Investigating Santa

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Ace reporter Cris Glaser goes undercover as a random drunk to investigate Santa Claus
Nothing motivates revelers into the holiday spirit faster than free booze for hundreds of your closest customers. This John Katsaros understands. Last week, the owner of Twist (11633 Clifton Boulevard; 216-221-2333) mailed 500 invitations to his seventh-annual holiday party on Wednesday night. We weren't going to turn up our noses at the promise of an open bar from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Chugging our fourth Miller Lite in a record-breaking 45 minutes, we scanned the room for someone familiar. We'd met the one sales rep from The Plain Dealer before, but we couldn't remember his name; a wave across the bar had to do. We also recognized the gal wearing the sweater with a reindeer decal, but she was too busy in a lip-lock with this biker dude for us to simply butt in and say "Merry Christmas." Then we turned to our right. Aha! A familiar face! Santa Claus was patiently waiting for someone to sit on his lap by the Christmas tree. With Miller Lite #5 in hand and only 22 minutes left of the open bar, we took the bait. Turns out Ol' Saint Nick was Gold Coast gadabout Gerry Keating (a.k.a. "Big Daddy," the host of Twist's monthly game-show nights). Naturally, Keating, er, Santa, asked us what we wanted for Christmas. I believe we mentioned something about a 6th bottle of beer, but the record becomes hazy at this point. — Cris Glaser

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