Jason had one arm wrapped around the toilet and the other wrapped around the dog. He was crying, vomiting and lamenting about his step sister losing the clothes from his Evel Knievel doll. “Honey, Je’re stole my Evel Knievel clothes and now he’s naked,” Jason sobbed. Honey, our old grey Scottish terrier, looked deep into his eyes as if she understood and agreed that it was a disaster indeed, but instead of nodding she just licked the vomit from Jason’s chin.
I had begged Dad to let me take a Tequila shot with him and Mel that night. They had been partying all evening and I felt it only fair. I was old enough, I argued, I’d had drinks at Mom’s before. “She let me,” I lied. I’m not sure why an argument from a third grader would hold any weight, but somehow I had convinced him and he poured me a shot.
The details were elaborate, I recall. Hold the shot in one hand, lick the other and pour salt onto the wet saliva on your skin. Now lick the salt from your hand, pour the Tequila shot into your mouth– try getting it into the back of your throat and swallow. Finally, bite into a hearty lime wedge before taking a breath. I think ‘not taking a breath’ was key and I remembered it soundly throughout my college years. The liquid burned my throat and hit my stomach like a ball of flames.
There was no way I was going to let Dad and Mel think I couldn’t handle the heat so I shook it off with a deep sigh and a short, quiet moment with my eyes closed. Mel laughed but Dad was unsatisfied with my anticlimactic reaction so he immediately poured another round. I’m sure he wanted to hear me yelp or see me dance around in pain, but I knew that might abruptly put an end to the party, so I tried desperately to keep my cool. This was when Jason joined in and asked for a shot. “It’s not fair, Kelli got one.” Made complete sense to me. It must have rung true to Dad as he chuckled and poured Jason a shot as well. Perhaps Jason, my 5-year-old brother, would provide the adults with the drama they sought. It must have been the warmth of the Tequila that numbed the adults’ senses and allowed them to consider that Tequila shots for me and Jason was an okay idea.
About 4 shots and an hour later, I was having a hard time walking and Jason was wrapped around the toilet. Honey and I stood by for support. The story makes me sad and angry. Aw… my omnipresent anger.