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I’m not intending to do anything unsavory. I’m just going to poke my head in to see the barrels. I’ve got time to kill before the tasting. The rest of the group is still in the gift shop. I’m walking back from dropping some goods off at the car and I see the door to one of the barrel aging warehouses is open. I saw some people mosey in there earlier. We didn’t make it in time to catch the last tour of the day. But it looks like I’ve happened upon them now. They’re a ways down the center aisle, toward the opposite end of the warehouse with their backs turned to me. I can hear the muffled tones of the tour guide.

She’s saying something about something.

I’ve been touring whiskey distilleries for two days now. I’ve been in many warehouses, each filled with thousands of barrels of maturing bourbon. Rows and rows and rows. I’ve stared down these dark, musty rows, wondering what it would be like to walk among them. But we’re not allowed to. Because we don’t work here. About 3 seconds has passed since I’ve entered the warehouse. Long enough to notice that I haven’t been noticed. So I turn sideways, dip between two rows, and begin shuffling sideways down the thin wood planks that run the length of the aisle. I can’t believe I’m doing this. I don’t do stuff like this, usually.

It’s dusty. And tight. And awesome.

I make it all the way to the other side where I’m spit out into another main aisle. I’m on the far right of the warehouse now. Nobody else is there. The stone wall is lined with windows. This naturally diffused light looks good on the barrels. I mill around for a luxurious 30 seconds or so and decide I better scoot back and out before I’m noticed. I shuffle back down the planks through the tight, dusty channel, preparing to step out into the main aisle. Until I hear voices. Looks like the tour is heading out and they’re coming my way. I whip around and shift from shuffle to scurry, racing back down the planks to my hiding spot. These planks are hopping under my feet. I’m sure someone is going to hear me or see me, they’re that close.

If they do, they don’t say anything.

I make it to the safety of the naturally diffused light and hide behind the end of the row. I can hear my heart as I peek my head out, peering down the aisle to watch as they pass one by one toward the exit. Then silence. I wait another few beats and begin back down the planks. It seems darker now. Oh, that’s because the door to the warehouse has been closed. I sure hope it opens or I’m going to be late for the tasting. I hate to make Meredith worry.

Phew. I’m back outside.

And being watched by some guy standing in what looks like a security guard booth about 40 yards across the walkway. I close the door behind me like this is a completely normal thing for me to do and proceed directly back to the gift shop.

A little more about Erik Eustice...