I don’t go out very often. It’s not that I don’t like to go out, but in my present financial situation, it just doesn’t fit the budget. I’ve been struggling for almost three years now. I don’t know about the rest of you, but my recession started when the construction work dried up about two years after Hurricane Charley hit this area in August of 2004, It was like someone flipped a switch to the off position and that was the end of the construction work.
I’ve seen it before. The damage caused from a storm 0f that magnitude eventually leaves everyone with a new roof, a new swimming pool enclosure, a new kitchen, new paint, etc, etc. You basically work yourself right out of work. You may be riding high for a while, but eventually the financial rug gets yanked out from under you.
During the recovery, I played it tight to the vest because I had been witness to the phenomenon before. Anything that I bought, I paid cash for and paid everything off that I possible could (except for the mortgage, though I did pay that down some) because I knew that there would eventually be a lull in the action, though I never expected anything like the housing bubble to pop a year or so after the work dried up.
I had managed to store a pretty nice egg away and figured I could weather the lull, but it’s been a very long lull and all that money left my mattress a long time ago.
None of this has anything to do with the story I’m about to relate to you, other than that maybe people who are under a lot of financial stress do some really stupid things and end up in jail for their efforts.
For the last few weeks I’ve been doing some work on a friends house up in Sarasota, so I've managed to pay some late bills, earlier than usual. It’s forty miles each way, which eats time and money, plus I’m working for a friend, so I’m working on the cheap, but at least I'm working, so I'm really not complaining.The point is that I've earned a little spending money.
Let me get to the story. I’ve been broke and housebound for so long that I was beginning to feel like a hermit. I’d been chomping at the bit to get out and actually mingle with the local populace for a change, so I get home from work, grab a bite to eat, sh*t, shave and shower, fire up the Harley and head on up to Brewski’s for happy hour.
Brewski's is just a small corner bar, but they have twofer’s from five to seven daily, you can‘t beat that around here. I am still in financial straights so I have to go on a tight budget, so please don't judge me. I’m just a poor lonely man with a lot of issues and no social life to speak of.
Just the regulars are in attendance so I say my howdy’s, sit down and begin to enjoy what I hope to be a couple of well deserved beers. Three or four seats down there is a large woman that I’ve seen in there before. I don’t know her name and don’t care to learn it.
She is known to have a surly disposition and she’s arguing with some little guy about half her size about whatever and I can only assume that he is the boyfriend de jour. I hate to be witness to that sort of crap so after one beer I decide to pay up and hit another couple of places up the road that may have a less hostile atmosphere.
I'm not getting any younger so I poop out pretty early these days. Late nights are pretty much a thing of the past for me, so after putting on a few miles and a couple of more beers I decide to head back toward my own neighborhood.
I figure Brewski’s is close to home and they have a band playing tonight that I like, so I'll stop in for a nightcap or two (or three). For a little place, I’ve seen some incredible musical talent in this dump, and who knows, maybe I’ll meet someone. Hey….don’t laugh. It could happen. It hasn't happened that I can ever remember, but it could still happen.
The band is setting up so I guess it’s around nine o’clock, not very long after dark. I order a Bud and pull myself up to the bar when I look down two seats and I'll be damn if it isn't the same couple still sitting there, only this time they’re all kissy, kissy and I think to myself that this has to be better than them biting each other in the face, so I try to ignore the gooey spectacle of a train wreck and mind my own business.
I had to visit the men's room and the barmaid knows that I'm a flexible guy so, to make room for a couple that just walked in, she has moved my drink and riding glasses over next to the saliva swappers. Yuck. (Thanks sweetie, that should increase your tip, dramatically) I look around for a better place to be, but I can see that I’ve got about the last seat in the tiny place so I decide to bite the bullet and hold my ground. And that’s when all the crap started.
Within a minute or two, the lovely (no where near sober) couple, gets up to leave and it’s time to pay their bill. I’m guessing they must have been there most of the day by their slurred speech and wobbly demeanor, so I’m trying to ignore the conversation, but it just keeps getting louder.
The back and forth is peppered with things like, “Didn’t you just get a paycheck?” and “Why do I always get stuck paying the bill?” and “ I didn’t bring any money with me because you always pay!”
This soon escalates into a two way tirade that includes some colorful phrases like “I hate you, you useless son of a bitch!” and “Fuck you and your big stinky cunt!” and " Ill kick your ass, you wiskey dick piece of shit!" Paraphrased, of course, but I think you get the picture.
I see no future in being this close to the action, so I start gathering my things, thinking I’d rather watch this from a safe distance when the big one (the woman) shoves the little one (the man) in the chest hard with both hands and he's thrown backwards into me, spilling my beer and cigarettes all over the place. Had I not been standing there, he would have surely ended up flat on his ass. She pushed him that hard.
Now I can’t really explain why I did what I did next, but this little guy hauls back a right hand and there was no doubt that he was going to deck the big broad, which I considered a big mistake, because one, I was raised to believe that you never hit a lady, (I’m not sure that she could qualify as a lady) and two, this girl would mop the floor with this little fella, so I don’t know who I was protecting, but I reached over his shoulder and grabbed his arm just as he pulled the trigger.
He struggled a bit, but a split second later I had both of his drunken arms locked behind him, so I'm thinking that I have this flair up contained. I'm also thinking that I can calm these two down and nobody gets hurt, when the big one (the woman) seizes the moment and throws a huge right hand at the little one's head. I don’t see it coming, but the little guy does, and like a scene out of a movie, he ducks and she catches me flush on the left eye.
Damn! This girl knew how to throw a punch! I’m seeing stars and I’m still holding onto the little guy, though I don’t know why, when she throws another haymaker and lands it flush on the side of the little guys head. His face snapped hard to the side and he goes limp in my arms. One punch, out cold. I don't think I've ever seen a woman throw a punch like that and suddenly, what I thought to be a contained battle, is quickly turning into a nightmare that I want to wake up from.
Now, I haven’t been in a fight in over twenty years, so I’m still trying to gather my wits and I assume that the fight is over, now that the little guy went limp. I’m still holding him up, though I still don’t know why when, bam! The big one punches me right in the nose. I never saw that one coming either. I'm beginning to think that maybe I should pay better attention to elephant in the room.
I didn’t feel anything break, but my eyes teared up something horrible and blood was flowing out of my nose like a faucet, dripping all over me and the little guy and my left eye was swelling up and the only thing I could think of was I’m going to need both arms if this girl swings at me again, so I finally drop the little guy and he hit’s the floor with a heavy thud.
The last thing I want to do is fight this behemoth. I’m really hoping this thing is over and I can just go home and lick my wounds and think twice about ever leaving the house again when the big one says loud enough for everyone in the now silent bar to hear, “You should have stayed out of it, asshole!” Then she charges me like a mother rhino who's protecting her pup.
I only have a split second to react, but a lot can go through your mind in a short amount of time. I have no time to retreat, she’s already popped me two good ones and I’m bleeding, she can really move for a big girl and she’s built like a linebacker and strong as an ox, she has me by at least twenty-five pounds, and she wants to fight me like a man, so I made a split second decision. If I don't do something soon this girl is going to kick my ass, and that’s when I hauled back and punched that bitch right in the face!
I know it had to hurt. Her knees buckled for a moment and I don’t see how she stayed up, but she shook it off and charged me again! Pow! One more to the jaw and down she went. (You need to learn to keep that guard up, honey.) Definitely not my proudest moment.
Grabbing up a cigarette (I knew I would need one) and my riding glasses from the floor, I walked past all the gaping mouths and bewildered stares and headed for the door.
I keep a roll of soft paper towels in my saddle bags for cleaning the windshield, but I’m shaking so bad, I can barely get the bag open to get to them. The only thing I want to do is stop my nose from bleeding and get the hell out of there and that’s when the cops pulled up.
I’d like to tell you about the arrest and posting bail and how the crazy bitch got tasered, but it's a pretty boring story and this thing is already too long, so I'll save that part for another day.
If you ever get the urge to protect a woman from domestic violence, please don't let this story stop you from doing the right thing. Whatever that might be.
I should mention that this is fictional.