I have to tell you something. As of this writing, I’ve singlehandedly gone through nearly a full handle of vodka in the last couple of days. The time kind of runs together. I’ve never done anything like this before. But it feels so right, the way I can hold the bottle just so before I tilt it up. The way the lid doesn’t like to stay screwed on. The fumes.

You know, they say vodka doesn’t smell like anything, but that’s not true. It’s similar to isopropyl rubbing alcohol. If I open the bottle in a stuffy room, the place takes on a faintly medicinal odor, as if what I was doing belonged in a hospital, like I might turn to the doctor next to me and ask if Nurse Green had given him a scalpel and could I borrow it for awhile.

My mind wanders.

At one point, I sloshed some all over my feet because of that stupid lid that kept opening itself. Two or three ounces wasted. I wanted to cry. Then I realized it was four o’clock in the afternoon, and I hadn’t eaten anything but a banana all day. Scott came in, and I said, “Get me a sandwich and the cheapest bottle of vodka the ABC store will sell you.” He wouldn’t meet my eyes. But he bought it. God love him, he bought it.

“Certified rotgut,” he muttered as he went out the door to protect the children, who wouldn’t come inside.

I just turned the new lid and smiled.

Hello, my name is Jessie Bishop Powell, and I …

Have been cleaning costumes.



When something is sweaty, but you don’t have time to wash it, or when it’s so delicate that you can’t launder or dryclean it, you apply liberal amounts of costume spray. Costume spray is one part vodka to two parts water.  And if that doesn’t kill the odor, you can upgrade to straight vodka, also applied with a spray bottle. It would, I presume be easy to get a contact high.  But quite hard to snort it. And it is strong enough to kill the germs, but it oxidizes long before it gets put back onto a dancing body.

And you go through a LOT of that shit on tutus. Ballerinas and danseurs look all graceful on the stage, but they sweat like other athletes. And make no mistake, what they’re doing is intensely athletic. All that grace comes at the price of extraordinary physical strain.

When Candace asked if I would be willing to spray the costumes, then said she had to get me the vodka, I assumed she was making a joke about the tedium of the job. When she walked back in with a nearly empty bottle, I knew I had a blog post.


Oh – and those spray bottle lids DO unscrew themselves when you keep picking them up and putting them down again.

About jesterqueen:
Jessie Powell is the Jester Queen. She likes to tell you about her dog, her kids, her fiction, and her blog, but not necessarily in that order.


Confession — 22 Comments

  1. Those costumes will be spectacular drunks when it’s all said and done. I didn’t picture you as Mickey Mouse person. You learn something new every day.
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  2. First, applause for the twist. It was expertly done because:
    Second, my comment would have been very different otherwise. *stares at the empty vodka bottles piled around the trash can*
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  3. This post was completely awesome. What a great reversal. I figured YOU weren’t drinking the vodka but I totally didn’t know what was going on at first. I thought maybe one of your fiction pieces? You got me good girl, and no, I didn’t know that costume spray had vodka in it so I learned something new too!
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  4. You scared the shit out of me, you know. I was thinking: ‘Yes the holidays can be tough. But damn, girl, don’t do this.’ And, “Why am I so far away?!

    When you said Scott bought more vodka for you, I knew something was up and managed to calm down — a little. You’re goooood.
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  5. I’ll have to try that when I go back to derby… I wonder if it’ll work with a bit of clamato juice or better yet some cranberry juice? That’s how I like my vodka, ehr gear cleaner and sanitizer. Ha! Thanks for the tip though, I’m sure it’ll come in handy (our gear smells nasty but ain’t pretty like a tutu)
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  6. Wow! Don’t get pulled over by the cops wearing one of those costumes. I heard not to long ago that Vodka was good for disinfecting stinky feet.
    Back when I used to drink I was fond of Tequila…perhaps too fond… 😉

    Great post. I enjoyed it. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Glad to have found you!
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