He sat in the corner facing the double doors that opened and closed allowing the throng of tourists to come and go. I sat at the opposite end watching him nervously eye those that swung through the doors. The fingers of his right hand drummed their way across his thumb and his left leg bobbed anxiously.
Pretty girls and fat women peppered the crowd of French Canadian men that wore thongs not meant to be seen in public. The radio played those forgotten tunes of yesteryear and I longed for a cold beer.
Two girls walked through the door and I couldn't help but focus my attention on them. Mid twenties, pretty in that natural sort of way. Their carefree banter brought a smile to my face.
"Eva!" The man who earlier captured my attention quickly crossed the floor grabbing the taller girl by the arm.
Her look was that of fear and she resisted his grasp. She looked about seeking intervention while they argued in French. Perhaps this was her ex-lover, her boyfriend; maybe even her brother.
I watched in a non watching way, not looking to involve myself in another person's business. This must have been the order of the day for those in the crowd as well. They continued to move about and place their orders, only quietly. The other girl was crying and yelling at the man and he, while pushing her away, grabbed his girl by the hair while leading her out.
I sighed, hoping that someone would intervene.
"Hey," I yelled, hoping to interrupt the commotion.
"Fuck you. Go away," he yelled, continuing to lead her crying and screaming out the door.
I took off my ball cap. You know, the one with the Guinness logo stamped upon the front. I asked him if I could help in any way. With teeth grimaced, he let go of her hair and pushed forward towards me. Unsure of his intention, one can only assume that he was going to vent his anger on me. In situations as these, driven by anger and an off balance charge, it is almost too easy.
I am afraid of my anger and I am easily angered by those whose intent it is to hurt me. I advise myself to never let it get that far.
When he was within striking distance of me, I tossed my hat into the air. His eyes quickly darted upward and I punch/jabbed him in the throat. His forward momentum, followed by the pushing backward that a good throat jab will give you, made for the balance of a tight rope walker in a stiff wind. I followed by a sweep that pulled his feet out from under him and then followed with my knees upon his stomach and chest, obviously cracking something.
In situations like this, all becomes quiet and I always feel like the bad guy. The two girls, who did not speak but few words of English, thanked me with the kind of look in their eyes that displayed an equal fear of me. Their attacker who was now laying pathetically on the floor and the girls quickly departed. Business returned to normal as the man struggled slowly to get up avoiding any look my way.
I left as well, hoping that I did the right thing.
I like to visit those holes in the wall that the locals spend their time in whiling avoiding the usual tourist traps. I sat among the hard looking men and woman that worked the pier and the amusement park. It was loud and dark and I listened to a guy tell me about the time that someone bombed some black establishment in the sixties. All the while leaving hints that this "someone" was none other than him.
Cool. (Not!)
My mind adrift in thought wondered about Wild Bill Hickok. He was shot in the back on the same day as my birthday, Somehow I could relate. I never like anyone to stand behind me. Being at the bar in this joint was breaking rule number one. I still saw the man that I had placed out of commission some hours earlier, enter the establishment and not alone at that.
Yeah, she was pretty in that natural sort of way. This time, their arms were locked in affection and her smile would stop a tank. His eye caught mine and he winked.
Two hours later, I was in my car and headed home. Next time, I thought to myself, even if there is a gun involved, I'm just going to mind my own business.
Probably not.


Loralee Choate said…
Frankly, I'd be relieved to have you around.
Nicholodeon said…
I enjoyed the story, for me it has an O. Henry cast to it, and I think achieving that effect is well nigh impossible.

Mystic Wing said…
The tale is told very compellingly. I'd sure as hell rather have you as a friend than a foe.