“Come on, Jason, what should we drink to?” he prompted.
“I’m only seventeen,” I said.
He smiled broadly. “So?”
“I can’t drink,” I told him.
He actually doubled over laughing. It started out as one of those sudden, obnoxious guffaws. He had to set his glass down on the desk so that he could bend over and hold his stomach while he finished laughing. Once he’d regained his composure, he shook his head. “The drinking age is twenty-one in the United States of America,” he said. “This is Hell, brother. The only rules here are my rules. Forget the toast. Drink.”
There went my plan to politely decline to drink his poison. I swallowed nervously and slowly brought the glass up to my lips.
He laughed at me again, but this was more of a friendly laugh. “It’s not poisoned,” he told me. “And even if it was, it wouldn’t matter. You’re already dead, man. No worries!” And he quickly drained his glass in one long gulp. He looked me in the eye. “Drink.”