Jonathan Redding here. I graduated from Baruch College in 1991, with a degree in Finance. I started drinking vodka in college. A few shots of vodka alleviated my boredom. Miller and Sutton hired me after I graduated, to edit stock forecasts for their newsletter. I was always relaxed and cheerful at my tedious job, because I practiced controlled drinking.
I controlled my drinking for over 20 years. Let me describe my weekday routine:
I ate a sausage biscuit and drank a can of club soda mixed with vodka, while I solved the New York Times Crossword, on the Subway to work. One vodka martini with a roast beef sandwich for lunch. A half-pint after work, during a 12 block walk to the Blue Heron Bar for dinner. I left the bar at 8, slept from 10-1. I avoided hangovers with water and aspirins at 1. Weekends were similar. I never missed a meal, or had more than one drink at a weekday lunch.
I stayed up later on weekends, but I stopped drinking at 1 PM. I was always the designated driver for Saturday night events.
Miller and Sutton held four annual company events, with the two largest events in December. The company anniversary dinner was a three hour event on the first weekday after December eighth. A pre-New Year party replaced the Christmas / Chanukah / Ramadan / Kwanzaa event. Indoor events were convenient, and included an open bar. Indoor events started at 6 PM, in a restaurant’s party room, three blocks from the main office.
The anniversary party was the most important event. There were two Millers and two Suttons, seated with four guests at the dais. Employees needed two years at the company to receive an invitation. I expected to drink three vodka martinis and applaud 30 times. Reverend Maxwell closed anniversary parties at 9:00, with two minutes of non-denominational thanks for our health and profits.
I shook four sets of hands on my way to the crowd at the open bar. There was a line to the alcohol, but a soft ice cream machine and plastic cups, had replaced bartenders and bottles. I asked the fellow in front of me to explain the machine. He said, “Frozen margaritas. My girlfriend orders them sometimes. I suggest two. They are probably weak.”
I followed his advice. My table was still empty. I drank two frozen margaritas and handed the cups to a busboy. But I was restless. I wanted vodka. I left my suit jacket on my chair and walked six chilly blocks to a liquor store that was far enough from the party. I ordered two half pints. Frozen margaritas were useless. I wrapped one bottle in a handkerchief and stuck it in my rear pocket. The bulge could be a wallet, and my jacket would cover it. The party needed real liquor, not frozen margaritas.
I drank this half-pint quickly. My return trip warmer and happier. I ran into Jack from advertising, a block away from the party. He said, “Where’s your coat?”
“The open bar was replaced by frozen margaritas. I ran out for a real drink. Want some?”
“Come into my car before you freeze. I’m parked around the corner.”
Jack unlocked the doors and started the car to turn the heater on. He handed me a joint after I enjoyed a sip of vodka. “I haven’t smoked pot in years,” I said. “I hope it doesn’t make me tired.”
Jack said, “Don’t worry. I have something for that. Watch me.” I imitated Jack snorting two lines of cocaine, and felt energized.
“I wish we had another slug of vodka,” I said.
“Let me look in my trunk,” said Jack.
Jack returned with a gift wrapped fifth of Stolichnaya vodka. We finished the bottle, and Jack’s cocaine. I was sweating outside, but I did not feel particularly drunk.
Jack and I separated in the restaurant. I had a heartburn from the Stoli, and I started to fill a cup at the frozen margarita machine.
Arms encircled my waist from behind, and breasts pressed into my back. A soft voice whispered, “Guess who?”
I got the biggest erection of my life. There was nobody in front of me, so I put her hands in my pants, my arm around her waist, and turned to kiss her.
I never saw her before. She was 20 years younger than me, wearing a form fitting silk dress. She tried to pull my arm off. “Sorry, I made a mistake,” she said.
“It wasn’t a mistake. An angel brought you.”
That’s all I remember. I would never expose myself in public, but my genes were identified on her dress. And I would never hurt a woman, but she said I tried to strangle her, and my hand prints were identified on her neck.
I woke up with a metal plate in my head, because an employee subdued me with a flower pot.
My case and trial were big news stories. I should have accepted a 5 year plea bargain, but I refused to believe that I had committed these vile acts. I pleaded temporary insanity caused by the frozen margarita machine. Unfortunately, my blood test revealed that I was full of alcohol and cocaine. Experts testified that I was drunk, not insane.
Miller and Sutton suspended me. They paid my salary until the verdict.
My anonymous angel sued me for $500,000 after the verdict. She was awarded my savings and rent-controlled condo.
I lost my job and apartment from the frozen margarita machine. I know there was evidence, but I could not believe it. None of this would have happened, if there had been a open bar.
I was framed by frozen margaritas.