Who’d bother breaking into my car just to steal some dubbed cassettes? The jumper cables were worth a bit of cash, but there they sat, sprawled out in the back seat like knotted, smirking alligators, smug that they’d survived the raid. Gone were a couple of mixtapes, a hissy copy of Black Saint and the Sinner Lady by Mingus, and the one tape that never left my car- a self-selected compilation of all the best songs by The Smiths. Naturally, I was pissed, having lost this document I’d crafted with immaculate pause-button finesse, managing to distill the essence of one of my favorite bands into a 90 minute set. But why steal it? Cassettes were dead, and no pawn shop or record store would mistake my scratchy tracklist for actual artwork anyway. The only theory I could muster was that this guy, like me, was a desperate music freak. Possibly homeless, or at least pushing around a cart full of broken toasters and refrigerator parts, trying to find a bit of that old electric joy in hearing a song for the first time and losing himself in the sound. I wondered what he’d think when he first popped in The Smiths, batteries running low on the Walkman, Morrissey’s voice dropping to a basso drawl, and heard all those songs populated with melodramatic woe, characters wondering how quickly they’d die if they jumped from the top of carnival rides, sullen and smoking in hopes of early death. Whatever burdens they carried through life, they weren’t trading scrap metal for change or scouring supermarket loading docks for discarded lettuce and beans. And yet, whoever stole my tapes had found a reason to go on. Maybe the music was almost enough, and if he had to cop tapes from someone’s dashboard to satisfy the itch, so be it. If I were stuck behind a scrap cart, I’d probably do the same.
Respecting life in cocktail form, heavy on the fruits and vegetables…
MEAT IS MURDER:
- 2 oz. vodka
- ½ oz. dry vermouth
- ½ oz. fresh lemon juice
- ½ oz. agave syrup
- 2” piece of celery, cut into slices
- 1” piece of cucumber, cut into slices, plus an additional thin slice for garnish
- 5 basil leaves
- a few drops of orange bitters
Rub a basil leaf around the rim of a chilled cocktail glass, then muddle with the rest of the basil, celery, cucumber and agave syrup in a shaker. Add the remaining ingredients and shake, straining into the glass. Garnish with the cucumber slice.