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Aslan Sutu

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Bogazici, Turkey
February, 1925

Turkey is hot and crowded and if one more person asks her about Lake Tuzla and the flamingos, she's going to scream. There are only two reasons she hasn't killed Abner yet - first, because she'd begged him to come along on the Bargylia excavation in the first place, and second, because Jones would be angry.

Indiana Jones.

She's always loved his adopted name. Oh, she knows his name is Henry - Abner won't call him anything else - but there's something special about "Indiana". Something mysterious and daring and fun that invites you to break any and all rules you can find, which Marion is all too willing to do.

She and Indy sneak out of the dig and go boating along the Bosporus. He takes her to one of the gambling dens in Cengelkoy, an old mansion built by the Ottomans, and they hustle some sailors at poker. The sailors are pretty livid, and there are words exchanged and weapons brandished. To distract them, she bets some businessman at the next table 30 lira that she can drink more raki than he can.

Well, it's not her own money she's betting, and if she loses, no one's worse off. If she wins, they're 30 lira richer and the sailors forget about how they've been ripped off. Indy isn't pleased - he protests that Abner will kill him, getting his 16-year-old daughter drunk.

Marion rolls her eyes. Jones is willing to charm her, teach her all kinds of ways to cheat people out of money, and bed her fairly regularly, but intoxication of a minor is where he draws the line?

She ignores him and sits down next to the businessman, watching him prepare the raki. While the process of mixing the raki - which smells and tastes like licorice - with chilled water amuses her, it also doesn't dilute the raki at all. It goes down cold and vicious, her throat burning like it's been scratched open.

No wonder they call raki aslan sutu. Lion's milk.

Three glasses and she's feeling it, Indy reminding her to wait, watch the businessman to see if he'll take the next shot. The man stops, sweat beginning to bead on his temples, and Indy leans forward to whisper in her ear:

"Call him an araki. It'll mess with his head."

She smiles at the businessman. "My friend and I think you are an araki," she says in Turkish. "Is that true?"

"Your Turkish is shit," the man growls, which lets her know she's been successful in throwing him off his game. "Who taught you?"

"We picked it up here and there," Indy says, pouring the next round for them. He's careful to be slow about it, pour exactly the same amounts of raki and water for both Marion and the businessman, so that he won't be accused of helping her cheat.

Two more rounds and Marion's the one starting to sweat now. Her breath is coming shorter and quicker - she's been drunk before, but not like this. And she weighs a good deal less than her competitor. But she doesn't let him see her nerves; that's what Indy's taught her. If they see that they're getting to you, they win.

When the man takes half a shot, then stops, Marion holds her breath.

He pushes the glass away, conceding defeat: "Sen kazanarsın."

Over the years, throughout many more drinking contests, she'll always remember how it felt to win this first time. She'll remember the fuzzy feeling of her lips, the way she only realized the back of her shirt was clammy when she got up, the low rumble of Indy's laugh as he slid an arm around her waist and escorted her back to the dig.

One thing that never changes is the grin she feels stretching her features.

"I win."

Indy laughs, and kisses her slow and lush, licking the anise taste from her mouth.

"You usually do, sweetheart."