Tales From the Gay Bar – “Flash Promotion” or “It’s Just a Flesh Wound”

Posted: August 24, 2013 in TFTGB
Tags: , , , , ,

Allow me to tell you the Tale of my very first problem with a customer on drugs and how I benefitted. Are you sitting comfortably? Good! Then we can begin.

First we must travel a long way, not geographically mind you, but chronologically. We must allow ourselves to remember the summer of 2009. Let’s first see if we can build a sense of being there:

MJ died
Swine Flu
Kanye west says “Yo Taylor!”
Pink sang Funhouse

Do you feel 2009 come flooding back?

I don’t know what you guys were doing back then, but I had been working at the bar for 9 months (the length of a standard human pregnancy for the mommies or half the length of the average gestation period for the black rhinoceros for the zoologists). In about a month I would get promoted to shift manager. This was much faster than usual, and would cause some trouble among my colleagues. Why is this relevant? you may ask. Well, oh impatient one, it is important because what is about to unfold before your inner eye was the main reason I was promoted ahead of time.

Where were we? Oh yeah. We had just landed smack bang in the middle of summer 2009. Summer is a tricky time in a bar. It can be insanely busy or almost dead. Especially in a town like this that is not loaded with tourists. The regulars are away and we’re not really on the main street so you’d have to walk a little out of the way to randomly stumble upon us.

One fateful Wednesday night there had hardly been any guests and when the clock struck midnight we decided to close early. Think about it you guys. A bar closing early! That’s a sad night.

Five past midnight a guy walks in. Typical rich kid. You could practically smell the private school on him. Popped collar on his Fred Perry shirt, spiked up hair with so much gel that you could have done an Ajax impression on it (The Iliad you guys, look it up), completely new Sperry top-siders and a fancy watch, which just looked wrong on the skinny wrist of an 18 year old kid.

He’s the only guest and he goes straight for the bar while loudly proclaiming “Well this place is dead!” Yeah thanks bud, hadn’t noticed. Cough Douche cough. The only people in the entire bar are me, my shift manager Lance and Rich McDouche and he won’t even order anything. He just goes “Nah I’m good.” We can’t close as long as he’s there, such is our plight. So Lance busies himself in the back, and I stand behind the bar practicing the Greek alphabet in my head.

Rich McDouche decides he’s going to try and chat me up. “Okay” I think “he obviously doesn’t know this is a gay bar. It’s cool I’ll just tell him I steer the punt from the Cambridge end (bat for the other team for the allegiance pledgers, lidt til en side for the MIGHTY DANES! ahem) and he’ll come off it.

He didn’t. If anything it only made him more persistent. He tried lame pickup-line upon lame pickup-line and I could hear Lance cracking up in the backroom.

A little about Lance you say? Sure thing! Lance is the same age as me and has been at the bar a year longer than I have. He’s a fun guy, always up for causing a bit of havoc and he always has a vulgar joke ready for when he feels things get to serious. Lance is not a great bartender, but as a service worker and a shift manager he is amazing. He could hold a pleasant conversation with a mime, and he always puts the bartenders’ safety and happiness first. We’re lucky to have him at the bar, and I was especially lucky he was there on this particular night.

Anyways, after about ten minutes of Rich McDouche trying to pull, and failing miserably at it, he seems to undergo a sudden change. Whatever substance he had dropped, it decided to kick in right now. Electrical impulses fired through his brain, he licked his lips incessantly, and his gestures became more aggressive and seemed somehow stiff, his pupils dilated until his eyes were almost completely black. Just two black pools in his pale, sweaty face. So black I could see myself in them if he’d only sit still long enough.

His tactic changed along with his physical behavior. A moment ago he had been throwing compliments after me like they were beads at a Mardi Gras parade, now he was just being plain old mean. Calling me all sorts of nasty things, leaning over the bar to get in my face, and getting ever more aggressive. Lance reappeared from the backroom to see what the trouble was. He basically told Rich, that if he had a problem he was more than welcome to leave.

That sent Rich McDouche over the edge.

He jumped up on a barstool and went to clamber over the bar top. Luckily Lance was quick and set his palm against Rich’s face and just pushed back. He fell to the floor. Meanwhile, I was jamming the panic button so hard a little spring came flying out going “WHEEEEEE”, and Lance was yelling at Rich to “LEAVE NOW AND NEVER COME BACK!”

McDouche had other plans though. He started running around the bar and throwing anything he came near. He was yelling and screaming. In the beginning they were words, but quickly they just became sounds he was bellowing. Sometimes at us, sometimes at the inventory and at times simply at thin air. We could not get in contact with him at all.

We could wait for the police to arrive and let them handle it, but he was really fucking the place up bad. So instead of standing behind the bar, staring in terror, I decided to try something completely absurd.

I yelled out “LOOK AT THIS!” and I yanked my shirt up over my head

It got real quiet, real fast.

When I pulled my shirt back down and regained my view of the barroom Rich was standing, in the middle of a pile of tables, mouth agape, sweat stains on his shirt, a chair raised over his spike-haired head, and just staring at me. Lance’s mouth kept opening and closing like a trout on dry land.

CLANG

The chair dropped to the floor. Rich McDouche made a run for it.

Moments later the police pulled up and we quickly explained what had happened, and in which direction Rich had run. They sent a patrol after him which returned ten minutes later with a drenched McDouche. Apparently he had tried to escape by jumping in the river, but this being the middle of summer the currents were not especially strong so the two officers simply split up, one patrolling each bank, and waited for him to get cold and come ashore.

Rich was charged with destruction of property, disorderly conduct, and possession of class A narcotics. We never saw Rich McDouche again.

The evening wasn’t quite over yet though. After closing up, Lance did the responsible thing and sat me down to talk about what had happened and make sure I was okay. I was completely unfocussed throughout this conversation. I had spotted a couple of rubber swords that one of the bartenders who was in to live action role play had forgotten in the backroom.

Let the record show that we very quickly went from “let’s talk about our feelings” to “how about we instead use our adrenaline on a sword-fight around the entire bar?”. There was jumping over over-turned tables, balancing on armrests of sofas, ducking behind beer crates, taunts, spins, parries, lunges and a dive roll that nearly caused a trip to the ER. All the essentials of a truly epic sword-fight!

Running around the bar, fighting with rubber swords and just getting all that pent up crap out, is, to this day, one of my most treasured memories from working at the gay bar.

Oh and the promotion to shift manager that came a month later? Lance told the guy who used to be manager at the time how I handled the stress off the situation and how I flashed an 18 year old rich kid just to stop him from trashing the bar.

Promotion by boob-flash, crossed off of my bucket list!

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