Wolf and I sat across from each other on the floor of My Nest. We had a bottle of Jack Daniels, two shot glasses, and a clock.
“Alcohol Perception,” Wolf said, “also known as Traveler Lubricant, is the Preferred Perception for many Realities. In the modern MeNotzie-infested World, fear of Domination has clogged up the machinery of the average Reality’s mind, and the gears, chains, and pistons responsible for MeToo necessary mechanisms like conversation, dancing, and sex are slow and squeaky. Alcohol Perception is like squirts of badly needed oil, which loosen up the machine and allow the Travels to run smoothly.
“Sounds like the perfect Perception, when you put it that way,” I said.
“It can seem that way, but let me remind you that every Perception has a DarkSide. Too much Lubricant and the machine starts to run too loose. Your speech will become slurred and its content unpredictable and possibly offensive. Your body will move sloppily, making it difficult not only to dance, but simply to walk forward. You may not be able to help laying down and losing consciousness. You may even start to uncontrollably vomit. And the next day you will be nauseas, fatigued, and depressed.”
“Yeah, how do you stop that from happening?”
“You must Adventure with the Perception in the right way. Which brings me to the Perceptionist Apparatus I’ve set up tonight. To ensure proper intention, moderation, and equal magnitude of Perception we are going to follow an ancient Chinese Perceptionist Tradition roughly translated into English as ‘The Power Twenty.’
“First we must both drink the same form of Alcohol, which will be this Jack Daniels you’ve chosen. Then we must drink at the same pace, and with this clock as a timer we will consume the whiskey at precisely one minute intervals for twenty total minutes. We must also drink the same amount, and we will pour each shot to one quarter full, which I have pre-marked in ink on the shot glasses, with mine slightly higher to account for our difference in bodyweight. Finally and most importantly, we must have the same intentions, so before each drink we will alternate making MeToo inspiring toasts, followed by an exclamation of “GAM-BAY!” which is Chinese for “Bottom’s Up!
“Are you ready?”
Then Wolf poured the first shot while I monitored the clock. When the second hand hit twelve we raised our glasses.
“To Traveler Lubricant,” Wolf said, “because it helps me MeToo.”
Then we clinked our glasses together, shouted “GAM-BAY!” and drank. The liquid burned against my mouth and made me cough and shiver. Then I felt a warmth slide down my throat to my stomach. By the next time the clock hit twelve I could already feel a tingle in the machinery of my mind. We poured, raised again, and it was my turn to toast.
“To not feeling completely, horribly alone when you drink,” I said. “I really hate that.”
“MeToo!” Wolf said.
We clinked glasses, shouted “GAM-BAY!” and drank again. And we did it just like that eighteen more times.