There are things that happen in this city that you’re not supposed to see. Things that are ugly, that don’t make much sense. Some of these things happen in dark places. Some of them involve the people you care about, but most involve people you’ve never met before. And a lot of them happen in bars, sometime between six and seven in the morning.
Ok, that previous paragraph was me trying to sound as though I was writing the opening to a crime show. Really, I’m not sure what the hell I was talking about. There was a purpose, though, and that was to set the tone. That’s right. I was setting the mood, like how restaurants dim the lights or Zalman King movies utilize the saxophone. Yes, I just made a Zalman King reference and I’m not ashamed of it. How many times have I seen Gone with the Wind? Once. Two Moon Junction? At least 30.
Or parts of it, anyways.
Let’s focus. I was attempting to set the tone because I did indeed witness a crime the other night, in a bar at about 6:30 in the morning. Since I’m not sure what to make of the events that transpired, let me cut straight to the facts and tell you what happened.
At the time of the crime, there were exactly eight people in the bar. No – check that – seven. The drunk Irish guy had gone. I was relieved. That left me, TTD, Kent, the three bar staff, and the perpetrator. Earlier in the night, we’d been drinking and having a blast. Kent and I talked baseball (it’s amazing how time flies when you’re debating Elvis Andrus versus Yunel Escobar), and TTD was having fun flirting with the drunk Irish guy. At one point, the drunk Irish guy tried to talk to me and Kent.
“What’re you talking about?”
“Aye, baseball,” he said, and pretended to have fallen asleep. Then he snapped back to attention. “Hurling. Now that’s a real man’s game. You know hurling is the fastest sport in the world?”
“Faster than hockey?” Kent said. “How many countries play hurling?”
I exited that conversation as quickly as I could. I had no idea what they were talking about. After the drunk Irish guy went back to hitting on TTD, I sat down with Kent.
“Isn’t hurling when they sweep the ice so that thing slowly rolls along? That can’t be the fastest sport.”
“You’re thinking of curling,” he said.
“Oh,” I said. “What the fuck is hurling then?”
“It’s on a field, with a ball and a stick…” he paused. “I don’t know. Nobody plays it.”
Just then the guy who would eventually perpetrate the crime came staggering in. He was older, maybe in his late thirties, and he was completely bombed. The guy could barely walk. He stumbled over to a couch and collapsed on it.
“Shit man!” I said, alarmed. “That drunk fucker just sat on my coat.”
“Go get it. I’ll get the next round.”
I went over to the drunk guy and yanked my coat out from under him. Right next to him, there was a laptop for people to type in songs they wanted to hear – kind of like a jukebox. The music wasn’t keeping this dude awake, and as soon as I’d gotten my coat from beneath his rear end, he fell soundly asleep.
Hours passed. We paid the guy no mind. TTD sat next to me in a booth, with the drunk Irish guy and Kent on the other side. Suddenly, the drunk Irish guy got angry and glared at me. I gulped. He looked like he was about to rip my head off.
“You,” he said, pointing at me. “Tell me one good thing about my country.”
I panicked and said the first thing that came into my head. “Um…hurling is really fast!”
Kent and TTD shifted around uncomfortably. Later they would tell me that I sounded like a sarcastic asshole. I didn’t mean to – I thought he’d like that. He didn’t, though, and so Kent started trying to talk him out of killing me.
As he did, the bartended came over to us. “Do you know him?” he asked us, pointing to the older dude sleeping on the couch.
The bar owner shook his head. “He is so drunk he pissed all over himself. The couch is soaked.”
“I’m leaving,” the drunk Irish guy said, shoving a full beer bottle into his pocket. He gave us all a dirty look and wobbled away.
The bar staff was trying to wake up the dude who peed on the couch, and I turned to TTD. “You know,” I said, “that guy probably wasn’t angry with me about the hurling thing. He’s probably pissed off cause you flirted with him all night and then came and sat with me.”
“Well, you could’ve gone home with him if you wanted to. No judgments.”
“No!” she said, appalled. “I wouldn’t go home with that guy! I have no interest in him.”
“But you flirted with him for hours.”
She shrugged. “Yeah, well…I’m not interested.”
“Hmm,” I thought, “women are really nice.”
We were about to leave, but the urinator was now awake and attempting to run out of the bar. The bar staff chased him down the stairs and onto the street.
“We’re the only ones in this place,” Kent said. “Let’s raid the bar.”
That was a good idea, but we didn’t have enough time. The bar staff was back, with the guy in tow. They had his shirt pulled up over his head and they threw him down into a chair. The bar owner held the music laptop.
“You pissed on the laptop!” one of the workers said. “It’s fucking fried, man!”
“I will call the police!” another worker said, opening his cell phone.
“You fried his fucking laptop man! You peed all over his couch!”
“Don’t call the police man! I don’t want to go to Korean jail! I can’t go! I can’t go to Korean jail!”
“Well then pay us some fucking money! Pay us or we call the police!”
“I don’t have any money. I’m sorry! Please let me go!”
“We’re not fucking letting you go! You pissed on his laptop man! You gotta pay for that!”
It was a wretched scene. Humanity at its lowest. We decided we had to get the hell out of there. Not so much because of the bad scene…we wanted McDonald’s breakfast very badly.
“Help me!” the perpetrator called to us. “I don’t want to go to Korean jail!”
As we stood there, not knowing what to say, one thought kept going through my head over and over again: Thank freaking God I got my coat out from under that guy.