up the creek —(sl.) facing problems; in trouble (also: up the creek without a paddle):
- If that person is on vacation or otherwise not reachable, I am up-the-creek.
up the river—(U.S. Underworld) in prison:
- Gary was up the river for a couple of years, but that doesn’t make him a criminal, does it?
Note: The expression is not antonymous in meaning to the phrase down the river—(sl.) in the past; over and done with:
- True enough, I used to hustle a little beer in the old days—but that’s all down the river.