From the December 1992 magazine.

A Body Blow to Denial

It was my usual routine when I was away from on business: finish work and park myself at a restaurant with a friendly bar. I'd start with a series of double martinis, order dinner, go back to the bar for some after-dinner Scotch, then return to my motel for a decent night's sleep. I'd be off on my rounds the next morning and repeat the restaurant-bar scene that night. My company covered travel expenses, and what portion of my liquor bill couldn't be hidden under the food and lodging budget could become part of something else. I did well for the company on the road. I kept my expenses within reason so no one looked too closely at them.

It was a warm summer evening, but the air conditioning made the bar comfortable. A national political convention was playing on television. Dinner was over and I sat at the bar, sipping scotch. A stranger--I think he said his name was Tom, when we finally got round to introductions--sat on the stool next to me. We struck up a conversation, starting with politics but moving haphazardly through the topics of man-talk. The eleven o'clock news came on, and I got ready to leave. Tom and I said goodbye to one another. I noticed he had a strange look on his face.

-- Jamie C.

W. Henrietta, New York

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