Monday, April 9, 2007

Country Bars, Classy Ladies, and Hand to Hand

A number of years ago, I worked part time at a country bar. I wasn't even really a big fan of country music, but I was a big fan of not being broke. Being broke sucks. Perhaps the best part about having experience working at the bar is getting to know all of the characters that hang out there, either for work and/or pleasure.

There was this bartender that worked there when I first started, for the purpose of this story we'll call her Red. Red was a little bit older than the other bartenders, but she had loads of experience in just about any situation that one could find themselves around in the bar scene. I liked her because she didn't put up with anyone's shit, even mine.

About 3 weeks into the new job, and I was feeling pretty good about my grasp of this line of work. Keep the bars stocked, money ready, and trash cans empty, and it was gravy from then on. I remember commenting to one of the other guys there something along the lines of 'sure aren't many fights here'. Sure enough, Mr. Murphy realized that he had not been paying enough attention to me and decided to develop an interest in the local country bar.

A couple of hours later, and I was in my first bar fight.

A few words here. Even though this was a few years back, we were still firmly entrenched in the modern day litigious society. There were a lot of rules regarding when, how, and what we could do to break up the fights. The one that the manager always stressed was 'watch out for each-other'. As an additional measure, he regularly hired Deputies to come to the bar and hang out. They got a little extra cash and usually just by being there the crowd was a little more subdued.


Where was I...ah yes, my first bar fight. Clearing an empty table of beer bottles, I noticed a change in the crowd over at the far end of the dance floor. When a few bottles hit the floor myself and a few of the other guys headed over to that area. What we saw was about a dozen guys, all standing around a couple wrasslin' around on the floor. Elbowing my way through the crowd, I noticed that the pair duking it out were women.


Grabbing the one that was on top, I pulled her off and handed her to one of the other bouncers. When I turned to the 'lady' that was on the ground beside an overturned table, I was able to see that she was very pregnant. Nice. I was only able to see this for about half a second however, because Classy lady #1 had broken free from my buddy and vaulted herself back into the fight.
Damn, was there something in the beer?

In a feeble attempt to stop the festivities, I grabbed Classy #1 from behind, right hand to her right shoulder. My left arm and hand I swung down in front of her to impede here ability to beat the hell out of Classy #2. What the hell was Classy #2 doing in a smoky bar that pregnant anyways? Classy #1's flailing arms made it somewhat difficult to trap, but I did manage to stop her.

Yay, I'm a hero, right?

Wrong. In managing to drag her off of the pregnant lady, I had somehow managed to grab a handful of Classy #1. Trust me, it was not; intended, enjoyed, or even all that remarkable.

It was somewhat remarkable to her, though.

In her stupor, her rage was transferred from the pregnant woman to the new bouncer. I had a seriously angry, drunken, combative woman on my hands.

Now, growing up as a child my parents had cautioned me to not get into any fights. After a few years of this, they noticed that I was regularly coming home with clothes torn and school supplies missing. They started getting notes from teachers and whatnot commenting on how I was getting my ass beat, but I wasn't fighting back for some reason. My folks told me that I had to stick up for myself. I swung 180 degrees the other way and started beating the hell out of bullies that were picking on me and my friends (Sweet revenge). Back to the 'don't get into fights at school, honey' speeches. Back to getting my ass kicked. Apparently, this happened on and off up to junior high. What was a regular lecture was the one about looking out for my baby sister, and not fighting with girls.

This kind of put me in a pickle. I was very reluctant to fight back with this woman but as she was very drunk, very pissed, and very country she actually knew how to throw a few punches. I was reduced to backing up, holding my hand in front of me defensively, and wondering how in the hell I got myself into this situation.

Enter Red, stage right.

With a shouted 'Hey!' she launched herself over a few chairs, and being a country girl herself, landed a textbook forearm right into the mug of Classy Lady #1. Bam! Fight over. As Red was propping up the seriously dazed Classy #1 and assisting her to the door (and the deputy), she looked over her shoulder, winked at me, and said, "Damn, son. Sometimes you have to fight back no matter what, you know?"


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