This crazy shit actually happened. I’ve probably fudged some of the dialogue (my past has left me with the short-term memory of a fruit fly), but it’s still pretty close.
I sometimes emcee trivia contests at bars, which is what I was doing on the evening of the Incredibly Stupid Woman. I’m not going to name the bar (for legal reasons which will become clear as we go), but I will say that it’s a really fun neighborhood joint that attracts an eclectic bunch of interesting patrons. Occasionally, the category “interesting patrons” includes one or more members of that very interesting bunch, the Hells Angels.
A number of Angels hang out at the bar, and on certain really weird nights will even play a round or two of trivia. I have a nodding relationship with a few of them. People tell me not to get too close, because Angels, like pit bulls, can go from sociopathic to really sociopathic with freakish briskness, but this is not information I, or any reasonably sane person, requires. (A good friend of mine was seriously injured by an Angel, and I once got sideways with one, but the details of both events can keep for now.) Over time I’ve learned the secret to staying even-steven with the one-percenters is simply to keep your shit straight around them. Don’t stare; don’t be a smartass; don’t leer at their women; don’t go looking for a fight, because you don’t fight one Angel—you fight them all. And sending over a round of shots wouldn’t kill ya either…
Anyway, I’m sitting at my little table, rattling off trivia questions in my oh-so witty and endearing way. There’s maybe thirty people in the bar, including an Angel and his rode-hard-n-put-away-wet girlfriend. And I mean a full-patch brother—top rocker, bottom rocker, the whole iconic shebang.
Enter the Incredibly Stupid Woman.
She comes in from the street-side entrance, a decidedly alky-pop wobble to her gait, and sort of, well, flows onto a stool at the bar. Everything gets a little murky for me at this point, though I found out later that the bartender hadn’t seen the woman arrive, and, more to the point, hadn’t realized the depth of her shitfacedness or she wouldn’t have served the big loonybird a double bourbon on the rocks and a bottle of Tecate. The woman re-enters my attention zone when I—and everyone else in the bar—hears her whisper-shout:
“Whatta you s’posed t’be? Some kinda faggy biker fag?”
Another thing you don’t do around the Angels—never, never, never—is fuck about with, or in any way cast aspersions upon, their patches.
Anyway, I wouldn’t say that one of those fabled “hushes” descends on the tavern, but
there’s a decided cessation of conversation in the area of the Incredibly Stupid Woman and her two nearest barmates: the Angel and his moll. The woman’s query also attracted the immediate interest of the bartender, as well as the establishment’s fine owner (the two are sisters, as it happens), both of whom bee-line it toward the Incredibly Stupid Woman. By the time the ladies arrive Mr. Hells Angel has hopped to his feet and stuck his stony grill about three inches from the Incredibly Stupid Woman’s porcine one.
“Fuckin cunt,” he says with less malice than you’d think; mostly a kind of contained menace. “You wanna talk like a man, I’ll drop you like one.”
To which the Incredibly Stupid Woman responds, and I am not kidding:
“Big talk, ya fuckin pussy fag.”
Several things happen at once. The Angel comes off his stool like there’re wasps in his drawers. The bartender leans across the bar in an attempt to keep him off the Incredibly Stupid Woman. The owner hot-foots it down the customer side of the bar, her boyfriend right behind, shouting “Hey! Hey! Cut it the fuck out!” and plants herself between the combatants, facing the Incredibly Stupid Woman.
Stupid people—especially when their already diminished cranial dexterity has been pimp slapped by too many cocktails—often simply forge ahead being stupid, even when faced with stark evidence warning them against continuing to follow their current game plan.
This stupid person was no different.
She howls something incomprehensible, takes two fistfuls of the bartender’s hair, and proceeds to make a good go of twisting the fine lady’s melon right off its stalk. Thankfully backup arrived before that could happen, in the form of the bartender’s boyfriend, who, together with the bartender, wrestled the Incredibly Stupid Woman away from the Angel, through the bar, and out onto the sidewalk.
Most of the patrons, including the Angel, his lady, and myself, trail along behind, to follow the drama from the front patio, chuckling and cracking wise while the bartender tries to talk the Incredibly Stupid Woman down, and the boyfriend uses his cell to summon a taxi. Despite the bartender’s efforts, though, the Incredibly Stupid Woman steadfastly refuses to go anywhere but up, up, up and away.
She starts staggering up and down along the patio rail, working herself into a full-throated drunken tirade.
“I’m gonna kill you all! I have a gun at home! I’m gonna go get it and come back here and kill all of you motherfuckers! Starting with you:” she shrieks at the Angel, “you fucking biker faggot!”
Wearing a grin that’s almost Grinch-like in its self-satisfied wickedness, the Angel steps to the rail and beckons the Incredibly Stupid Woman toward him with a crooked finger. She lumbers forward, opening her mouth to vent more stupid vitriol.
Before she can speak, however, the Angel says:
“Here you dumb cunt. Have some a this:”
And he triggers a can of mace, nailing her point blank right in the mush. The nozzle is so close to the woman’s face that the cloud of chemicals actually surrounds her head.
The fight goes out of her like somebody pulled her plug. She bawls in pain and rage. One hand goes to her eyes, almost attacking them, clawing at the burn, while the other, for reasons that baffle comprehension, shoots straight up in the air, like she’s testifying at a tent revival. Her mouth snaps shut as she spins around in a tight but graceless circle and lurches away from the patio, across the sidewalk, and…straight into the thickening Saturday evening traffic.
Brakes lock. Rubber squeals. Horns blare. Several of us on the patio blurt out our own individual versions of “Holy shit!” The bartender hurries into the street, and grabs the Incredibly Stupid Woman’s arm (the one not pointed at the heavens), yanking her back to the safety of the sidewalk, where she resumes her outraged bleating.
Almost at that same exact moment, an ambulance rolls to a stop in the middle of the street. No one called it. It just happened to be cruising by, just in time to witness the Incredibly Stupid Woman’s suicidal pirouette. Two paramedics climb from the vehicle and, after a quick conference with the bartender, one proceeds to shoot the Incredibly Stupid Woman full of quieting drugs, while the other pulls the stretcher from the back of the bus. Working in tandem, the EMTs leverage the Incredibly Stupid Woman onto the rolling bed and, as a precaution, since the drugs have only taken partial effect, handcuff her to the side rails. They leverage her into the ambulance, give the bartender a thumbs up, and motor away, surely to, first, an emergency room for a de-macing, and then to the drunk tank.
The observers on the patio disperse back into the bar, where the bartender buys a round of shots for the house. I linger for a few minutes, smoking, which is why I’m the first to note the arrival of a sheriff’s car.
I slip inside, looking for the Angel. He’s back on his stool, looking now more pissed off than he had during the entire event. Catching his attention, I point at the front door and warn him that the law has arrived. He slams the rest of his beer, slaps me on the shoulder, and exits the scene through the rear exit.
The deputy asks several of us a few perfunctory questions, jots something in a note pad, and leaves, all in less than ten minutes. And ten minutes after that, I’m back at the mic reading trivia questions.
And the moral to the story? Shit, you figure it out.