The tequila odyssey

By NICHOLAS SCHROEDER  |  February 20, 2014

7. The Isle of Circe
With winds blowing fair, Andrew’s dark longship steered us toward the Portland version of the island of Aeaea, where we could find the beguiling and illustrious Circe. Depending on whom you asked, the Homeric Circe was considered either a goddess, witch, or sorceress. She lived in a mansion set deep within the woods, guarded by several wild animals turned docile by her potions and sorcery. In Portland, no one fits this description better than Michelle, the magnificent bartender at the moody “Irish-ish” pub the Snug. My crew burst in at around 10:30, jubilant to find her there, and huddled in one of the wooden hollows. Wombcastle handed me a Patron silver with no ice as I explained my quest to a few of the room’s lions and wolves. While we spoke, other creatures slinked in various states of repose onto the barstools at Circe’s periphery. When one would rise up, she shouted, teased, flirted, and barked at them, often within the same breath, and each would recoil back into submission. It was a thing of beauty. Not wishing to rouse her anger and risk losing any more of my crew, we paid and set forth — but it was too late. Circe called out and demanded to hug us goodbye. My heart quavered. Where now was fair Hermes, sent by Athena, whose wisdoms could safeguard me from this enchantress? Nowhere near, yet Circe kindly kept her powers at bay, as her valedictory embrace failed to arrest me among her menagerie. I pushed hard against this black magic and found the door.

8. Descent into Hades
If there was one regrettable part of our Odyssey (besides, of course, the next day), it was that Styxx is closed Tuesdays. Its name alone makes it the perfect spot to locate Tiresias, the blind prophet from Hades who lived for seven years in a woman’s body, and whose wisdom guided the back end of Odysseus’ journey. Instead we took it to the slightly less literal Sangillo’s, a place where many Portlanders have experienced a descent. Now nearing 11 o’clock, we did the only sensible thing one could when on a tequila odyssey, and each slurped down a green Jell-o shot (that’s right, the green ones are tequila, though who knows which kind -- $4.50) before climbing back into the longship.


Illustration by Patrick Corrigan

9. The Sirens
It was a tragedy to lose Pat the Wise to the underworld of Sangillo’s, but his illustrations, shown in these pages, survived long enough to document the journey from beyond. We pushed on, per Homer, toward the Sirens, the mythical creatures whose angelic voices pulled Odysseus and his men toward a rocky doom. On this night, I knew no greater Sirenkeeper than DJ Ponyfarm, who hosts a tantalizing karaoke night at Slainte each Tuesday. We arrived to find several already snared, listening intently as two male sirens crooned the alt-rock song “The Freshman” by the Verve Pipe. While I sipped a Hornitos and tonic (let’s say $8), Andrew the Mage demanded that Odysseus submit Coolio’s “Fantastic Voyage,” but it was too late. Wombcastle had already paired with Dana the Fearless to sing a stirring version of Steve Perry’s “Oh Sherry.” Journey having been referenced, we needed to pull away from these voices swift as we could; the lure of waiting for our turn to sing was growing stronger by the minute.

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