Wednesday, January 14, 2009


So there was this guy Petey who used to come into the bar pretty much every night. He was a coke dealer and had nothin' but time and money to spend. He was very protective of us girls (all female staff and no door guys or security) so he was good to have around. He showered us with money and sweet-talk and even though he did copious amounts of cocaine he never got out of control or anything, just a little manic now and then. I only ever saw him get aggressive once and it wasn't towards another person, it was directed at himself.

I could tell something was wrong the minute he came in. He was tense and shifty-eyed and unusually quiet. He sat at the end of the bar and just stared down at it, thinking hard about something. "What's going on, Petey?" I said, but he just mumbled something and continued to stare at the bar. So I got him his drink and went on about my business, taking the hint that he wanted to be left alone. A while later he suddenly snapped out of it and became a little manic, buying drinks for everybody and accumulating a small crowd. "Well, at least he's feeling social," I thought. I was tending to a crowd at the opposite end of the bar when I heard a loud banging sound coming from his end. I looked over to find him playing that game where you spread out one hand on the bar while stabbing a knife in between the spaces of the fingers with the other. Now I've seen drunk people do this before with a pen or with a much lighter hand, but Petey wasn't fucking around. He was giving it everything he had, taking huge chunks out of the bar. Everyone was too stunned to say anything at first, then just too scared to try and stop him for fear of getting stuck in the throat. This went on for a minute or two, all of us looking at him in horror and looking at each other, hoping someone would know what to do. "Well I'm not risking my life to jump in there, and it isn't MY bar," I decided. Just as I was wondering how long this was going to go on for, someone behind Petey put his hand on his shoulder and he flinched. A moment later, the unfortunate person sitting next to him at the bar was sprayed from head to waist in blood. Petey had cut off his finger.

Everyone started scrambling either for towels or to simply avoid being sprayed. I went for the first-aid kit but when I approached him with it, he simply pushed me away, leaned over the bar and grabbed the vodka out of the well, and started pouring it all over his hand. "I'm fine!" he kept saying. "Enny you guyzz everr bin SHOT?? HUH? Czzz I have ann this izz nuthinnn..."!" he declared, waving his hand around, his ring finger hanging on by a flap of skin.

There was one of those driving-video games in the bar, the ones where you climb in and there's a steering wheel and you drive around a course, racing other cars. Our was particularly cool because it was all San Francisco scenery. You can race around Alcatraz, North Beach, etc. That game was our favorite, especially Petey's. He would spend hours playing that game, and nothing was going to stop him. Not even cutting off his finger. He pulled a handful of quarters out of his pocket with his good hand and stumbled over to the machine. There was a hipster guy leaning on the machine, talking to a friend. Petey walked up to him, grabbed his hand, shoved the quarters into it and slurred "Hold these," and casually climbed right in. The poor guy was standing there, stunned, with a handful of bloody quarters, not knowing what the hell to do. I have to admit that part was pretty funny, even at the time.

So I put my foot down. "Petey, if you're not going to go to the hospital, I'm calling an ambulance." to which he replied, "Fuck you!" and stormed out, almost running over Donald, the owner of the bar, on his way out. Donald came in and looked around at the mess that Petey had made. There was blood EVERYWHERE. "What the hell happened in here?" he demanded.

"Well," I said, "Let me start by saying I am NOT cleaning this up."

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