It actually wasn’t the fault of the Coca Cola Company, but the heat was turned on them anyway. The problem was that Ernie’s body had a strange enzyme that turned the dark sugary beverage back into the original cocaine-laced formula—the real thing.
Ernie was a sweet guy except when he was under the influence. And he drank a lot of Coke, all the time.
When Ernie is around, it’s best to evaluate his state and then quickly decide whether to stay or flee. If he moves slow, talks slow and has a mild goofy smile on his face, you’re probably okay. That’s the nice Ernie.
But if he talks fast and loud, if he’s incomprehensible, if his eyes bug out and he’s darting like a nervous goldfish, get the hell away. While there’s time.
The Coke-fiend Ernie is dangerous. He carries a gun but prefers manual violence. He’s a small guy, not particularly strong, but with Coke coursing through his veins, he’s surprisingly strong. He’s also a dirty fighter, so if you can’t get away, at least protect your vitals.
Ernie has served time for time for beating random people up, but not much. He’s never hired a lawyer because various special interest groups have helped out. The ACLU has provided lawyers to protect Ernie from unlawful irregularities in his treatment. The NRA has protected him against gun charges. But his most fervent protector is the Coca Cola Company, looking to save their flagship product and its reputation. They provide a huge legal team and do everything possible to keep Ernie’s name—and the name “Coke”—out of the paper in connection with the incidents.
Ernie himself is confused. When he’s himself, he’s completely unaware that his Coke-fiend version exists and he’s certain that people who tell him about it are joking. And the dangerous Ernie is too crazed to listen to or understand anything.
This was getting dangerous for Coke. The ACLU and the NRA were getting wary as well. Somehow, this had to end.
The head of the Coca Cola Company’s PR department met with the good Ernie. They’d provide him with a lifetime supply of a Coca Cola—all he could drink!—if Ernie agreed to never again get it through any other source and agreed to drink only in private. Ernie also had to agree not to talk with the media, ever. He signed the agreement, ignoring the fine print.
Ernie was anxious but jubilant when the first truck delivery came to his home. Cases and cases were unloaded.
“Where’d you like them?” the driver asked.
“Gee, there’s so much!” Ernie said. “Fill the fridge and put the rest in the basement.”
When the driver left, Ernie waited an hour, then went to the fridge taking out two frosty bottles. He uncapped them and, with a bottle in each hand, took a giant swig.
Then he spit it out.
“Shit! What is this? Omigod, it’s friggin’ Coke Zero!”