First Intoxication

“Are you sure about this?” Jacob said, his mouth twisted downward with concern. Perfectly aware that his friends were watching us, I nodded and raised the shot glass to my lips. I noticed my hands were shaking. I downed the liquid in one fluid motion, and the room erupted into applause.

I licked my lips. I had been warned of the burning, but it really wasn’t that bad. Relieved, I grinned at everybody and shrugged. “No problem,” I signaled silently, “No big deal.”

“Do you feel it?” Jacob grinned, and his friends were crowding around now, watching me. And then I realized I was feeling it. I smiled broadly and whooped with joy. The others echoed my call, and hearing them I was alive for the first time.

I, who barely ever left my room, danced. I sang. I told jokes. I complained loudly. I tried to kiss somebody. I started a fight. “Calm down, man,” Jacob said, “Take it easy.” But he was snickering.

“What the hell did I drink?” I felt suddenly sick.

“Ginger ale,” he replied, and then they all laughed.

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