February 25, 2007

The night is peaceful enough. The pub has been busy, though not too busy. There are still some seats available, unusual for a Friday night. The TVs have been focussing on tonight’s train crash. Nothing seems amiss. One woman’s clearly had too much, and is sitting head-in-hands in the corner while her friends pass her cautionary glances. People are crowded around the pool table, been playing for a few hours. One guy sits alone, proudly wearing a t-shirt which announces he’s from Canada. He receives a text message, takes a last look at the TV screen, then leaves.

Suddenly, a glass goes flying; I duck, instinctively. No need to worry; what looked like shards of glass heading for me was actually ice. I look over to the origin. I can’t easily tell what’s happening. It looks like one of the guys from another table was getting a bit too touchy-feely with one of the girls, at which point she retalliated. Quite right. Good on her.

He steps back, startled. Swears quietly under his breath and heads out of my line of site. In any sane world, that would have been the end of things. The girl is staring in his direction defiantly. It’s the “don’t mess with me” look. The look that, by all rights, should put any man in his place. Drunk or not.

Moments later he marches back into my field of vision, screams “throw a fucking drink o’er me, will ye?”, before throwing half a pint of lager over the girls hair. He’s done this quickly enough and turned back that she’s so startled as to not be able to immediately fight back.

Looks of surprise and shock all round at her table. Again, the guy has walked out of my line of sight. I figure that’s the story over, when suddenly a glass flies through the air. It hits one of the air conditioners before shattering into hundreds of tiny bits, spraying both glass and liquid over a good portion of the clientele.

Time to make a sharp exit, I think to myself. The sound of a bar about to turn nasty is one we should all learn as young things, certainly before we go out to the pub for the first time.

People stand, people shout. People look fucking angry. Nobody wants glass landing on them on a quiet night out. I can’t see where the guy is now, but from where everybody else is looking, he’s still there. Wives and girlfriends urge their partners to calm down, and most obey.

The rest obey when two security staff arrive. Security kicks out both parties involved in throwing glasses. Standard procedure, and god-damned common sense, states that they kick the two parties out with a good few minutes gap between them. This way, there’s less chance of having to call the police.

We leave also. That’s enough excitement for us for one night.


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