The group had just wandered into the bar, lured by the promise of cheap beer and a certain golf video game. There were two couples and two single people, all in their twenties and actively engaged in an animated conversation as they walked towards the back of the bar. The men already decided that they wanted to have a clear path to the Golden Swing machine. They filed in around a high wooden table, gingerly touching the top to find it was still sticky from the last patrons.
No sooner had they taken off their coats and started to look around for a server, a man swaggered over and made himself a place of his own at the corner of their sticky table. He wedged himself between the only single woman and her older camouflage wearing brother.
“So how did you like the wedding?” he asked. The man wore a crisp white collared shirt with a loosened tie. He didn’t stumble or slur his words, but his bright red cheeks and watery eyes gave away his state of sobriety. Additionally, his conviction that the street clothes wearing group had just been at the same wedding where he was clearly over-served did not help his case for being a clear headed and rational type of person.
A female server approached as the original group laughed among themselves at the man’s mistake. He continued to hold his place on the corner and talk about the wedding that only he attended.
“What are we drinking tonight?” the server asked, holding a tiny notepad.
“A round of beers for my new friends,” the stranger declared.
The server nodded her head in acknowledgement and slipped the notepad back into her apron without writing anything.
“Coming right up,” she said as she walked away.
Only a few minutes passed before the server reemerged from the crowd with a bucket of bottles. In the meantime, the intruder wrapped his arm around the young woman’s shoulders and insulted her older brother’s beard. He fought with the women about attending the wedding and tried to prove that his sister was an undeserving-of-love whore. The stranger was quickly revealed to be a creepy drunk and effectively turned the atmosphere sour by the time that the drinks arrived.
Then the stream of conversation divided into two; the men focused on a discussion of alcohol and the women began to plan where they would go next to escape the creep as he continued to lean on the young woman. She, in turn, was leaning away from the man and flashing help me/warning looks to her older brother.
Sensing the young woman’s waning interest, the intruder jokingly tried to regain her attention by collectively addressing the women, “Don’t you girls ever shut up? It’s time to shut your traps and listen to the men talk.”
Simultaneously, the women turned to look at him in shock.
“Don’t you think you should have a little more respect for women? Especially, the ones who are right in front of you?” one of the older, married women asked, glaring at the stranger.
“Nope,” he replied. “Why bother?”
The glares of dislike turned into repulsion for the rude man.
“It’s time for you to move on, buddy,” the husband across from the stranger stated, putting his beer down with force. His wife saw the muscles in his face twitching with sudden anger towards the stranger.
“Just because your wife is a bitch?” the stranger asked and threw his hands up in surprise.
“Nope, it’s just time for you to go,” the other husband said. The stranger crossed the line of no return for the normally most congenial and friendly men.
The stranger pretended not to hear the request and hunkered down, ready to weather the storm and finish drinking his beer.
The server happened to passed by and was flagged by one of the incensed women.
“Excuse me, could you help us to convince this creep to leave our table?” one of the wives asked.
Raising her eyebrows in question, the server inquired, “I thought he was your friend?”
“No, this is just a lonely, drunk who wandered up here and now he’s being nasty to us,” the other wife explained the situation.
It took getting the bouncer involved, a large, black man, before the stranger finally left his post with a sneer and a few evil comments.
After the stranger sauntered off under the gentle arm of the bouncer, the young woman asked, “When does it not make sense to respect someone? I just don’t get that guy,” she said, searching for guidance from her older brother and married folks.
Her brother laughed, “Let’s just say, you should always assume the other person has something worth respecting. You had nothing to fear from that guy, trust me.” Discreetly, he pulled up his shirt to reveal the handle of a gun tucked into the waist of his jeans. The gun glinted in the dingy bar light: cold, hard, and black.