Bar Fight

Bar Fight — by Missy Amore

“You going out tonight, Tim?”

Tim rubbed the back of his neck, trying to hide his embarrassment. “Nope.” He was hanging out in the grungy living room of the house eight college seniors shared. Too old for dorms and too broke for respectable housing, they slummed in a four bedroom house with so many tenant changes that the front door lock had been removed out of convenience to the slumlords.

Rowdy, (he swore that was his given name) looked sympathetic. “Life’s tough, ain’t it? You haven’t had a girl as long as we’ve lived here. You must…”

“How would you know?”

“You sleep in your bed, alone, every night. And when I come in late, or early, you’re snuggled up to your pillow.” Rowdy mimicked him, hands under his chin, looking pittiful.

“Don’t be an ass.” Tim’s eyes cut to the television before this became an argument. But a roach crawled across the couch cushion by his foot. “Eww,” he shuddered and jumped up.

Rowdy laughed and pointed at him until Tim pointed back. “He’s coming for you now.”

Rowdy leapt to his feet and sobered immediately. “Yo, fuck! Seriously?” He spun around and faced the chair he had just vacated, then spun back to Tim. “You’re bullshittin’ me. There was nothing there.”

Through his laughter, Tim swore, “There was. There was a roach on the back of the chair. He was looking at your neck.”

Rowdy checked the neck of his shirt and thoroughly shook out his clothes.

“I’m gonna walk to Food Lion and buy some more fogger. I can’t even eat in here anymore.”

“I’ll come with you. I want McDonalds.”

Outside Rowdy said, “I know how you can get laid. You ever heard of Maddy?”

Tim knew Maddy. He had a class with her, but he said no.

“She will sleep with anyone. She’s done multiple guys in one day. Just say, ‘can I buy you a drink,’ and instantly you can tap that. We’ll go find her tonight.”

“I was planning on the Griffin. There’s a lot of hot girls there.”

“Those sorority bitches only do it with each other and they won’t even let you watch.” That thought occupied their prurient fantasies throughout the day.


That night Tim tried to look as attractive as possible. The truth was he had not been with a girl in over a year. He never went to bed with someone he had just met and he wasn’t about to start now. He wouldn’t find a girlfriend at a bar, but staying home with the roaches was just depressing.

Tim checked his look in the mirror. Black polo. Dark blue jeans. Gel in his brown hair. When he sucked in his gut he looked alright. Despite his daily push-up and sit-up routine, he still looked like a big marshmallow. He had seen guys much uglier than him with girlfriends, but for some reason he was never that lucky.

As they walked to the Griffin, Rowdy stopped and stared at the line of people heading into the neighboring bar. Tim had never been in there. They did not welcome college students. It looked grungier than their house and the music that rattled the windows was explicit and angry.

Rowdy pointed, “There’s Maddy. Let’s go.”

Tim recognized the woman in line as the Maddy from his history class. He knew what people said about her, but she seemed quite ordinary to him. He usually spent class staring at her wavy brown ponytail. She seemed reasonably attractive, and not at all sexually depraved.

Surprisingly the bouncer let them in. They engaged the routine immediately. Buy beer. Wander. Chat with people – well, scream in their ear and pretend you know what they said back. Tap a foot to the music. Order a second beer.

“Okay.” Rowdy clapped him on the shoulder and spoke rapidly. “She’s leaning on the wall over there. I see my target. Good luck.” He ran, grabbed a purse off the back of a recently vacated bar stool and darted out the door after a swaying cluster of drunk women.

When he looked at Maddy, she was looking right back at him so he shrugged off Rowdy’s sudden desertion. He made his way to Maddy and shouted, “Can I buy you a drink?”

She smiled at him the way you smile to a friend at a funeral. “Sure.” He led her to the vacated bar stool and gestured for her to sit. It was the only seat, but there was room for him to stand beside her. She requested a Natty Light.

“You like that stuff?”

“No, but it’s cheap.”

Tim shook his head. “What do you like?”

“I think they have a Sierra Nevada here. I like that.”

When the bartender brought the Natty Light he paid for it and ordered the Sierra Nevada on tap. He set the can aside to the disgust of the bar tender. When the new drink was delivered, he tapped his glass to hers. “You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. Where have you been hiding my whole life?”

She gave him an incredulous laugh.

“He held out his hand. I’m Tim. Nice to meet you.”

When she held out her hand and said her name he took it and kissed the back of it. She looked quite surprised and hid her blush by picking up her glass.

“So, we have history class together.”

She gave him a blank look for a beat, then burst out laughing, not unkindly.

When Tim realized what he said he smacked his forehead. “I’m such an asshole.”

A bald man, built like a rugby player stuck his face in Tim’s. “Yeah, you are. That’s my girl’s seat.” He pointed to the seat where Maddy was sitting and she immediately slid out of it. Since the big man had gotten between Tim and the seat, she slid out the other side and was immediately blocked against the bar by a witch of a woman. “Where’s my purse?” She pointed a sharpened nail between her and the seat. “I left it right on the back of the chair.”

Maddy held out her hands, palms up. The witch grabbed her wrists and yanked her away from the bar. She elbowed the bald man. “Let’s get her.” He turned away from Tim and picked up Maddy by the waist. Tim followed, but was slowed by the crowd. As they dragged her towards the center of the non-dancing dance floor the crown began to chant “Rape! Rape!”

Fear bolted through his center and his adrenaline sped his heart rate. He looked around. The bar tender looked on blankly and the bouncer stepped inside, pulling the door shut behind him. Every patron seemed to be chanting lustily, men and women. No one looked familiar or sympathetic.

A circle formed around them, with Maddy sandwiched between her attackers, struggling. He knew if he tried to defend Maddy the frenzied crowd would pick him off. Even if he called the police, the damage would be done before they got here. His only idea was a terrible one, but he didn’t have time to come up with better.

Squeezing into the tightest of the crowd he shouted, “I can’t see!” and punched a man in the ear. He ducked and crawled away as the man he hit punched the unsuspecting man behind him. While he was crawling, he noticed another man with his pants hanging loose to show off his designer underwear. He yanked them down and popped up quickly, looking with surprise at the guy next to him and back and forth between him and the man with his pants on the ground. Predictably, a fight ensued. Someone dropped their beer. He caught the bottle and threw it across the room.

Now that the crowd was tussling, he entered the arena. The three were on the floor now. Maddy’s torn shirt discarded nearby. He picked it up and wrapped it around the man’s head, tying the sleeves behind. The woman with the claws attacked Tim. He shoved her off. An on-looker grabbed and restrained him while the bald man pulled the shirt off his head and turned his attention back to Maddy. Tim glanced at the woman next to him and noticed she looked frozen with fear. “Call 911!” He shouted to her. She had her phone in her hand as if she had been considering it. He threw his head back, hitting the face of the man restraining him and yanked his arms free. He had never been a fighter, but he could do fifty pushups in a row. He figured that ought to count for something. To the frozen woman he barked, “Call!”

Then he kicked the bald man in the side of the head, putting his extra weight behind it was enough to shove him off balance. He grabbed Maddy by her upper arm and hauled her to her feet. She wrapped her arms around her exposed breasts. “Fight!” He ordered and dove into the crowd, hauling her behind him. Getting through to the door would be impossible but they had to try. He shoved and they shoved back until a hand gripped the back of his shirt. He turned to be punched right on the cheek by the bald guy. Tim put all his fear and anger in his fists. He hit the guy in the nose and got punched in the chin hard enough to spin around and fall sideways. It probably would have been comical if this were a movie. As he scrambled up and dodged a kick, he noticed that the claw woman had Maddy in a choke hold. Suddenly the woman who might have called 911 hit the claw woman over the head with a fire extinguisher. She went straight down, pulling Maddy with her. Maddy scrambled to her feet as the crowd was sprayed with foam from the extinguisher.  “Go! Go! Go!” She screamed as Maddy lunged through the foam and cringing spectators. As the bald guy looked at his injured woman, Tim bolted after Maddy, glancing back to make sure the woman with the fire extinguisher was coming.

The bouncer opened the door for them and yelled, “Hey, what’s going on here?” as if he didn’t know.

Outside, beyond the music and the screaming, they could hear the police sirens coming close. The sidewalk was crowded with people waiting for the doors to open. They backed away from the foam covered trio, one topless, one bleeding and battered and the third wielding a fire extinguisher. Once in sight of the approaching squad cars, Tim pulled off his shirt and offered it to Maddy. She pulled it on and began to cry. Tim pulled her against his bare chest and cradled her head.

A bar is a terrible place to pick up a girlfriend (and her new best friend) but Tim would never let go.