Most people have forgotten, but the Yurho brothers (Stinky, Pinball, and Coffee) used to go on some long drinking sprees.
On this one in particular, they picked up Yank, their cousin, and the four of them headed for Smut’s Bar in Boatville, where they started this particular binge. It was February, below zero out, so of course the weather was the primary topic of conversation.
“Gonna be cold.”
“Gimme another beer.”
Along about two in the afternoon, they decided on a change of scene, so the four of them crowded into the old Ford pickup truck parked outside and they headed for the Powerhouse in Bluffton. Wasn’t much happening there, so about supper time, they loaded up and headed for Grandpa’s Bar down by Middle Leaf Lake.
“Get out, Yank,” Coffee said to his cousin, who was sitting kind of slumped over by the door. Yank didn’t reply.
“Must be napping,” Stinky, who was driving, said, so they all slid out his way, and traipsed into Grandpa’s to see if the beer was as good there.
And so forth. After about an hour, they began to think Yank had been sleeping long enough, so Coffee went out to wake him up. Coffee came back in shortly.
“Yank’s dead,” Coffee drunkenly whispered to the other two.
“No,” Coffee repeated, “he’s dead.”
“He’s what?” asked Stinky.
“He’s dead,” replied Coffee, adding, “and I couldn’t wake him up.”
They let all this soak in a while, and then Pinball said: “Four beers here, one for our cousin Yank.” And they began to drink to Yank.
“A great story teller.” So they drank to his storytelling.
“Great fisherman.” They drank to that. They found lots of good qualities. “His wife’s gonna miss him.” So they drank to that.
Along about supper time, they crowded back into the truck through the driver’s side door and, with Yank over against the passenger door, headed for the Three-Two bar in Boatville, which had great hamburgers. They pulled up outside in the alley.
“We can’t leave Yank out here by himself,” Pinball said, so after a bit of discussion, and what with Yank being by now frozen into a sitting position, they pulled his baseball cap down over his eyes and carried him in the back door and parked him in the corner of the end booth.
“Four beers down here,” Stinky hollered, and they went back to celebrating all the qualities their cousin had, and a few he didn’t.
“What’ll he have,” asked Lois, as she pointed at Yank.
“Something cold,” burped Coffee.
Several people came up to talk to them, but it was dark enough that they just figured Yank was napping, getting his strength up. This was, after all, the first day of this particular binge. Keeping up with the Yurhos was hard work.
“Let’s go ice fishing,” Pinball said after supper, so they picked up Yank again, tucked him back in the truck, and headed out to Big Pine, where they had a nice spear house set, and more beer. They set Yank over in the corner of the spear house, pulled the half empty beer out of his frozen hand, put in a fresh one, lit up the stove, and went back to swallowing.
When the sun came up, they went to put Yank back in the truck, but it turned out he’d frozen down to the wood bench, and they couldn’t get him loose, no matter how hard they tried. “Let’s go to town for breakfast and more beer, and come back.”
While they were gone, the sun came up, Yank thawed off the seat, and he fell into the spear hole. When the boys came back and walked across the frozen lake up to the house, Coffee happened to look down through the ice and saw cousin Yank staring back up at him.
“Look, there’s cousin Yank.”
“And he ain’t dropped his beer.” A bottle of Bud was visible in his hand.
“Cousin Yank always could hold his beer.”
“Cousin Yank is turning out to be a pain in the butt,” said Stinky. “This is gonna screw up the fishing,” said Pinball, as he tried to fire up a chain saw to cut a hole big enough to fish him out. In the meantime, Belkula, the youngest brother, drove out to the ice and said that Yank’s wife was looking for him.
“Well,” giggled Pinball, “there he is,” and pointed down through the ice. They were all so drunk they couldn’t get the chainsaw going, and the three of them were slipping around and laughing and carrying on. Since it was the Yurhos, everyone else stayed far away from them.
Belkula, used to this behavior, went back home. Wasn’t his problem, plus cousin Yank owed him ten bucks. Let him figure this out.
By the time they got the saw going, cousin Yank had swum off ten feet.
“He’s gettin’ away,” one of them said.
They cut three more four-foot-square holes before finally estimating his drift and cutting one far enough away that they could snag him with a gaff when he popped up in it.
“Now what’ll we do with him?”
Folks later wondered why Yank was in the truck two more days while the rest of them hit every bar within forty miles.
When asked, one of them would reply, “Dead drunk.”
Eventually, they took Yank to the funeral home.
They all agreed: It was a great time.