Act Your Age… Stopping a Fight

Over the past seven months or so, I’ve developed a theory about life. Personally, I see life as a running narrative. All the little stories (incidents and events in one’s life), sort of come together to tell this grandiose story that sort of makes sense. Today, I tell the story of one evening this month in which I (at least attempt) to stop a bar fight. As one brief incident, it may be nothing. But in the grand scheme of my life, it may turn out to be a crucial part of the story.

It had already been an evening of adventure. I’d gotten free tickets to see a comedy show and then went to a wedding reception to celebrate one of my friend’s nuptials. Eventually, as the night progressed, Becky (one of my friends from school) suggested we go to the local bar to dance.

When we arrived the group included Becky, Amy, Billy, and myself. Not being a particularly proficient dancer (See my experience at Retro Night), I stayed at the bar with Billy while the girls made their way to the dance floor. Billy explained that he would show me how to pick up women. Then he began to point out a woman, follow her briefly, before giving up and pointing out another. Finally I got a text from Becky saying she’d found a spot for the coats and she encouraged us to join them.

We danced for a brief period. Billy remained amazingly drunk and was trying to hook up with what appeared to be a pair of middle-aged lesbians. His tactic was to back up into them until they noticed. At one point, he bummed into a young man, spilling the man’s drink all over the dance floor in the process.

The man (and this is how I heard the story from him as I didn’t see it myself) turned to Billy and said it was okay and that they should continue to have a good time. Billy shrugged it off and told the man that he shouldn’t have to apologize since the man had been the one to spill his drink on him. From there things escalated and the two got into each other’s faces.

It’s at this point, I stepped in. I pulled Billy away and started talking to the gentlemen. He had short, army cut hair, was as tall as me (at 6’2) with broad shoulders and a skinny waist. He could kill me.

I first listened to his side of the story. Then, being a bit of a coward, I instantly turned on Billy in hopes of saving us both.

“Listen,” I told the giant. “Billy isn’t in his right mind now and when he’s drank too much he can be obnoxious. He’s not worth fighting.” The guy protested and again tried to explain why he was the good guy.

“Just dance with the girls you have over there!” I told him. “You could fight Billy, but that won’t prove anything. It won’t be any fun. You’re a big guy. A nice guy. Go dance with girls. That’ll be more fun.” Again the guy protested. I reached into my pocket, pulled out the change I had, and pressed it into his hand.

“It’s not enough for a beer, but its something,” I told him. And finally he smiled and gave in. He stepped forward, took my hand and told me I was a good guy. He was even about to give me the money back. But as he said the words to me, he looked over my shoulder to Billy who had rolled up his sleeves. And the situation exploded again.

He jumped around me and was once again in Billy’s face. Billy stared at him saying nothing, while the man talked about disrespect. Becky jumped in between, while Sarah (who had arrived only minutes before) pulled Billy away. Sarah came back empty handed and said Billy was in the corner of the bar in a separate room. I grabbed our jackets and went to find him.

Billy was in the side room. The bouncers were in front of the room guarding it, while the man tried to talk them into letting him into the room for a confrontation. I slipped in and told Billy we were going to pizza. I peeked out of the room, finding that everyone had seemed to vanish and then brought Billy outside.

Unfortunately, that’s where the bouncers had brought the man.

Now the man was yelling at Billy in the street. Billy just stared at him with his hands in his pockets. The man exclaimed that he’d tried to let it go, but Billy was continually disrespectful. He said he’d punch Billy but didn’t want to go to jail. I continued to try and convince him that we were going to pizza and that he didn’t want to fight Billy.

“There are girl’s in the bar,” I told him. “Getting a girl would be so much funner than getting in a fight.”

Finally, Billy spoke: “If you do punch me, you’re going to have to kill me. Because if I can get up, I’m coming after you.” Then the guy started to shove Billy.

“Don’t touch me,” Billy said.

I thought it was game over for me and that a fight was unavoidable. But to Billy’s credit he finally turned to the guy and said, “We’re going to get pizza.” At this point, the man pushed Billy hard enough that he stumbled back. I swept in, grabbed Billy’s arm, and pulled him to pizza. We ended up eating at Freeman’s. The next weekend, I found out the man was a bouncer at a different pub in town.

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