ABSTRACT: Chronic public inebriates have been the focus of several local policy debates in recent years. The Seattle City Council has experimented with "alcohol impact areas" (zones in which it's forbidden to sell high-alcohol-content products like inexpensive 40-ounce beers or fortified wine) while passing ordinances designed to keep inebriates out of public parks, off of sidewalks, and prohibited from urinating in the streets. Homeless advocates have decried these policies as affronts to the civil rights of the homeless, encouraging rather than curbing deviant or criminal behavior.

HYPOTHESIS: Test subject "Sean" is a model citizen. Subject is currently employed as a film critic for a local newspaper. His drink of choice is bourbon. Our hypothesis is that enjoying a few strong drinks after an honest week's work under the conditions created by public inebriate laws will turn a law-abiding citizen like "Sean" into a desperate street drunk.

MEANS AND METHODS: I observed "Sean" between 6:15 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.; we walked from Capitol Hill to the International District, crossed north to Belltown, and then headed east to GameWorks (downtown at Pike Street and Seventh Avenue). We stopped at grocery stores along the way, buying 40-ounce beers and cheap alcohol like Boone's Farm; we loitered in parks, in parking lots, and on the street.

After buying two 40-ounce beers at a market on Pine Street, we head over to Four Columns Park on the corner of Pike and Boren Avenue. "Sean" takes a seat on one of the park's three wooden benches and begins gulping down an Olde English "800" (a Schlitz Bull Ice is tucked in the pocket of his large blue down coat). "Sean" voices his concern about the police. It is illegal to drink in public.

A trio of homeless men carrying backpacks and wearing flannel shirts and baseball caps enter the park from Pike, and sit on a bench on the other side of the park. Before long they join us, asking for cigarettes, throwing their arms around "Sean," and hamming for the camera

(see Figure No. 10). One of the men, Ken, is filled with advice and hard-luck stories. "Not all homeless people are bad," he tells "Sean." "But it gets so bad that you are tempted to be bad. I took $20 bucks from a guy who asked me to pee in his mouth."

After subject "Sean" finishes the Olde English, subject's good pal C. joins us; we leave the homeless men behind with reciprocal wishes of "Good luck" and "Happy New Year," and head down Pike. "Sean," nicely buzzed now, is speaking in a faux Irish accent--using phrases like "What an immeasurable bollocks you are." He is working on his second 40-ouncer, the "fooking dreadful" Schlitz Bull Ice. Now, at 6:50 p.m., subject's goal is finding a place to take a "fooking piss." Crossing over to Union Street at Seventh Avenue, "Sean" ducks into a nook by a parking garage and urinates.

After cutting against the light at Sixth Avenue and Union and glaring at the driver who almost hits him, "Sean" and C. zigzag down to First Avenue and Yesler Way, singing Pogues songs.

By 7:35 p.m., "Sean" is perusing the coolers in the back of the Saveway Market on Occidental Avenue South. The brightly lit mini-mart is surprisingly busy; the shady clientele, obviously drunk, form a quiet cafeteria line to purchase their 40-ouncers. "Sean" buys a Boone's Farm Hard Lemonade.

"Sean" is polite to the clerk, although he demands to see the cover of an obscured Playboy behind the counter. As we exit, the street is crowded with pimps and hustlers.

We take cover in a parking lot across the street from Pioneer Place Park at First and Yesler. Subject "Sean" and C. call a friend on subject's cell phone and--in exaggerated Irish accents--leave a pornographic message about bending their friend over and "set[ting] [him] free."

"Sean," at the macho urging of C., finishes his hard lemonade; I have to take the bottle away from "Sean," because I sense that "Sean"--also at C.'s urging--is going to smash the bottle against the brick wall.

We make our way along First to Young's Market. "Sean" buys a tall green can of Mickey's Fine Malt Liquor for $1.49. It's 8:10 p.m. The beer explodes open along First, and a pair of private security patrol officers begin trailing us. "Sean" finishes the can of beer in an alley behind a place simply called Market Grocery & Deli. We buy a Schmidt's Ice for $1, then cut through the alley, where a guy tries to sell us a two-way radio. The alley drops us back out onto First, and "Sean" begins complaining: "Why can't I sit down? Is there no fooking civility?"

As we amble down First, "Sean" flicks cigarette butts at C. "Sean" swallows back some vomit as we pass a trio of cops.

We stop at another grocery at Blanchard Street and First, where C. knocks over a case of Zima (which smashes on the floor, forcing us to leave without a purchase). We stop at the Regrade Park Porta-Potty. We buy a 24-ounce Ice House at Dan's Belltown Grocery around the corner. "Sean" is quiet and friendly with the clerk.

At 8:25 p.m., we end up at a parking lot at Bell Street and Third Avenue, behind the Sit & Spin. "Sean" and C. begin swapping sex stories--about C.'s sister! Subject "Sean" is lying on his back in the grass at the edge of the lot. C. pretends like he's going to piss in subject's mouth. He asks "Sean" for $20. We leave the parking lot around 9:00 p.m. The pair kiss on the mouth.

It's off to Larry's Market, where I buy "Sean" a small bottle of Sutter Home red wine for $2.85. We make our way up Fifth Avenue. "Sean" is alternately hissing like a dragon, saying he can't see straight, and demanding his cell phone back from C. "Give us it," he says. "Fuck ye. I'll kill ye. I'll go on a hyounger strike."

This conversation devolves into a wrestling match between "Sean" and C. along Pine outside the Gap.

Finally, at about 9:30 p.m., we enter GameWorks so I can test subject's motor skills. Behind the wheel of the Indy 500 racing game, "Sean" gets seventh place out of seven racers, and spends most of the game driving in reverse

(see Figure No. 11). "I'll kill ye!" "Sean" hollers behind the wheel in his fake Irish accent.

CONCLUSION: Drinking like a chronic public inebriate does not turn a person into a criminal. Rather, it turns a person into a "fooking" homosexual Irish sailor.