“I sip my drink. Beth and Dawn chug down their mojitos and order another round. I think all servers drink their first postshift drink quickly. A waiter’s first drink is medicinal, his second is relaxing, but his third is anesthesia.

” ‘So you got ’em?’ Beth says to Dawn, her voice dropping to a whisper.’
“Dawn fumbles in her purse and pulls out a medicine bottle.
” ‘What’s that?’ I ask
” ‘Xanax,’ Dawn says.
” ‘You’re not gonna take that now, are you?’ I say.
” ‘What are you,’ Dawn says, ‘my father?’
” ‘Xanax and mojitos don’t mix.’
” ‘I have a perscription.’

“Beth and Dawn take their pills and wash them down with a rum and mint chaser. In a few minutes the drugs will kick in and they’ll forget their own names. I’ve seen it happen before.

“I shake my head and look down at my martini. It’s still half full. I take another sip. The best advice I ever got about drinking was from my grandfather. ‘Drink till you’re mellow,’ he’d say. ‘After that it’s all downhill.’ ” (>>)