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This Pepsi Ad From 1986 Inspired A Short Story

It's Pepsi in the U.S.A.

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The following TV commercial for Pepsi aired in 1985. It featured Don Johnson of Miami Vice and rock star Glenn Frey of the Eagles.

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"Pepsi in the USA" by Dan Meth

It was a Saturday night in Miami. 1985.

Miami Vice star Don Johnson piloted his Ferrari through the deserted city streets, his bloodshot eyes hidden behind dark Ray-Bans. Glenn Frey, former guitarist and singer for the Eagles, was sitting shotgun. Glenn whistled along to the radio as it played his new solo hit "You Belong to the City."

These men were not close friends, but they had a similar passion: the night. And when your passion is the night, you might as well go out there with a partner.

A female police officer crept up alongside the Ferrari on her motorcycle. She winked and pointed a finger at Don. He had slept with her a few months before...but the memory of it was hazy. He had been drinking that night, just as he was now.

"So where we going anyway?" asked Don.

"What are you asking me for?" Glenn shot back. "It's your town, pal." He was in Miami to play a concert, but that had been the night before. Tonight, he just wanted to go where the night took him, and he was discovering his host wasn't quite as spontaneous.

"Which way?" prodded Don.

"Uhhh, go left. No! No! Go right!"

They narrowly swerved out of the way of a tractor trailer. Don turned to give Glenn a burning stare, taking his eyes off the road. "Whoa!" Glenn clutched the dashboard to brace himself as the Ferrari careened across a puddle.

Glenn grew up in Detroit, but he was no motorhead. With the hood up, the engine may as well have been alien technology.

"Try it again."

Don turned the ignition. The Ferrari didn't respond.

"It's your car, pal," said Glenn. "You fix it."

"Do we have to listen to this?" Don asked, referring to Glenn's song on the radio. It was so catchy that it filled the actor with a jealous rage. Without waiting for a reply, he turned the dial down all the way.

And yet the music continued. From a nearby source. Close, yet muffled.

"That's my song!" remarked Glenn.

"That's my song," Don mimicked him in a bratty childish tone. "Let's go."

He emerged from the Ferrari and stepped into the same puddle that paralyzed his Ferrari. "Beautiful," he muttered. His white leather shoes had cost nearly as much as the car and now they were ruined.

They walked across the wet pavement toward music. It was emanating from within the Dade County community center.

They passed two teenage girls buying soda from a vending machine in the lobby.

"Hi girls," said Don.

Their jaws dropped when they recognized the two older men.

Don and Glenn entered the large central room. It was packed wall to wall with teenagers, dancing to Glenn's song. Neon palm trees adorned the walls. It reeked of hormones.

The boy DJ'ing the event was the first to notice them. What were the chances? The very singer whose record he was playing was now standing before him...and he was with Don fucking Johnson. The can of Pepsi he was holding slipped from his frozen hand onto the spinning vinyl, silencing it with a scratch.

Every head in the room turned toward the doors and a hush fell upon the room.

"Is there a mechanic in the house?" asked Don.

Every single hand went up.

The DJ dropped the needle onto a new .45. It was another song by Glenn; an unreleased song titled "Pepsi in the USA." Everyone began dancing, even harder than before.

Kevin Myers, a shy boy standing along the wall, suddenly felt alive like he never had before. A cool force rushed through him and he began dancing. Kevin duckwalked toward Glenn, spun in a circle, and gave the rock star a high-five.

Don turned toward a teenager who was dressed just like him. White blazer, white slacks, pink T-shirt. Don approved, until he noticed the boy's socks: Mottled with a tacky pattern, they would have never found their way into Don's wardrobe. He shook his head in disapproval and the boy laughed anyway. So did Don. The vibe in the room was pure ecstasy.

An hour later, one of the girls had her head under the hood of the Ferrari. She ordered him to turn the ignition key again. The engine awakened.

"Nothing to it," she breezily stated, slamming the hood shut before walking over to the driver-side window.

"Hey, thanks!" chirped Glenn from shotgun.

"Yeah, thanks," agreed Don.

"Anytime," said the underage girl as she kissed Don Johnson on the lips.

Don devilishly turned toward Glenn. His smile evaporated upon seeing the oily smudge her hand had left on his white Armani blazer.

"Cool," teased Glenn.

They drove off into the night. The teenagers ran after the Ferrari, cheering. Kevin Myers held up a can of Pepsi. It's better in the USA.

Now watch the ad again:

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