A Twit

Jon Ferreau was jolted awake by the ringing of the telephone. He couldn’t tell if it had been ringing for ages and had only just managed to rouse him from his slumber, or if its first piercing shriek had smacked him instantly into conciousness. He stared up at the ceiling for a moment, using the contours of the ceiling and the gentle blurring of the slow-moving fan to remind him of where he was and what he was doing. But why had he fallen asleep? As if summoned as a witness, the half-empty bottle of Jack swum into the corner of his field of vision. Ah he thought. That’s why. He reached for the receiver.

“Jon Ferreau.” One blessing from his parents: his name could not be slurred.

“Jon, Nathan. What the fuck have you just done?”

Nathan sounded angry; probably because it was a Friday evening, and Nathan had been pulled away from whatever saccharine umbrella-crowned mocktail that he’d been clutching at Indigo. Friday night was Cocktail night for the marketing team at PTB Associates; usually Jon would accompany his team for a celebratory martini, but his boss had torn him a new one that afternoon about “engaging with the public” and “pulling your finger out, shithead”, and Jon thought he’d better go home and get something done to demonstrate on Monday and redeem himself.

“What? Nothing. Just staring at the insides of my eyelids.” Bugger. “Eyelids” was one word it was impossible not to slur with half a bottle of Jack down you.

“Are you drunk?”

Not for the first time, Jon wished that ringtones conveyed some sense of the mood of the conversation about to take place. The alarm-bell standard would be reserved for emergencies only. Maybe a bit of Yaron Herman when his girlfriend called. And when Nate called with his knickers in a twist about some - almost certainly - insignificant pissy problem that could probably wait until Monday, his phone should be belting out History Repeating. Jon sat up and attempted to shake his brain into a clearer form of conciousness.

“Nate, I had a couple. What’s going on?”

“Have you posted onto the PR Twitter Account for Sparktini?”

“Erm, probably. Yusuf gave me some crap today about not being engaged with-”

“Jon, did you check what you tweeted?”

“Of course I did.” He grabbed the laptop on the coffee table and switched to the browser. The Sparktini Company website. Writ large upon the page was their Mantra: “Fresh, fun and fruity takes on classic cocktails” (a mantra in which Jon thought they were, if he was honest, failing, because seriously: who would drink a Carrot Martini, except Bugs Bunny, between cartoons?). Below it was the link to enable avid alcoholics to “Follow us on Twitter!”. He clicked through, all too aware of Nate’s pending exomorphic explosion down the line. Scroll, scroll scroll.

“ ‘Tell us about things that make you feel unbelievably happy, and win prizes’. What’s wrong with that?”

“The one under-, the one just-, Jesus Jon, look what you wrote below that.”

“Erm, hang on. ‘At Sparktini, ours is simple, when we’re-’ Oh, fuck.”

“When we’re what?”

“‘When we’re punching drunks’. How did that-”

“You typed it, you stupid fuckwit. Exclamation marks, the work ‘Awesome’, everything. And then you went into some fucking drunken trance for twenty minutes, during which time the world has come crashing down on your head.”

It stared at him unblinking, taunting him. A statement that said one thing on the screen, but then to him jeered, your career is fucked, boy. Royally fucked.

Tell us about things that make you feel unbelievably happy, and win prizes!

At Sparktini, ours is simple: when we’re punching drunks! Awesome!

“Can I delete it?”

“Too late.” Nathan sounded torn between angst and schadenfreude. “Look at the comments below.”

Jon scrolled once, twice, and then gave up. This was worse than he thought. “Well, what no-”

“Yusuf is on the phone to Carol at Sparktini. He’ll be calling you in the next two minutes.”

“Shit. Nate, seriously, what should I do?”

“Find yourself a coffee. And a prayer.” Nathan rung off.

When Jon looked toward the kitchen door, in half-obedience of Nate’s suggestion, the phone rang again. And he was sure it sounded different: not a ringtone at all. More, well, Ride of the Valkyries.