Tommy owned an ‘all you can drink’ restaurant. For one dollar, you could imbibe all night; beer, wine, mixed drinks or straight liquor, it made no difference. That was the hook. His buffet was expensive for the quality of food served, but profits have to come from somewhere. Tommy’s was alive, crowded and happening. It was not a date night destination. If you expected a quiet, romantic dinner, you had a better chance at McDonald’s.
Tuesdays at Tommy’s was ‘Fight Night’. His crowd was diverse, a much sought after goal these days, but not in a way you might think. His clientele contained a large contingent of violent characters of all persuasions. Having an ‘all you can drink’ policy led to a lot of fights. Recounting every altercation I saw would be excessive and attention seeking; for some reason, though, Tuesday at Tommy’s were particularly pugnacious. It was my favorite night to be on hand. What follows was a memorable Tuesday before ‘the change’.
The first altercation that comes to mind is the contest between the Incels and a gang of lesbian bikers, known as ‘The Violet Femmes’. One could be forgiven if you got their club name a little bit wrong; at first, I did. When I noticed the subtlety of their brand, I respected their observance of the copyrighted name of that famous Milwaukee punk band but admired the cleverness of the play on words. Their club jacket displayed a large violet on the back; the design, impressive. “The Violets ‘had balls’, I liked them.
I did not harbor the same affection for the Incels. Sporting thready, American Taliban beards, they each looked like they came directly from their moms’ basements. Looking more like school shooters or mass murders, the creepy vibe wafting from these chumps repelled everyone, particularly women. I am sure not their intention but it was the effect. In addition to these attributes, they liked needling ‘the lezzies’. ‘The Violets’ were not amused or impressed but tried to remain calm.
On this particular Tuesday, the Incels were exceptionally insufferable. A warning was given to them by one of ‘The Violets’, “Don’t let your bulldog mouths get your birdseed asses in trouble.” It was good advice and meant as an off ramp. If the Incels had taken it, calm would have prevailed. They didn’t.
While one can never be sure how the hostilities started. I believe it was the “lezzie crack whore” verbal smoke bomb tossed by one of the Incels into ‘The Violets’ camp that kicked things off. This drew the threat by ‘The Violets’ of “removing the Incels heads, hollowing them out and using the skulls as wine cups.” That comeback triggered the altercation. The ‘all you can drink’ whiskey probably was a contributing factor.
Tommy’s bouncers, witnessing the building tension, were prepared to take action. When the pushing and shoving started, they managed to get the belligerents out of the restaurant and into the parking lot. The contest was over quickly. The Incels did not prevail but none lost their skulls to wine cups, so it wasn’t a total beat down. Once this short disruption in the frivolity ended, everyone resumed drinking. It was the opinion of all present, “The floor shows here are the best”.
Meanwhile, back inside, the peace was about to be broken at the most unexpected of places, the buffet table. What is now known as the ‘fat girl slap down’ commenced. This conflagration came as a total surprise to everyone since the two participants were regulars and normally hung around the buffet table in good cheer. Perhaps the dearth of chicken wings ignited the fuse. The bouncers, on a smoke break, were caught unawares.
When the dispute erupted, I yelled to Tommy, “How did this start?”
He said “I think it was some damn thing at the buffet table.”
Facing an emergency, Tommy attempted to restore order alone by jumping between the slap happy contestants. He was out numbered, outweighed and out gunned. Waiting for the bouncers would have been a better tactic. For his trouble, he got two sweaty boobs crammed into his face and was slapped, hard, by one of the belligerents. Later, upon reflection, Tommy determined that must have been when he broke his tooth.
The bouncers relaxing smoke break was rudely interrupted by the commotion at the buffet table. Abruptly ending their repose, they intervened. Order was restored. Tommy was rescued, a little worse for wear, but they couldn’t save the buffet table which suffered irreparable damage. The area was quickly cleaned, a new table erected, and the buffet resumed. The adjacent wall will look brand new again once it gets a fresh coat of paint. While being ushered from the restaurant by the bouncers, the girls unleashed a hail of vile profanity directed at one another. Notwithstanding, tranquility and full service were restored.
On this very busy night, the last fight, I witnessed, was the most vicious dust up between two humans I had ever seen. I will call them them, Jennifer and Betty, to avoid legal entanglements. Not ‘uptown girls’, I would describe them more as ‘roller derby queens’. Jennifer was hefty with streaked ‘blonde’ hair that did not match her Mediterranean coloring. ‘The Violets’, among themselves, called the streaked hair shade, “Cuban Orange” but not one of us would ever say that to Jennifer’s face. Betty, tall and gangly, with dyed red hair and crooked teeth; resembled a descendant of Ichabod Crane. She had a long reach and a wicked right.
Each, unwittingly, shared a boyfriend; a cop. This ‘time share’ of a romance, once revealed, caused each woman to take a dim view of the other. Their initial confrontation occurred the night before outside the local police station. I can only image the cops surprise when the 9-1-1 dispatcher, reporting the battle location, pinpointed it on the steps of the police station. The incident ended once the cops emerged from the station with weapons drawn and surrounded the adversaries. Released on their own recognizance, each lady vowed a rematch. Although they vehemently denied it, the cops were afraid of these women.
These two had not intended Tommy’s to be where fisticuffs would resume. It was pure happenstance that they found themselves there together on that Tuesday. An ‘all you can drink’ promotion and these ladies were not a good combination. After a few rounds of ‘dirty martinis’ in the restaurant, these two found their way to the alley. Still a subject of much speculation, rumor has it, a parking space was the flashpoint. Who knows? Does it matter? When word arrived in the restaurant of the developing rhubarb in the alley, dinner adjourned to the scene of the impromptu skirmish. Prime viewing spots filled quickly.
Jennifer and Betty, being fluent in vulgarity, started this tilt hurling strings of profanity at one another. Modesty and my bad memory prevent repetition of those words in this space. I sincerely apologize for my failure to accurately recall the dialog, but the fight, I remember it well.
Their preliminary moves, prior to physical contact, seemed less like boxers feeling out their opponent and more like rodeo clowns trying to distract an enraged bull from charging a dismounted cowboy; but, finally, there was contact. Betty landed the first blow, a long, crushing right to Jennifer’s nose. The bleeding was prodigious. It served to enrage Jennifer and enliven the cheering onlookers. Not to be out done, Jennifer, eyes now clearing, got a groin kick into Betty. We were all glad such a blow had not befallen any of us. As Betty tried to straighten up, Jennifer yanked out a hank of her dyed red hair. Much wailing and howling filled the air. It was unsettling.
An Incel, witnessing the hair pulling mayhem, said, “I wonder if that spot will grow back.”
Surprised he had the courage to show his face at Tommy’s; I looked at him and said, “Probably will before your beard fills in.”
Taking offense, he was about to step toward me when he saw one of ‘The Violets’ holding on to my arm. Remembering the ‘skull thing’, he retreated.
Now, getting back to the main event, Betty circling to the right, crashed her fist into Jennifer’s left temple, forcing the big girl to her knees. Smelling blood, Betty closed in and leveled a kick intended to end this battle. At the same moment, Jennifer threw an upper cut directly into Betty’s groin, again. With the blows landing simultaneously, each crumpled. Having blasted enough grape shot into one another, the combatants, bleeding, bruised and exhausted, managed to scuttle away, nursing their injuries. The fight ended in a technical draw. Word of the viciousness of this battle spread rapidly. When it reached the boyfriend, afraid for his safety, he quit the police department and now lives somewhere out West.
That Tuesday night, memorable to be sure, was fairly representative of Tuesdays at Tommy’s. All good things, though, eventually come to an end, especially when your insurance company says they must. Under the threat of coverage cancellation, Tommy’s discontinued the ‘all you can drink’ policy. We all refer to that event as ‘the change’ because, after that, Tommy’s lost its magic.
‘The Violets’ moved on, no doubt looking for more Incels to terrorize. The fat girls, after promising to no longer engage in quarrels within Tommy’s, have had their access to the buffet table restored. Jennifer and Betty have headed west to find a certain former policeman; their search continues.
Now, I can finally enjoy my bacon cheese burger and onion rings in peace. I do miss the ‘floor shows’ though.