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It was the winter of 1997, and I had just started going out with my fiancée. (For those of you from the north-east of North America, it was perhaps three weeks prior to the ice storm.)

My friends Quentin, Luc and I were going skiing for three days at Mt. St-Anne, in Québec. Quentin had just returned from a family wedding in Cozumel, and had purchased the biggest bottle of tequila I had ever seen in my entire life. It was easily 4 litres, and came in a plastic jug of the same type as those in which you can purchase industrial quantities of cranberry juice, or some other such beverage.

We met in Montreal, and spent the night there getting blotto in anticipation of our voyage to Mt. St. Anne. The only person abstaining was Quention, for he knew he would be driving the following morning at 4:30 am.

When 4:30 am rolled around, I was woken by Quentin (violently, I might add), and we stumbled into the van and were off. Quentin, being the sadistic bastard that he is, decided that it was an excellent idea to stop at the local pharmacy in order to purchase breakfast. Given that he was the only one eating (the buzz was now wearing off, and the painful realization of sobering up after a tequila binge while driving, and after only 3 hours of sleep, was beginning to set in), he decided a large bag of BBQ potato chips would be suitable nutrition. He proceded to drive us towards Quebec city, and munched on his potato chips the whole bloody way. I still can't stomach the smell of them, to this very day. But that's another story.

We arrived at Mt. St. Anne in the early afternoon (had to drop Caroline off at her parents' in Trois-Rivieres) and hit the slopes post-haste. After a lengthy day of skiing, we went back to our room and began working on the bottle of tequila. Quentin, after six or seven drinks, decided that it would be a grand idea if we could try to finish the bottle prior to New Year's day, 1998. Being ruined at the time, I concurred, and thus began the worst, most self-hateful three weeks of my life.

I don't think it necessary to go into all of the sordid details now, or perhaps ever, but suffice it to say that with the help of many friends, we did in fact manage to finish off the bottle of tequila on the 31st of December, 1997. However, I do need to mention, briefly, how we came to name the bottle.

The day after our arrival at Mt. St. Anne, I drove to Quebec city to pick up Caroline, as she wanted to come skiing with me and my friends (mostly me!). After skiing together all day, she decided to show us blokes that quebeckers can hold their liquor better than just about anyone. We got to playing horrible, spiteful drinking games, and at one point Caroline was so hammered that Quentin leaned over and whispered:

"Matt, I truly, honestly think that she might die!"

Shortly after Caroline passed out, we all felt rather bad about having plied her with that much liqour, and decided that we couldn't tell everyone that we were responsable for her current state. Luc hollered out, while staggering to the john, "It wasn't our fault! It was Francine!"

Twenty minutes later, when he emerged from the salle de bain, as it is said up there, we asked him what the hell he was talking about. He replied, "Francine! The bottle of tequila told me her name is Francine."

So, that is the story of the biggest bottle of tequila I ever saw, and drank, and how she came to be known as Francine.

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