be "kind of old", but I could have some if I wanted. Well, I was thirsty. So I examined the bottle carefully. A layer of yellowish precipitate had jelled into a thick clot at the bottom of the cloudy, virulently pink liquid. Other than that, it looked okay. I shook the sealed bottle violently, trying to get the precipitate to mix back in (so I'd get all the grapefruity goodness when I drank it), and I was remotely successful. The mixture developed a thick, foamy head, and I noticed that the head was a by-product of the mixture's newfound carbonation. I say "newfound" because Ruby Red isn't supposed to be carbonated. Ever.

At this point, I abandoned the idea of drinking any of it. At the same time, Dave and Chuck, both aware of our school's insular anti-alchohol policy, and realized that this "juice" was now at least somewhat alcoholic. Even if none of us was going to drink it, we definitely had to at least smell it. This was a bad idea, but we were in high school. Sue me.

Well, I couldn't budge the cap--this should have been a nice big fat clue, but no. I gnawed on it a little, tried some primitive tools, and finally managed to get it to move a very small amount. Switching my grip on it, I held the neck firmly in my left hand while torquing the cap with my right. A


like a small firecracker, and a fainter "click" from above me--and the cap settled at my feet, having blown off the top, hit the ceiling, and rattled to the floor. I began to laugh, when I saw... smoke?... it looked like smoke, coming out of the neck of the bottle. Like in a bad mad scientist movie, I stared enthralled at the bottle of smoking pink potion. Actually, not unlike what comes out of a champagne bottle right before the foam. The fog was so thick in the bottle that I couldn't see down into the hole to see how the liquid had responded. Chuck, who was to one side, however, saw the tidal surge and hollered a vague warning. A gout of pink foam shot out of the bottle a good foot. In an effort to keep it from spraying my face, I turned the bottle at a slight angle, giving the foam a trajectory. It splashed on Dave's puke-green upholstered easy chair, on his computer keyboard, and onto their rug. Bad mojo, that.

That's when the smell hit us:

Grapefruit Moonshine Beer.

I had never smelled it before, but I knew grapefruit beer when I smelled it. And I never want to smell it again. Ever. They posted a handmade biohazard sign on their door within the hour, and inhabited someone else's room (except for sleeping, which they had to do in their own room by school rules) for the next two weeks or so while their room aired out.

I'm not even going to try to attach a moral to this one; if you haven't learned your lesson from reading this, you can only learn it the hard way. The names have been changed to protect the guilty, but these are the same guys who brought me into contact with The Infamous Bell Tower Prank of 1996 and Using a Jedi Mind Trick on a State Trooper.

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