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October 2016, vol 12 no 3

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Jeff Streeby

Working the Door


Fourth of July
hot as all get-out
a cowboy band on the marquee

So this guy comes up and obviously he’s drunk. He’s loud and pushy and foul but there are three of us, Joe and Mike and me, so his opinions don’t really count for much. He can see that, so he leaves. Before he’s even out the door, behind us two college girls go after each other with pool cues and the fur starts to fly. Joe, a farrier from Wilson, collars them both and tries to settle them down. While he’s taking care of that, Mike, our manager and easily one of the biggest men I’ve ever seen in my life (his hands are the size of garbage can lids, I swear), turns to me and says, “I’ll be right back. I’m calling the Deputy. We threw that guy out this afternoon. He’s a Carnie, the one who ran the Tilt-a-Whirl with that midway show that moved out of here yesterday. That one’s a hard case and he’ll be back for more trouble.” He had no more than stepped into his office when Guess Who walks through the front door. We exchange a few choice words and I duck his sucker punch. Then I’ve got a handful of his shirt front and a handful of his belt and I’ve hoisted his skinny ass over my head but he pushes off the wall and we both go down. He’s out cold. And I’ve busted my knee.

They put him in the paddy wagon and the cops tell us he’s got warrants out from Phoenix and Prescott for armed robbery, aggravated assault, and parole violations. One of the girls from the t-shirt shop hauls me to the ER where the Doc drains about a pint of bloody fluid off my knee.

I’m on crutches for three weeks, so I miss the big hooraw that very next Saturday night when it takes all the bouncers, all the bartenders and all the bar-backs, 19 guys total, as well as 6 sheriff’s deputies to arrest three drunken cowboys from the Padlock Ranch. Sunday morning there are five more guys I know on the crippled list.

That was 1986. The Good Old Days. The knee stiffens up now every time the weather is about to go bad. I just spent 4 hours throwing snow onto a pile higher than my head. Again. And another 2 feet on the way. I can tell.

Lake effect snow
Way, way, way too much
essential nature to suit me


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