Staten Island. The grand jury in the Eric Garner case sits around a conference table locked in furious debate. Charts covered with data and still images from the video pinned to the walls, wadded up balls of notebook paper on the table, members of the jury shout and bicker. Eleven jurors say no indictment, one holdout argues otherwise. They murdered that man, the holdout says, and nothing is going to change my mind.
Another juror, exasperated, stands and walks to the window, presses his face against the glass. Outside, below, he watches traffic stream through an intersection. A Coca-Cola truck comes into view. The juror licks his lips. The truck pulls into the intersection and is T-boned by another truck. The rest of the jury, alerted by the crash, gathers around the window. The back of the Coca-Cola truck bucks open, spilling crates of Coke into the street. Pedestrians run to the scene of the accident and snatch cases, people abandon their cars to do the same. One of the jurors says, We’ve got to get down there, and they all run to the door only to be barred from exiting by a bailiff who tells them they’re sequestered until they come to a decision. The jurors look at one another… look at the holdout… cut to the verdict being read. No indictment. One reporter watching the press conference whispers to another, What the hell was the jury thinking? And we cut to the jury room, the jurors sitting with their feet up on the table, surrounded by crates of Coca-Cola. They’re all drinking happily, and we end with everyone raising their bottles in salute to the hold out, who shrugs, winks at the camera and takes a long, refreshing pull on his bottle as the Coca-Cola logo and the slogan GOTTA GET THAT COKE flashes across the screen.
A small blonde boy, eight or nine years old, sits at a kitchen table gulping Coke from a glass bottle. The table is covered with empties. The boy belches, keeps drinking. Cut to the boy walking down a suburban street tugging a red wagon filled with empty Coke bottles. He goes door to door collecting more. Cut to the boy digging through garbage cans, scavenging even more Coke bottles. Cut to a city bus, the boy sits with several paper grocery bags filled with empty bottles on the seat beside him. The bus passes a sign on the side of the road—Ferguson City Limits. We see the kid get off the bus and lug his bags into a gas station. Cut again, it’s night, a column of police clad in military gear, clutching assault rifles, march down the street, driving a crowd of protestors before them. A couple protestors dive into an alleyway to hide. They’re all panting, clothes torn, weeping and hacking from tear gas. Blood pours from a wound on one man’s forehead. Suddenly, the boy appears before them in the alleyway, dragging the bags of bottles and a gas can behind him. He stops and sets both down, smiles. The protestor with the bloody head steps forward, looks over the bottles and the gas, kneels to look the kid in the eye. Smiles, ruffles the kid’s hair. Cut to Molotov cocktails falling on the heads of the police, police burning, screaming, running for their lives. Protestors cheering. The boy and the man with the bloody head stand side-by-side in the street, faces lit by flickering flames. The man puts his hand on the boy’s shoulder and we pan up into the smoky sky as “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke’ starts playing faintly and we see the Coca-Cola logo spelled out in twinkling stars.
A Rod Serling-type announcer appears in a void. Submitted for your approval, he says, Date night sans Coca-Cola.
Cut to a hip, young suburban couple sitting on a beautiful leather sofa scanning through Netflix. The man stops at Annie Hall. Here we go, he says. A Classic. The man is about to hit play when the woman stops him, snatches the remote from his hand. Are you crazy? I’m not watching that. Not after what that man did. The man rolls his eyes. He didn’t do it, he says. Mia Farrow made the whole thing up, to fuck up his life when he left her. Then why does the girl remember it? the woman asks, and the man says, Because she grew up with her mother telling her all the time it happened. You love this movie, anyway. Just play it. No, the woman says. I can’t believe you. No, no way. I’m not going to—the thought of sitting here watching that man, that predator, makes me sick. Makes me want to vomit. Makes me lose respect for you for not having a problem with watching it. But you like this movie, the man says. We’ve watched it together before. That was before I knew what he did, the woman says. He didn’t do anything, the man insists. What about Soon-Yi? the woman asks. That doesn’t gross you out? The man massages his temples. It’s unconventional, he says. But love is weird, right? The heart wants what it wants. The woman can’t stand sitting beside him for another second, she scrambles to her feet. The heart wants– she says. Seriously? Are you really justifying… just say for the sake of argument he did molest his daughter. You think it’s okay because the heart wants what it wants? Because he loved her? Obviously not, the man says. A little girl couldn’t give consent. Soon-Yi was a little girl, the woman says. She was a child. The man says, You have to learn to separate the artist from the art. The woman says, You have to learn to value human beings over art. The man shouts, You pick a fucking movie then, and hurls the remote at the TV screen, which shatters.
Cut back to the void, the announcer. And now, he says, Date night with the refreshing taste of Coca-Cola.
The same couple, the same couch, this time sipping Cokes instead of watching TV. The song “Here I Am” by Al Green plays in the background. The woman looks at the man and cocks an eyebrow suggestively. The announcer appears in the room, says to the camera, Coke is Love, as the couple sets down their drinks and come together on the couch behind him.
Open on a glitzy Hollywood Christmas party, Santa hats and palm trees, people mingling around a swimming pool. Tuxedoed waitstaff carry silver trays, some laden with champagne flutes, some with glass bottles of Coca-Cola. Focus on Bill Cosby in conversation with an absolutely gorgeous 23 year old blonde woman. They’re laughing. The Cos is cutting up. He asks if she’s ever done any acting, she says that was the plan but lately she’s been thinking she needs to come up with plan B. Cosby tells her she’s got presence, but Hollywood is really all about who you know. A waitress carrying a tray of Coke bottles overhears and lingers to eavesdrop. Cosby asks the blonde if she’d like him to set up a meeting for her with his management team. She swoons, says she’d be thrilled. Cosby suggests a drink to celebrate. Champagne. Not this swill they’re serving, he knows the host and where he hides the good stuff…would she care to accompany him inside? The blonde agrees, the waitress’s eyes go wide. Cosby takes the blonde’s hand. Thinking fast, the waitress shakes up a bottle of Coke, stumbles into Cosby’s path and pops the top as if by accident, drenching him in froth. Cosby is pissed and dripping, the waitress feigns embarrassment. So sorry, the waitress says, Come right this way and I’ll get you cleaned up. Cosby glowers, tells the blonde to wait for him, tells the waitress to lead the way. The blonde fumes until the waitress, quickly while The Cos isn’t looking, whispers something in her ear. Then the blonde’s jaw drops. The waitress leads Cosby into the kitchen, sets her tray on a marble countertop and tells him to take off his jacket while she grabs him a towel but instead he seizes her by the shoulders and shoves her against the wall. He leans into her, his tongue flickering grossly, but right before he makes contact the blonde barges into the kitchen, snatches a bottle of Coke off the tray and smashes the neck against the counter, breaking it off. She slashes the jagged bottle across Cosby’s face once, twice, blood sprays the walls, a third swing and we cut to the floor, one of Cosby’s iconic bulging eyeballs drops to the ground and rolls. Cosby falls after it, his face a now unrecognizable mash of shredded meat. Pan up to the blonde and the waitress as they pop the tops off two fresh bottles and take a drink and the slogan COCA-COLA, FOR ANY OCCASION flashes and Cosby grunts and dies off screen.