Last night I went out to Crockett Street for Halloween with my sister Terry, her husband Dan and some other friends. We started out at Antones for a Jimmy Buffet tribute band and at about midnight one of the guys and I went out on the street to see what was going on out there. The streets were packed and we watched a little of the costume contest then decided to check out what was going on in the Black Cat. (Here is Wang Chi's version of the night's events.)
We stood in line at the Black Cat for about thirty minutes and got inside at around 12:30 a.m. (I'm guessing). We walked around the club and then found some comfortable chairs near the bar where it wasn't so loud and we could sit and talk. By this point we had quit drinking except for one Shiner Bock and a Smirnoff Ice which we sipped on until closing time which was three hours later due to the time change. For the record (and there might be a need for an official record later), we did each do a test-tube shot from a shot girl not long after we sat down. My point is that, by closing time, we were stone cold sober.
At about 2:15 a.m. the bouncers started herding everyone out down the fire escapes near where we were sitting. Two of the bouncers were doing this in a normal bouncerly kind of way. The other asshole (we shall call him Paul because someone told my friend that is his name) started yelling at people, "Get the fuck out! I'm serious! This is bullshit." There were at least a hundred people going quietly and orderly down the stairs and another hundred or so people still in the club waiting to make their exit. This included my friend and I.
My friend recently fell off his roof during the after hurricane cleanup and cracked a few ribs and vertebrae. There was no point in us standing up and getting in line to go nowhere until the crowds thinned out. At this point Paul the bouncer started yelling, "Get out of the chairs! NOW! Everybody out." I restate the fact that there was nowhere to go. My friend and I stood up at that point and I said to him, "There's nowhere to go until all of those people get out." I'm not sure but I think the bouncer might have heard me. At this point, the bouncer pushed over a chair right in front of us which had a guy sitting in it and started screaming at the guy, "I mean it. GET OUT!". That guy was doing absolutely nothing. He wasn't even looking at the bouncer.
As we watched the poor guy get up off the floor, my friend said to the bouncer, "You're an asshole." The bouncer turned around (he was several inches taller and at least 50 pounds heavier than my friend) and said, "What did you say?" My friend said, "You're an asshole." At this point the bouncer pushed him backward over a chair. He fell straight back and was sort of spread out across two chairs.
All I could think of was his cracked ribs and vertebrae from a few weeks ago and I couldn't move. Another guy who we don't know helped him up and other (friendly) people began pushing us toward the door. I don't know what happened in there after we left and today I wish so badly that I had said something to the bouncer or had found a manager or one of my friends who is a waitress there. I was so afraid that my friend had re-hurt himself that all I could do was walk zombie-like with him down the fire escape with everyone else.
There is no excuse for assaulting innocent people for absolutely no reason. Of all the people we hang out with, my friend and I are by far the most low-key, mild mannered two of the bunch. If this is how this guy acts toward two of the possibly oldest and definitely most sober people in the club, I would hate to see how he treats the difficult customers. A bouncer's job is to keep order, not create more chaos. His acts of violence could have been the catalyst for a barroom brawl which, thank God, didn't occur.
My friend does not want to sue the club although he could. He is considering filing criminal charges and, at the very least, getting that asshole fired which would be in the best interest of the club as well as the general public.
What do you think?
I'm still really shaken up by this today and I've called my friend several times this morning to see how he's feeling but I keep getting his voicemail. If I hear from him, I'll let you guys know how he's doing and what his decision is regarding the bouncer.
I just received an e-mail from my friend which said, "I'm fine." I'm taking his word for it.