Yes, I've been shorting stocks for 13 years and have made thousands of transactions on the short side. I also used to naked short back when it was legal.
Live it? I have breathed it. I know EXACTLY how it works. You get the money up front. Where did you think the money comes from? The short sellers' fairy godmother? If a stock goes from $23 to $1, the cover at $1 is peanuts. The profit comes from the initial $23 shorted at as you get that cash IMMEDIATELY and INSTANTLY.