The New Year’s Eve Twilight Zone Marathon
Come December 31st, nearly everyone in the world will be preparing for New Year’s Eve festivities. For most this means parties, drinking, dancing, and generally getting down with your bad selves. I’ve been there, and I enjoy the hell out of it. But more and more, as the years wore on, my tradition changed.
Now it’s all about The Twilight Zone Marathon.
That probably sounds depressing. Maybe you even feel a little sad for me, watching television all day when I should be out celebrating. “No, no,” I tell the skeptics. “I am celebrating. I’m celebrating with friends and family, with booze and beer, with food and fireworks.” I just wrap it all with The Twilight Zone, like a hallucinatory pig in the blanket.
My New Year’s Eve starts like this: The alarm clock wakes me at 7:59AM, and I roll over just long enough to turn the television to the Syfy network. I usually catch it just in time for the first, “You unlock this door with the key of imagination…” of the day. Chills run through my body. The theme music plucks its way to finality. The marathon has begun! And yeah, I usually fall right back asleep at this point, but the fevered curses of a psychotic, gnawing beast feed my dreams until I wake, sweating and panting, thirty minutes later.
From here, I shower the panic from my body and prepare for the day. Next, coffee. Black. Fuck cream and sugar. Rod Serling wouldn’t use cream and sugar (and if he did, you best not tell me).
With the acidic liquid of hell coating my stomach, I set up the first of many food trays. It always starts with cheese and crackers. Maybe another cup of coffee. Yes, that would do nicely. With this assembled, it’s back to the marathon. I pound back two, maybe three episodes full of twists and melancholia and dread. I can’t stop smiling.
It proceeds like this for a while, until guests begin to arrive. I laugh. They have no idea.
Out come more nibbles: potato skins, antipasto, Brie En Croute. We laugh and talk and eat. Then I lead my flock to the television.
One might say, “Twilight Zone…really?”
Another may say, “I used to love this show.”
Me? I say, “Let’s play the Twilight Zone drinking game.”
Most of the drinking games you find online have way too many rules to actually remember (especially once you start drinking), but some favorites include the following:
- Drink every time Rod Serling appears
- Drink if a fictional government is involved
- Drink every time someone on the show drinks
- Drink every time someone lights a cigarette, pipe, or cigar
- Whenever there is a “twist” someone should yell “what a twist” and those who didn’t have to chug or take a shot.
- Whenever Shatner does a “face” someone should yell “Shatner Face!” and whoever doesn’t must chug or do a shot.
- Drink whenever there are aliens or monsters or evil children…you get the idea
For the sake of everyone involved, the word “drink” above is synonymous with “sip,” otherwise no one would make it to midnight.
Sometime around midnight, fireworks make an appearance. Find anyone who was not playing The Twilight Zone drinking game to light them, unless you want your celebration to become its own Twilight Zone episode.
For many people, this would be enough. It was integrated into the party, everyone had a good time, the ball dropped and it’s a new year! A kiss here, and handshake there, some vomit in the corner, the party rockets into full swing. Champagne all around!
Only, I’m not done.
Later that night (really, early that morning) I retreat to bed, where I watch more of the marathon until I pass out, knowing that I still have a full day of The Twilight Zone to enjoy–assuming I don’t wake to an apocalyptic landscape or an alien planet.
Happy New Year!
Find the full marathon schedule on Syfy’s website.
Anthony J. Rapino is a horror writer with published work online, in print, and carved inside a variety of autumn gourds. His audio book Reality Engineers is available now. Enter the BOX OF DREAD Giveaway.