Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Drinks, the donut shop and the fight

For reasons I will explain at a later time, I am in something of a reflective mood of late.  A comment on a recent post about the virtues of Canada's 10th province, Newfoundland, got me to thinking about an experience I had with a 'Newfie' some twenty years back.

A long time ago, when I was around twenty years of age, I got the tar kicked out of me.  It was the last fight I ever engaged in.  Yes, the individual whose clothes I dirtied with my blood, he was a Newfie.

I was out with a young woman named Annie, I wouldn't say we were dating though, we were out drinking.  Actually, drinking would be understating it, we were getting smashed, sloggered, sloshed.  Annie was a native Australian, and she had boasted that she could drink me under the table.  Being a proud Canadian I had to take up the challenge, so we headed to a local watering hole. 

Who won? 

Neither of us ended up under the table, so I'll call it a draw.  But given that I am the one telling this tale, and given equally that everyone likes to be the hero of their own narratives, I will include this.  I was mixing  between beer, rye, rhum and vodka, while Annie stuck with beer.  So maybe I did win.

After the bar closed Annie and I headed to a coffee shop close by.  Nothing unusual, two drunks sipping coffee and acting stupid.  And we weren't the only ones either, Frank was there too, the Newfie in this story.  I knew Frankie, he'd been a neighbour of mine years before, and we'd never had any problems, but then we'd never been in the same place at the same time, both pissed to the gills, with an attractive young woman present.

Frankie, oblivious to my presence, aside from a cursory greeting, took to flirting with Annie.  I tend to avoid confrontation as a rule, so I simply asked Frank to leave us alone...saying something banal like: "Frank, do you mind"?

It actually worked, Frank moved back to his booth, but being likely as drunk as we were, he came back again and again to flirt with Annie.  Finally realizing that polite requests to leave us be weren't going to work, I got much bolder, saying something close to:  "Frankie, would you just f*** right off"!!!

Now I'd done it, this was a challenge and Frank wasn't one to back down.  I have Irish descendants myself, and Annie was out with me dammit!!!  I know I said we weren't actually a couple or anything, in point of fact Annie had a bit of a reputation, she was considered by some to be the town bike.  Well it was my turn!!!

Once outside I took the full measure of my opponent.  He was maybe 6'2" and a roofer by trade, probably about 210 pounds of solid construction working muscle.  I had my 5'11 inches of 190 pound office working muscle to do battle with. 

In short, I was dead. 

Too add to the physical disadvantage I was at, Frankie I later learned, had only just got out of jail.  Realizing I had zero chance of winning this fight, but equally realizing there was no way to back down, I threw myself at him and actually managed to get him down on the ground in a headlock.  I believe I had the better of him for perhaps a nanosecond.  It wasn't long before I was on the ground getting the boots taken to me.  I use the word boots strictly as an expression, they were in fact running shoes, and thank God for that. 

The police came touring through the parking lot not long thereafter and were quick upon the scene.  They intervened, and with me being supported by two friends inquired: 

"What happened here"?

Now, like many people there have been times where, long after a particular incident, I think of the perfect thing to say, this was not one of those times.  Rather than coming out with something dumb I actually thought of the right thing to say on the spot.  I didn't want anything more to come of this, and I knew that Frankie had had his share of incidents with the local police.  I wasn't going to be a rat in other words.  My exchange with the cops was this:

"What happened here"?
"I fell".
Incredulous, "You fell"?!?!?

The onlookers even chuckled.  A note to anyone who wants to come up with snappy retorts on the spot, get drunk and be suffering from a slight concussion.

That should be the end of the tale, but its not.  A week or so later I was having a drink after work in a bar when the waitress brought me another that I hadn`t ordered.  Telling her this she pointed over to the bar and told me it was from a guy sitting at the end. 

That guy?  Frankie the newf :-)

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