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The Blüfeld Riesling.

photo by Frank Carlson

The Blüfeld Riesling.

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  • After a steamy walk through the Fort, we arrive at Sunspot for a cool, refreshing riesling—because that’s the classy way to begin an eight-hour drinking binge.
  • The Blüfeld Riesling.
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  • Travis’ favorite, Bar Knoxville, is closed, so on to Half Barrel, where our gin and tonics are a bit too strong for 5:30 p.m. Carey says she’ll get more limes but returns with more straws to expedite the drinking. A generation gap is emerging.
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  • The drinks and heat are conspiring to kill my models’ manners, and they’re now openly hostile to my requests for posed shots. Morale is sinking quickly.
  • In a moment historians will debate for ages, Travis opts for a grape Four Loko—a caffeinated alcoholic drink that tastes like Welch’s soda—while Carey and I choose beer. This decision would render Travis a whiny bitch by sundown.
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  • After leading the buzzed, complaining duo through the Fort with the help of my trusty GPS, we arrive at the Hill, where Travis attempts to eat Carey’s face.
  • Once inside, we head upstairs—at my suggestion—and Travis and Carey engage in a beat battle that ends in a tie because neither has the temerity to turn on the turntables.
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  • A low sun and my liquor-happy models make a photo shoot by the Sunsphere all but mandatory.
  • In good spirits but starting to wither, the models pose outside the Orange Martini, Hilton’s hotel bar. Nobody’s very excited about this stop.
  • Inside the Orange Martini, life feels transitory, empty, bleak. Conversation is cheaper than the fried mozzarella sticks we order. Worst of all, no high-powered execs, just in town for a weekend conference, are hitting on us. What’s the deal?!
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  • It’s Wednesday, so $5 martinis at Sapphire. We’re clearly out of place, but Travis has slipped beyond the point of no return. Being a pretty amazing athlete—I used to have a membership at the Y—I’m processing the alcohol far better.
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  • At Preservation Pub, Carey’s friend Brandi “ices” us, meaning she presents us with a Smirnoff Ice that we “have to” drink. We refuse and in doing so expose a rather large flaw in the game’s incentive structure.
  • The actual moment Travis gives up. He refuses to go to Downtown Grill, as planned, because he says the beers there are too strong at this point.
  • Carey takes this refusal personally, and curses Travis when he leaves. Gin’ll do that to a person.
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  • A train arrives just in time to block our whimpered retreat home. I consider hopping it and riding as far as it’ll take me, but then decide I’d rather eat a sackful in bed and pass out.

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