drinking game

(image courtesy Anthony Shea)

(image courtesy Anthony Shea)

how to play: drink a shot every time you hear a number.

1. maybe your childhood was what they call normal or maybe not but either way

2. you turned out fine, at least you looked as fine as most young people do. clear, bright, and stumbling over your own feet like a beautiful clown. you wrapped your sapling limbs around your waist and when you smiled, you savored the taste of your own sweet teeth

3. maybe your father sat like a blind buddha in the corner, filling the room with the sound of one hand clapping. maybe your mother’s anger spat and spun like a firecracker and your sisters and brothers were too busy hugging themselves to notice

4. but that was normal maybe that was all fine and your friends love you, especially after they’ve had a few. fall down in the sand and laugh at the stars. throw your head back like a baby bird and swallow, swallow

5. a manly hand flaunting cufflinks, pouring whisky into a glass of diamonds. a thrumming line of luxury sedans rev at the starting line. leather smells like money smells like cocaine and somewhere there’s a pile with your name on it. change the channel to see what you have to look forward to. girls in bikinis stand on either side, waving flags

6. and you graduate from high school. college isn’t good enough or maybe you don’t apply but there’s plenty of time for all that and your future smells like money and jingles like a pocketful and you twine your arms around each other and gulp every sweet and beery word: forever is now

7. and here’s to the future, here’s to forever young. here’s to friends and staying up all night pointing fingers and chanting empty plans, drunk dialing 1-800 with your credit card in hand, punching the air with livid fury but you can’t remember why. here’s to sleeping on sofas. wipe your puffy face with a sleeve and take another swig to wash down the bile

8. because maybe your friends get tired and start to wander off to find jobs and start families but there’s plenty of time for that. maybe after you finish this bottle you’ll begin

9. to finish that bottle. maybe the more you drink, the emptier you are. maybe the heaviest sound is an empty clanking to the floor

10. 1 2 drink 4 1 or 4ever? ten for sixer. eightish to fivish. but how did you get here? maybe you were too good, too sure, too angry, too gullible. how many steps does it take to get serious? this game can’t go anywhere you don’t. it took ten to stumble here and would take ten more to get out but nothing’s that easy. no hands, no arms, no home, nothing. how many steps between now and then, home and homeless, you and yourself. maybe you could cut steps 1, 2, and 3 or skip 6 and 7 and still get nothing. maybe it will take just 1 one more

11. just 1 more

12. just 1 more for the answer

About Anna Fonté

Girl in the Hat, aka Anna Fonté, is an author who writes about invisibility, outsider status, everyday monsters, and her attempts to befriend the neighborhood crows. The things she writes want you to look at them.


  1. Oh my. Quel hommage and quel dommage. You nailed it. I feel you. xo.

  2. Perhaps, more steps than one cares to take.

  3. You are amazing! Step #3 just blew me right out of my chair and the cat yelped when she hit the floor.

  4. Todd

    1. 1/15/98 Lynn moves in on a 1-year lease with her 2 small girls.
    2. 2/15/98 Todd meets Lynn in laundry room.
    3. 2/16/98 Lynn calls Todd to help, opens door, stumbles.
    4. 2/17/98 Lynn and Todd start mad love affair.
    5. 3/15/98 Lynn drinks a bottle of red every night.
    6. 4/15/98 Lynn’s friends start calling Todd at 1am to help get her in the car.
    7. 12/15/98 Todd knows he can fix it, loves little girls too, proposes to Lynn.
    9. 1/15/99 Lynn’s moves back in with husband, starts 10-step program.
    10. 1/16/99 Todd begins 10 year walk through the desert…

    It was a long time ago but I can still feel all the highs and lows of that year and the desolation that followed. I blamed booze for a long time, I blamed AA, I blamed her, but none of that’s fair. Now she’s at the top of her career, running a 5-star hotel and the girls are in college. I had to go for them to succeed and that’s ok. You have to do whatever it takes to survive, you have to do it.

    • I think booze is just a means to an end. Or a symptom. I don’t know. Are you still in touch with her, Todd?

      • Todd

        Nope, just sometimes in dreams. Funny how you can love someone so much, then someone else so differently. That was a headlong, tortured love, a blind run across a high wire. The one now is calm, simple and easy. Anna, your writing is so good. You can create worlds with just a phrase… blind buddha in the corner. But I can’t really tell if that was about you. If it is then I think that you can’t write your way out of that problem with nice words. You’ve got to put on your boots, pick up your rifle and go to war with that fucker.

  5. Was looking for an actual drinking game, ended up completely rethinking life. Very colorful, deep.

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