Shots at the Bodega The guy behind the bodega has his mask down. He’s pouring aguardiente into disposable shot glasses for himself, his colleague and a someone who is either his girlfriend or another colleague. It’s a Saturday night in Medellin. These guys are partying right on the job. Salsa music on the JBL. Fans, but no AC. Chatting there among plastic tubs of dulce de leche treats, pressed guava sugar candy, and plastic wrapped pan queso. The bodega is so narrow you practically walk sideways between soup cans on one shelf and auto fluids on the other back to the back fridge. Grab three bottles of water and carry them up to the register. It’s a good job if you can drink aguardiente, I say. They laugh. Maybe at my bad Spanish, maybe at the remark. Maybe at their own cramped Saturday night public work party here on this sleepy street. Out comes a fourth plastic shot glass. They pour one sloshing right to the rim. It’s for me. I drain it. Licorice flavor and alcohol that makes the throat convulse. Feel that energy kick. They laugh, and the guy behind the register plucks out a Chesterfield for the road. Well, when traveling, you accept hospitality. So I take it, accept a light, and exit. Cold water bottles dripping condensation all over my arm. Cool night. Hot cheeks from the liquor. Glad they’re having a good time in there.