No, not the band, that would be way better
literally bum fighters
not to worry, it doesn’t happen all the time. But every so often, mostly near the 1st of the month, we get some skid row types looking to get drunk on the cheap. Given the Arena has great happy hour specials and is located very close to a shelter, we end up being the bar of choice.
Let me add that not all homeless people are drunks, nor do all homeless people cause trouble. Working at the Arena all these years has taught me that many have faced hard times and are doing everything within their power to change their situation. But, the people that stand out are the people that are addicts of one type or another and end up causing trouble.
We have a sort-of-regular, I’ll call Mountain Man Merv, because I don’t know his name and he always appears to have just stepped out of a month long trip into the woods. He is dirty. his beard is bushy and unkept, and he appears to have his camping gear with him at all times.
Now Mountain Man Merv isn’t usually a problem. The biggest difficulty we have with him is his desire to nap at the pool table and the company he keeps. Two weeks ago he brought in Mountain Man Merv Jr. The man looked exactly like him but younger. They shot a game of pool while drinking two dollar domestic pints like we might run out.
Jr. did not like how the pool game was panning out and began pushing Moutain man Merv and swearing loudly. There were small children walking through with their parents,
I tend to deal with drunk people much the way a Mom might deal with an unruly child. I gave Merv and Junior a lecture about little kids trying to have dinner with their parents, not needing to hear or see that kind of behavior. I told them they could push each other and swear outside if they wanted to act the way they were acting.
That’s the good thing about Arena bum fights. It is easy for anyone to stop them. It’s the twenty one year-old frat boy fights or the angry drunk girls that are most difficult to calm. Bum fights usually lack the physical endurance and motor skills to become serious. Not to mention, bums are used to not being welcome. So when they find a place like the Arena…a place that will accept their money the same as we will accept the money of anyone else, they try their best to not get banned.
Last night Mountain Man Merv was back, but he left Jr somewhere else. He was on a mission and didn’t want Jr to ruin it for him. He had money to spend and wanted to get drunk before the day ended.
Yesterday, Merv brought 2 friends in with him. A woman that appeared to be newer to the homeless scene. She seemed a little healthier and a little closer to fitting in with average society. She was built like a light weight wrestler or a gymnast. The third person was an older man that looked like he might not be homeless at all. He was clean, had a nice coat and aside from age, seemed to be in pretty good health. He looked like somebody’s grandfather and not at all like he’d been sleeping in the woods for years. The only indication that he was homless was his lack of dental care.
They were all behaving well until I heard the woman say something very vulgar to the older man. She was yelling that he liked little girls and was very graphic. Then she landed a loud, well placed slap on his cheek that I knew had to sting.
(Speak of the devil…Mountain Man Merv just walked in and ordered 3 $2 pints for him and his new group of friends! PS Merv tips better than most college students.)
Anyway, Mike, the owner was there to keep a close eye on the crew
Then, the woman landed another well placed slap. Mike stormed over and told her to stop or he would kick her out.
Minutes later I watched the old man take the winter hat from her head and dance a child-like taunting dance at her. She had a lit cigarette and backhanded him, cigarette first across the mouth. He grabbed his face and I thought he might actually be hurt. Remember, she is built like an athlete and he is an old man. Mike confronted them, and told them both to leave in a way that conveyed it was in their best interest to leave and not argue.
The older man agreed and tried to pound his beer quickly. The woman, however, thought there was room for discussion.
I paid for this beer!
I’m not leaving yet!
He’s the problem not me!
You’re going to have to call the cops!
That last sentence was it. Mike responded calmly, “No, I don’t have to call the cops, I will drag you out of here and set your ass on the curb and the cops won’t have anything to do with it.”
She looked in his eyes, realized he was serious and walked out on her own. About twenty minutes later Merv, who was allowed to stay, fell asleep on his table and had to leave too.
Like I said before, never a character shortage at the Arena. Bum fighters, obnoxious Republicans, people that wish to pay using Japanese yen…
In the words of most of the Arena staff, It’s funny because it’s true.