“Let’s do it, y’all! Five up and five down!”
Ten shots, that was the game. Start with something sweet and easy, like a lemon drop, and progressively up the stakes until you were at the “top” of the mountain: straight Jameson. Then you would tumble down the mountain until you ended with another bit of sweetness on your tongue.
5 up, 5 down, was a great way to have a “great” night.
How much alcohol was ingested in that minute and a half? How much sound was expelled from the throats of your friends as they shouted encouragement and cheered you through this stupid display of primitive dominance? How many brain cells were killed during this performance? How many dollars were spent for tickets to board a broken-down train?
5 up. 5 down.
Stumbling off after a round to give a presentation in class. Sliding off the stool and shaking your head in effort to refocus your eyes. Placing a hand on the bar nonchalantly to ensure that no one saw how close you were to falling over. Scrawling your name at the bottom of the bill and leaving tips in even 10s so you didn’t need to do much math.
5 up. 5 down…all the way down.
When you have everything to prove, you have nothing you can win, because the game never stops. There is always another turn you must go, always nothing treasure you must find, always another level that you must play. You keep going because the only point is to keep going, because if you stop then you have to face the consequences of how much time, effort, money, and life you have spent on a thankless, childish game.
“I’m done. I’m good.”