A different kind of stash

A few weeks ago, my bride picked up a chest cold that was so nasty her coughs and sneezes began to register on seismic meters in Anchorage.

Luckily, her temperature didn’t soar to a point where spoons bent when she opened her mouth for a dram of cough medicine, although she did start plowing through enough tissue to threaten allegedly sustainable forests.

Her malady became wicked enough that we considered requiring our dogs to don surgical masks while her vocalizations degraded so much that the only lifeform on the planet that could understand her was our neighbor’s goose. So, she scribbled a note.

“Chill out Honeybear, this malaise is nowhere as bad as that attack of gunk that hit you after a trip to the Lower 48 a few years back. You were so pathetic that you jumped on Amazon to check out their selection of urns and called Turk to see if he had a stash of his “medicinal brew” available. Remember?”

How could I forget? She has a better memory capacity than Google and a faster retrieval capability.

It went like this.

After I put out my plea, Turk arrived about an hour later, hauled in his bag of home remedies, took one look, and prescribed his infamous and secretive potion.

“This stuff will clear your sinuses, kill every germ in your throat, sweat the fever out of your pores and professionally clean the plaque off your teeth.” He rumbled. “If you don’t mind, I’ll use your microwave to heat this concoction up. Don’t want any open flames near this brew when it gets to bubblin.”

Turk meant well, but I was having second thoughts after watching him add ingredients including cayenne pepper, garlic, Echinacea powder, concentrated lemon, a bunch of really weird looking herbs and a huge slug of some dark liquid essence from a tall brown bottle into a large ceramic stein.

After slowly stirring the mess for a couple of minutes, he heated the potion until it was steaming, then advised me to don a pair of wood stove gloves to handle the mug.

“What’s the matter Turk? The tankard too hot to handle?” I croaked.

“Nope.” He said with a grin. “Just don’t want ya to get any of that @*%+ on your skin.”

I pondered if I still had time to call the doc.

“Don’t drink any just yet.” He continued. “Just put your nose over it and deeply inhale.”

At first, nothing happened. Then I felt a slight burning sensation that swept so deep into my head that my ears popped and my eyes rolled. Suddenly, I could breath and hear without feeling like I was plugged up worse than a sludge-choked storm drain.

“Ease up bro.” Turk counseled. “Your face is redder than a baboon’s butt and a lot less pretty to look at.”

“Thanks a lot bubba, your intellect is rivaled only by garden tools. Now what?” I squeaked.

“Take a deep sip and let it slowly slide down your throat. Try not to scream or you might power-hurl a blast that’ll melt the seals around your bedroom’s windows.” I just glowered and followed his orders.

When the solution hit my raw esophagus, I felt like a fire-eater experiencing an ill-timed hiccup. I fully expected to see tendrils of smoke spiral out of my nose.

Immediately thereafter, everything went pleasingly numb and I no longer had the urge to cough up my kidneys and other important intestinal units. I even had most of my voice back.

“Man, what in the hell is in that stuff?” I huffed.

Turk mumbled. “It’s a clandestine family recipe. Mom would hang my hide on a wall if I told anyone. The women on her side of the family have passed the potion on for generations. She taught it to me because I’m an only child and have an aversion to being skinned.”

“Nevur minded.” I burped as my jaw went numb and I suddenly felt the need for a significant nap.

He just nodded and walked out the door.

I woke up about three hours later and called him.

“Thanks man. That junk was astounding. I don’t have a clue why it worked, but it did.”

“No problem bro. We call it Wild Turkey Tea.”

Needless to say, my wife would never go near that stuff, much less his milder option of a Southern Comfort smoothie. She’s a medicine cabinet buff.

Can’t say that I blame her, but I’m still keeping around a jar of the high-octane version just for respiratory emergencies.

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com.

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