Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Littlest Martini: A Six O'clock Fable

Once upon a time there was a little Martini who always wanted to be a Mai Tai.
“I’m too short,” he cried to his parents one day. “Mai Tais are tall and elegant. I’m a squirt!”
“You’re young,” his daddy said. “Some day you’ll grow from a single to a double. Just give it time.”
“Mai Tai is young too,” the little Martini said, “and he’s already tall.”
“It’s just his mix,” his mommy said. “Some drinks are just naturally taller. But that doesn’t mean you’re any less important. Be proud of what you are.”
“You’re a Martini!” the daddy said proudly “We have a honorable history! Franklin D. Roosevelt favored us and so did Winston Churchill, two great leaders of the free world! We helped win the war! You have nothing to be ashamed of, Little Martini.”
“Remember Shot?” mommy said. “He certainly wasn’t tall! And now he’s a Double Shot and the star of some very sophisticated cocktail lounges. And you’ve got a lot more growing to do.”
Little Martini wasn’t satisfied. “Even when I grow up I won’t be tall,” he said. He turned to his daddy: “You’re not tall and mom isn’t tall! You don’t even look alike. How, come you don’t look alike?”
The parents glanced at one another. Their little Martini had reached the age when he was asking questions. They knew it would happen. It was time to tell him.
“Son,” the mommy Martini began hesitantly…
“Let me tell him,” daddy. “Son, your mother and I fell in love when we first met at a disco club in L.A. We knew our love was wrong, but the attraction was so strong that we…well…ignored the differences between us.”
His voice was beginning to choke, and he didn’t want to break down before his son so he gestured to his wife to take over.
She took a deep breath and said, “You’re the result of a mixed marriage.”
The husband spoke: “I’m gin and you mother is vodka. I’m straight up with a pimento olive, she’s on the rocks with a lemon twist.”
Little Martini stared at them open-mouthed. “Does that mean I’m going to die? My mixture is wrong?”
“No, of course not,” daddy said. “It only means you’re…well…different.”
“There’s nothing wrong with being different,” mommy said. “But others may not accept you. Half gin and half vodka just don’t mix.”
“Why did you do this?” little Martini demanded in tears. He turned to his father. “Why didn’t you just marry that tonicy woman you’re always talking about! She was our kind! Then I could be just straight gin!”
“It was your mother I loved, son. I never thought I’d feel that way about vodka, but I did. And I hear that there are more mixed marriages being performed across the country. Someday, no one will notice the difference between gin and vodka. We’ll be equals in the Barnes & Noble Book of Cocktails.”
Little Martini gave up trying to be a Mai Tai. Rum just wasn’t in his blood. But the realization that he was different altered the course of his life. During his wild teenage years he turned into the worst kind of screwdriver. He was picked up twice for harassing martinis that favored onions and called themselves Gibsons. He served jail time for beating up a Cuba Libre.
His life was a mess. Both parents tried to get him into a psychomixologist but he refused, preferring instead a dissolute path toward self-destruction, loving and leaving a series of tawdry mixes and garnishes, never happy with anyone, spurning those who cared about him. Then one evening while working as a well drink in a Montana cowboy bar he spotted a Beer shooting pool. He was a tall, cool lager. It was love at first sight.
It was the kind of love that must not be spoken, but clearly it was deep and abiding. They moved in together in a duplex just outside of Butte and Little Martini openly declared himself a Cosmopolitan. His parents accepted his decision, glad that he was finally settling down, and loved it when the two adopted three babies also of mixed gin and vodka marriages that they called Betwinis, and they all lived happily ever after.


Denise L said...


Anonymous said...

I am in awe of you and your wonderful craft of telling "life". This little story is so full of wonderful meaning and images that put out the what is so hard for many to understand...diversity is beautiful! Loved it.
Gaby Goddard

Susan said...

If we could all just realize that we are ALL 'Betwinis', the world would be a much happier and peaceful place!
Cheers and Salute' to you, dear Al!
Best of luck with the new blog!

Kristene said...

Awww, Al. You know I'm a gin gal, cuz vodka leaves me cold, but Wally served me a Betwini one night (snickering all the while, since I couldn't tell the difference) and I must say...I'm still a gin gal.

But I have no objections to others who prefer vodka...or betwinis, for that matter. Not everyone can have good taste, after all.

- K.

Pat Garrett said...

Al, I am definitly along for the ride. As our family is a rainbow coalition, I especially liked your fable. I look forward to all your blogging. Thanks for the e-mail alert.

marilyn said...

Thank you Al! That explains everything. Now I know why I have to work so hard at my marriage!

Once a week, on Monday just wasn't cutting my "Al fix". Your blog will fill in those other times when you aren't in print. Your faithful fan base is very happy with this news. Who needs the LA Times, anyway?

don quixote said...

Great to see you here Al!

Down with mind control and the funneling of a talent such as yours into politically correct pablum for the masses.
I can hardly wait for you to get revved up!

Hey Al as an LA born Mexican American I am becoming pissed off at what many blogs and people are trying to pass off as the truth, with insinuations of political shenanigan's by Mexican Americans, who are being accused of renting bus's and filling them with "illegal aliens", who are then taken to vote illegally for other "Mexicans".
I have lived in LA all my life and I know it's hard enough to get native born Mexican Americans to vote let alone Mexican Immigrants.
I have never witnessed this baloney.
In response to a certain blogs continuous posting up of this alleged election fraud I responded with my own fictitious accusation (tongue in cheek of course)

Hey news flash from the LA Herald Express! There is an insidious Republican conspiracy to send dozens of bus's to old folks home's to gather up the old senile white people and hypnotize them to vote Republican, that or there Liberace music will be replaced by Tom Jones live from Las Vegas.
And thousands of absentee ballots will be taken along and filled out by ghosts during one of the bus's stop at Forest Lawn Cemetery.
It's a giant conspiracy ! Really!

Wini said...

At last I know the reason for all those signature "betwini" drinks ($12-$19) that are served and inhaled at the many concierge events I attend. Now I can pay those inflated prices with the sense that I am actually promoting tolerance in the world. Bravo, Al!

Ruthanne said...

And I thought he'd settle down with a Tequila Sunrise!

Aquilter said...

I love it!! Thanks for being the ONLY blogger worth reading!

Ed Padgett said...

Welcome to the Blogosphere Al, we are so happy to see you here.

Hope we can send many users your way.

Edward the Blogging Pressman from the Los Angeles Times.

H2U said...

Al, my advice is to refrain from insulting the blogosphere as you have previously done.

"I have learned that, with some notable exceptions, blogs are largely the habitat of unemployed writers, enraged misanthropes, retired teachers, aging journalists and people who normally pass their time doodling or making obscene telephone calls."
-Al Martinez on 10/6/2006

Harsh words, don't you think?

H2U said...

Whoops. Meant to date that quote 10/9/2006.

Joyce in Atwater said...

Art Hoppe would have been proud, Al!

Happy to add your RSS feed to my Firefox bookmarks!



lovechild said...

Al! I love your story! In 1967, in my senior year at University of Michigan, I wrote this same story!!! In French, for my class!The characters were a bit different--it was a bottle of red wine and a bottle of white wine that fell in love during the time that red and white wines were segregated...never served at the same table. Their passionate and uncorkable love produced Pink Champagne, the effervescent bubbles the joy of their love shared with us all. I am forwarding this to my daughter Sky who works for Skyy Vodka/'s a gem! xoPaula LaBrot

Daniel Olivas said...

Ah, welcome to the world of blogging. But be careful, it's almost as addicting as martinis.

Don said...

Ooops ... wait a minute ... is this just not a story of mixed drink? Would Al try and slip in a second storyline under his keyboard?

We play cards with some friend each week (not for money, just for fun) and something came up about mixed drinks (we don't drink either) and I leaned my head on the lady's shoulder next to me and make some mention of a slow screw up against the wall (a drink name I remember from years back). She's a good laugher and she just lost it. When the whole table was done with the one liners that followed, I explained to her the real contents of that drink. It was "ya had to be there" moment but one that life says you just must do.

Again, welcome to what should be a wonderful world of whimsey for all of us.

Don Leiffer (now retired from 40 years at the KVCR-TV programming desk)

Mary From Winnetka said...

Hi Al,
I am having a terrible time getting to sign up for putting in a comment to my favorite columnist. This is my first time on a blog thing. I wrote a whole comment and because I couldn't understand how to get on a blog, it disappeared.

So to make it short now: I do not think that a drink made with Vodka instead of Gin should even be able to be called a Martini. I find it necessary now when ordering a Martini to say: I will have a Gin Martini with an olive. I had to add the olive because one time my "Gin Martini" came with an apple slice even though it was definitely a Gin Martini.

Now let us see if I will be able to send this.

Al Martinez said...

This is a test by me to see if I'm doing this right.

dgayernionsin said...

I'm so out of it that I don't even know what an HTML tag is—and I can't even say "hello" i only 300 words, let alone 300 characters. Thanks for letting me know about your new blog . I'll enjoy reading Al Unedited.

Dixon Gayer

Elaine Williamson said...

We can learn so much from our alcoholic drinks. Tolerance, wisdom, and the value of ordering "a Bombay Sapphire Gin martini with two olives", so that life doesn't hand us a vodka martini, instead.
Elaine Williamson (Freezing cold in Anchorage and wishing I had some anti-freeze in me!)

Mind said...

You people like this stuff? What is the matter with you! Oh Al pen us another of your musings. I'll read your trash, your shopping lists too. Just post stories other people have written. Wow, what a bunch of fawning LA bozos.

Margaret Lindstrom said...

I do agree and wish you would explore more on this subject. When a 10 year old boy hangs himself after announcing to a very loving family that he want to be a girl.> We need to strive for more understanding.
Goldman Sachs, surprisingly, has stepped up to the challenge. It is time for more acceptance, compassion and understanding.

mettmann said...

hey al - anything new???

Karen N said...

I loved this story and am still laughing at 6:10am on a Monday morning. Where does the "bet" in "betwini" come from? My sister always said I was slow with jokes

Lynn C. said...

Al, As one of the gin martini holdouts in L.A., I loved your fable. My vodka drinking friends all keep a bottle of gin in their homes for my visits. The message about diversity and how we benefit from it was right on. Thanks, as usual.
Lynn C.

Rachel said...

YAY!!!! Let's here it for the gins and half gins of the world! Good thing he didn't get stuck in a bottle waiting for someone to rub him! ;-P

Duckie said...

I never thought I'd have to give up my beloved evening martini during our requisite smooze time (pant, pant…5pm precisely). The full gin and vermouth version had long ago been supplanted by the vodka version.. Recently that version had been adjusted to vodka over ice with lime or when out, Vox straight up, chilled (sans vermouth) with some olives. We even became so naughty as to carry in about a shot of vodka in a plastic medication vial to stretch what is now a very expensive drink. Remember when...

As final insult to maturity I am informed that belly fat (excuse the vulgarity) increases due to the release of a hormone that is encouraged by alcohol. In a struggle with the onset of diseases of age I have once again been forced to alter my martini. So, delighted to learn of the “betwini” I’ve created a new version… Acai over rocks with lime and a sniff of whatever bottle of alcohol is available I don’t think Little Martini will approve by my doctor and dietician will…

Thanks for extending your charm once again. Duckie

jeanzview said...

Sorry to be so out of it, but what is a Betwini? and how do you pronounce it. Is it like: be tween ee?

I want to learn so I can introduce this to my senior citizen friends.

Norma Jeanne

joe friday said...

yo, al, wassup? where the mcbush is,
young brother?

an whats about saray pay-lynn,
is she comin by again?

and che-nay, what's he doin
when he's not tellin his puppet
how to lead us all to ruin

don't hold back al, and make us suffer

tell us more about them muffaluckers!

chris wall