Cara Dempsey

First things first, take a sip and take a seat around the stump. Cheers. Now, this is your cup and this is your hammer. See the nails sticking out of the stump? Your nail is the one closest to where you’re sitting, and mine is the one closest to me. Each player has a nail, a hammer, and a cup. You cannot set your cup down for the rest of the game. If you do, you will be considered a filthy fucking cheater, stripped of all your clothes, left in the woods and never invited to hang out again, like, ever. That is the first rule. If you can’t even follow the first rule, we don’t want to play with you.

This is the next rule. When it’s your turn, you have to toss your hammer in the air above your head like so. See what I did? Make sure it rotates a full three hundred sixty degrees before you catch it. When you catch your hammer, like this, you have to slam it down immediately onto someone else’s nail without hesitating. You look confused. Why are you confused? Sometimes you will catch the hammer by the handle and sometimes you will catch it by the head. Sometimes a finger bleeds. No matter what happens, you cannot hesitate and you have to bring the hammer down. You have to try and hit the nail.

If someone hits your nail, you drink. If you drop your hammer, we will call you a spazz, and you have to drink. If your nail gets smashed all the way into the stump so far that it looks like it’s drowning, you finish your drink. If you’re so drunk that you hit your own nail, we lock you in Kevin’s trunk for half an hour. What if you finish your drink before the game ends? Well, go get another one. Do I have to tell you everything? If you see any metal spark, yell SPARKS, and we will all drink. If you’re nervous about the game, have a drink. If your crush kisses their crush during the game and you start to feel worthless and unlovable, drink. If you’re worried about us liking you, remember that worrying only makes you seem more annoying.


Cara Dempsey is a student at College University, where she intends to double major in English literature and sounding smart. Her fiction has been featured in Cease, Cows and Literary Orphans.