by Rachel Rodman
any of the following
Pre-game: 1 bottle of vodka; 1 deck of cards.
Play solitaire, game after game. Red on black; black on red. Each time your options run out, take another shot. Then reshuffle.
Welcome your guests; retire to the patio.
Inside a chalk grid, position 10 grasshopper cocktails--extra crème de menthe--each set inside its own wide-mouthed glass, with a fancy thin stem. Then: hop.
And whenever, in your hopping, amid the squares, you jostle a glass, even in the slightest, you must/are permitted to drink the contents--down to a grisly hopskotch token, consisting of a dead grasshopper, pickled in crème de menthe.
See who can collect the most.
As the light fails, retire to the basement rec room. And play Candyland with Peppermint Schnapps.
And Chutes and Ladders. With moonshine.
And Monopoly. With Manhattans.
Each time that a player--any player--passes “Go,” take another long sip, then add more whiskey, to top it up. Build a house? More whiskey. Build a hotel? More whiskey.
Battleship. In order to get into the nautical theme--and to honor Winston Churchill--growl contemptuously: “Naval tradition? That’s nothing but rum, sodomy, and the lash!”
During the game, there will be no actual sodomy and no actual lash.
But there will be rum.
Lots and lots and lots of rum.
Drink rum whenever you sink a battleship. Drink rum whenever your battleship is sunk. Drink rum, to congratulate yourself, when you hazard a good guess. Drink rum, to console yourself, when you make a poor one.
And, at the least sign of tedium, kickstart the cheer, once again, with another round of rum.
Later, when you are quite sick of rum, and of the sailor’s life, and the phrase “sodomy and the lash” begins to seem rather more tired than amusing, switch to gin. And, alongside, play several hands of Gin Rummy.
Parcheesi, Parqueasy. With Pear Bellinis.
Ring Around the Rosy, with wine--Rosy red, Rosy red wine--and while falling down, rather frequently.
Play 1-2 games of Hearts, while remaining focused--as focused as you can--on the Queen of Spades.
Between tricks, sip Budweisers: the King of Beers. Wonder aloud, “Is there no Queen of Beers?” Ask this impassionedly--and secretly, on top, of that, you think, fairly wittily, too: I mean, right?--but, by this point, for some reason, no one is paying any attention to you.
Soak cards--the entire deck--in the contents of your stomach. So that every card, spread across the table, is equally repellent; every card is the Queen of Spades; every card constitutes a massive trick that no one wants; and the other players, pushing back their chairs, with expressions of alarm (And they’re paying attention now, aren’t they?), leave them all to you.
Gurgle: “I shot the moon!” though, even in the midst of this triumph--truth be told--you still feel pretty awful.
1 game of Yahtzee. Play--or watch the others play, if that’s easier--with sips of Jägermeister, intermittent, between the rolls. And, as the dice spin, watch them, clacking and whirling: the numbers, still, remaining strangely indistinct, even as the faces skitter to a stop.
And you, breathing slow, are like that also: the blur and the tumble and the fog simultaneous, somehow, with the act, technically, of not-moving-very-much, and then, you, too, are still--quite still.
About the author
Rachel's work has appeared at Fireside Fiction, Grievous Angel, The Future Fire, Expanded Horizons, and elsewhere.