You Should've Seen the Other Guy
I’m not a professional fighter, not by any stretch of the imagination. Sure, I have been in a few, minor fights before, but nothing that really prepared me for that night. Nothing really prepares you for mob mentality, and people with murderous intent.
It happened about a year ago; Bob and I were at this bar to see a guy we were friends with play guitar and sing. I guess he wasn’t exactly a friend. He was more like an acquaintance. We had met this guy a few weeks before at a house party of a mutual friend. He told us he was a singer, and invited us to his next gig. Being the guitar enthusiasts that we are, we decided we should go hear this guy.
So, there we were, at some dive bar, surrounded by big dudes wearing cuts that had rockers for a prominent biker gang, (sorry, motorcycle club) that is known to frequent the area. To be honest, it was a little intimidating, but we had decent enough intentions, so we just sidled up to the bar, and ordered a couple of beers. Bob ordered an IPA (gross), and I ordered my usual stout.
The guy we knew played the first half of his set, and things were going well. Whiskey was flowing around us like a river, and the bikers seemed to be cool with our presence, so we began to relax. I had a couple beers, and had just started sipping a whiskey on the rocks. I had a strong buzz, and I’m sure ole Bob was feeling his three beers a little too. Things were great, we were having fun, everyone was having fun, what could go wrong?
Of course it was a girl. She was a tall brunet with deep, brown eyes. She had the sort of eyes that, even if she was completely bored, seemed to say “I’m your kind of girl. Ask me to dance.” I don’t know how to dance, but I had no problem saying hello. She was beautiful. She had soft skin, and that dark hair was such a contrast to it, that I couldn’t help but stare a little. She caught me looking at her, and smiled. I smiled back like the damned fool that I am, and then started walking her way.
She watched me approach with a cool, but friendly gaze. I walked right up to her, and said “Hi my name is Nate. Can I buy you a drink?” She flashed the most beautiful set of pearly whites I had ever seen, and said “Hello Nate. You can buy me a drink, but only if you promise to kiss me.” I was taken aback a little, but managed to mumble some kind of response that was equivalent to “Challenge accepted.”
We moved to the bar a few feet from Bob, and I ordered another whiskey, and she said she would have the same. I really liked that she had the moxie to drink whiskey without a mixer in it. She was starting to seem like my kind of girl. We chatted about the guitarist, and our favorite types of whiskey. I showed a lot of composure by looking her in the eyes, and barely checking out her large breasts, and curvy hips (I said barely, of course I snuck a peak).
I learned her name was Shannon, and that she worked at this bar. Her shift was just over, and she had decided to stick around for the second half of the set. Of course she would have a gorgeous Irish name like Shannon. How was I supposed to resist such a beautiful woman, with such beautiful hair, skin, eyes, and that damned name. I was finishing drink number four, and deeply enjoying our conversation, when she looked me straight in the eyes and said “Nate, you owe me a kiss, and I intend to collect.”
I leaned in, with the intention of giving her a small kiss, but she pulled me in, and crushed her gorgeous lips to mine. It was a hungry kiss. Not desperate, or overly aggressive, but it was not an average first kiss. It was deep, and intimate; long and sexually charged. Her body seemed to melt into me. He arms were around my neck, and her hips pressing against me. Her boobs were just below my chest. I could barely take it all in. Wow, what a kiss! It was like an explosion in my head.
The problem was, it wasn’t the amazing kiss from beautiful Shannon that caused that explosion in my head. It was caused by a sucker punch to the back of my head. I was innocent. I had no idea that this girl had dated one of the bikers. I was unaware that this particular biker and several of his friends were there. I hadn’t noticed this dude giving me the evil eye the enter time I had talked to what he believed was his property.
Once my vision had stopped blurring, and I got a look at this guy, I realized just what a monster of a man he was. His existence was strong evidence, that his father had fucked a buffalo, and he was the outcome of that unnatural pairing. He must have been six foot six, and easily weighed in at three hundred plus. I’m not saying he was going to run any marathons, but he was as strong as the buffalo cow who had birthed him out upon the prairie.
I’m telling you friend, that punch to the back of my head was a hard punch. Thankfully, Buffalo Man was a little intoxicated, and so his aim was off, causing him to only land a glancing blow. Had he connected, I probably would have just gone to sleep right there. As it was, I staggered forward. Shannon screamed some obscenity at the Buffalo Man, and then Bob sent him to the floor with a beer bottle over the top of his head. Buffalo Man hit the floor with a crash, and then all hell broke loose.
I think I forgot to mention that Bob knows how to fight. Not like I know how to fight, which involves some boxing training, and martial arts classes and a few five to ten second fist fights in bars. No, Bob has fought a few professional boxing matches, and is also quite skilled at Judo. He spent a couple years in the Foreign Legion when he was just out of high school, and saw some nasty shit while doing that.
Bob and I met in the oil fields. We were both roughnecks, and although he was nearly ten years older than I, we both enjoyed watching soccer (the original football) more than we liked the NFL. That made us weird out in the oil fields, and we bonded over being different. Bob and I would go to the gym together, and drink beer together. We trained like athletes, and I learned I was capable of so much more while working with Bob.
It was fortunate for me that I was with Bob when shit went sideways in this dive bar. After Bob crushed a bottle over Buffalo Man’s giant cranium there was almost a full second of silence. Now, a second seems like a short span of time, but a lot can happen in a second. In a second, Bob had grabbed me and started dragging me towards the door. Shannon was kneeling beside the Buffalo Man, who had not yet started to move. Apparently, that kiss was intended to make the Buffalo jealous. Mission accomplished Shannon.
As Bob and I were moving towards the door the world seemed to start spinning again. The fog in my head started to clear, and suddenly I was aware of many big, angry bikers moving towards us from all directions. Bob said to me very calmly, “Keep your back to mine if you can, and just do your best.” It was then I knew we were going to have to fight. Someone yelled “They knocked out Tiny!” That fucking mountain of muscle, and bone was named Tiny? Even in that moment the irony wasn’t lost on me, and I chuckled. Showing a sense of humor at an unconscious biker seems to be a trigger for other bikers.
Someone threw a punch at Bob, who was facing, and moving towards the door. I had my back to his, like he had instructed, but was still aware of everything that was happening. The biker who swung at Bob was a lanky, but muscular guy. Bob easily rolled under the giant haymaker he threw, and came up from the duck with a wicked right uppercut that hit the man’s jaw, and seemed to lift him onto his tiptoes. The unlucky biker’s head snapped backwards, and then his body followed. He landed, shoulders first on a table full of drinks, already sound asleep.
By this time, I had trouble of my own to deal with, a big, bearded man was rushing towards me. All my training kicked in, and as the man flew towards me, intending to tackle me, I easily sidestepped, and sent a wicked right hook into the side of his jaw. I didn’t have time to watch that guy hit the floor, because two more men were moving towards me, a little more cautiously than their predecessor. These two knew what they were doing, and one of them kicked at my right knee, and the other threw a cross at the left side of my head. I was able to evade the kick, and take the punch on my forearm. I countered the puncher with two very quick jabs to back him up, and then spun into the kicker. We were face to face, so I head butted him. I felt his nose break on my forehead, and he staggered back.
I was aware of him reaching up, and straightening his nose with a look of maniacal joy on his face. The other guy, who had taken my two jabs was moving back in. He was just a little behind me, and on my right. I dropped down a little and sent a back kick into his knee. I felt the crunch of tendons tearing away from the bone, and the man screamed as he crashed backwards into the crowd.
I felt a split second of satisfaction for having eliminated a foe. That is when the big punch landed on my temple. When I was about five years old, I fell head first about four feet onto a concrete floor. I can distinctly remember seeing myself, as if I was watching from above. That’s what happened when that biker’s right cross landed on my temple. I have been hit hard before. One time, my brother accidentally hit me in the head with a baseball bat in full swing. This guy’s right cross was harder than that. It felt like the world stopped turning, and I was watching everything from up above my body.
I staggered back into Bob, who was in the middle of breaking some prospect biker’s jaw. Bob somehow straitened me up with his shoulder blades, and sent me back towards the guy with the fists made of stone. I was hurt bad. Something warm was running into my left eye, and clouding my vision. Then I figured out that it was my blood flowing from my brow. Somehow, through the fireworks going off inside of my skull, I managed to get my hands up in front of my face, and deflect another blow from Stone Fist. I countered with a quick jab to back him off, and it worked.
Even though I was hurt I realized I had no choice. I could not quit. My life depended on my ability to stay on my feet, and to keep swinging. As that thought trickled through my brain it was as if someone had touched a match to gasoline. There was a flash of realization, and I knew this was a fight or die scenario. As that idea exploded into my mind, it was as if a switch was flipped. Suddenly I was no longer the twenty first century man who had walked into this bar to listen to a guy play the guitar. I was now more like my Viking ancestors; wild and primal. I was willing to kill to survive.
Stone Fist moved back in, and I threw everything I had into a right cross. This was not a traditional right cross, that comes from your own chin, but was more like a baseball pitch. It started at my hip, and came past my ear. It was just past its apex and starting down as Stone Fist was stepping in. It was so unorthodox that it caught him completely off guard. His jaw was already a little relaxed, and my fist crashed into it like a meteor into the Cretaceous Period. Teeth flew into the air like shrapnel, and there was a sickening crunch as his jaw dislocated.
Stone Fist was tough enough to laugh off a broken nose, but the noise he made when I dislocated his jaw was like the sound a rabbit makes when a greyhound snaps its neck. As Stone Fist staggered backwards making sad little squeaks, another asshole ran in with a pool que and swung it at my head. I ducked the swing, and as the momentum carried him past me I landed the side of my left hand into his Adam’s apple. He grasped his throat and made a gasping sound as he dropped the pool que. I picked the que up and broke it over my knee. The bigger half was in my right hand, and I hurled it at some fool who was running at me. It hit him, blunt end right between the eyes, and his feet flew up like he had slipped on ice.
The next guy who came at me is the one I am pretty sure I killed. He was running at me, and I ripped upwards with the que gripped in both hands like a sword. I had ahold of the unbroken end, and I jabbed the jagged in into his throat. There was a lot of blood, some screaming, and I think I saw his wind pipe. It was gross.
As the victim of my Viking rage hit the floor, spurting blood from his jugular, I was taken down by a fist to my jaw. I never saw the guy who threw it, but I know I hit the floor. There were boots all around me, kicking and stomping. They crashed into my face and my ribs, and one of them stomped down and crunched on my balls. I pissed my pants, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I was in hell. I felt like my whole body was a raw, bloody rag that was getting stomped into some sort of disgusting pulp.
I was in a cocoon of pain. Everything hurt so bad that the pain was starting to become a comfort. It was better than the numb feeling that was starting to creep from the top of my head and wash over my body. The numbness was scary. I think I was dying.
Suddenly there weren’t any boots around me, and a bloody hand was dragging me from the floor. Bob saved my life. He pulled me back from the brink, and jerked me to my feet. I was bleeding from nearly every inch of skin on my body, and I was shrouded in a mantle of pain, but I was alive.
I am not sure how long it took for all of this to unfold, it probably took less than a minute, but it seemed like years. We were five feet from the door. That five feet seemed like a mile. I was bleeding from multiple wounds, and so was Bob. I could barely walk, and Bob could barely carry me. It looked like the end of the trail for Bob, and me. Then the owner of the place came out with a shotgun, waiving it in the air, and screaming that the fight had best desist, or he would splatter someone all over the wall. The bikers backed off, and Bob and I limped out the door.
I don’t remember much more about that night. I know Bob drove us to an afterhours vet clinic where he knew the guy on duty. The veterinarian shot us full of antibiotics, tetanus shots, and stitched our wounds. Bob had a bad knife wound on the side of his neck that ran down the middle of his chest. It took 43 stitches to get him back together. I don’t even know how many stitches I got. I know I can’t breathe through my nose like I used to.
The next morning, I went to the ticket counter at the airport, and I got the fuck out of Tulsa. I took the first flight out of town, which landed me in Denver. Bob caught a flight to Dallas, where he had some family. I haven’t seen Bob since then. I have been tending bar at a small hipster bar in Boulder for the past year, and doing alright. My scars aren’t too bad, and my knee doesn’t hurt as much anymore. I’m fairly sure I can’t have kids anymore though. For a couple months after that fight it felt like a knife in my balls when I got a hard-on.
Things were going well up until last night. I never had any police officers show up at my door asking about the biker I probably killed. I stopped having nightmares where thousands of boots are trying to cave my face in. I started seeing a girl on a semi regular basis, and that is going well. She has blonde hair, darker skin and a Latin name. Maybe I’m scared of my old type, or maybe my tastes have actually changed. Either way, I don’t seem to go for dark hair, and pale skin anymore.
Last night I was tending bar at this little hipster dive, when I suddenly thought I was dreaming. Shannon, that dark haired vixen who had caused one of the more traumatic events of my life (ok maybe I share a little of the blame… or maybe not) walked through the door. I am sure my jaw was on the floor, and I was just recovering from the shock of seeing her when all the light from the doorway was eclipsed by a giant bulk of humanity. Fuck me! Buffalo Man walked into the bar. Now my palms were sweaty. What are the odds that this monolith would wind up in my little bar in Boulder, Colorado?
I don’t believe in coincidences. I calmly walked out of the bar, threw my apron in the dumpster, drove myself to the greyhound station, left the keys to my 2001 Ford Focus on the dash, and bought a ticket to Dallas, Texas. As I sit here on the bus I can feel the short barreled .38 caliber revolver in my jacket pocket, and it gives me a tiny bit of hope that I will make it through this next chapter of my life. Maybe Shannon and Buffalo Man were on vacation. Anyway, it will be good to see ole Bob.