The Unraveling: When a mic becomes a weapon
*Please note this post contains language which may be offensive to some readers.
The night had been harmless up until that point. Five friends were celebrating the fact that one of them was in from out of town. The worst of the evening’s shenanigans thus far had been us taking exceptionally long to figure out our dinner order followed closely by our second-rate group selfie-taking maneuvers outside the restaurant.
As we walked home, we passed the neighbourhood pub; east coast, lively, and within striking distance. What drew us in was the musical duo that was playing there that night. We knew of them from a previous event. The duo was talented and had a hilarious schtick to accompany their live music. They are so funny I may have once spat out my drink onto my shoes listening to them. I will neither deny nor confirm this claim.
We could see them from the window. I confirmed their identity with marked accuracy then shot off my mouth insisting we go in to listen to them. My rubber-armed friends faithfully and enthusiastically obliged.
We entered the pub and walked passed the duo en route to the bar at the back. Nightcap, please. The pub was small; there was no way to hide the fact we had entered at last call. Everything was going so well until it wasn’t.
Does anyone have a request? Damn straight we do. Skynyrd! This did not go over well. One bandmate, we’ll call him Newfoundland, laid into my friend, we’ll call her AC, about her poor song choice. She’s no wallflower; she played along and they bantered back and forth. Fun and entertaining. Fast forward to the end of their set. The crowd started to cheer, “One last song! One last song!” The other bandmate, we’ll call him Cabot, wittingly starting playing the first cords of Free Bird. Comedy genius. (I’m listening to the song as I type this story.)
Things quickly become very unfunny
Newfoundland stopped his bandmate. He then proceeded to rip into AC and told her exactly what he thought of her. Have you ever seen Jaws 4: The Revenge? This time, it’s personal. Only this time, it’s real life. Throughout the verbal onslaught, AC valiantly stood her ground not allowing Newfoundland to get the upper hand. This didn’t improve the situation. In fact, it enraged the musician even more. Allow me to paraphrase his rant:
“You come in here late and don’t pay cover.* You make terrible song requests. Blah blah blah (my memory is fuzzy here). You’re a cunt. I’ll see you tomorrow at the massage parlour with half my dick out.”
AC’s expert reply: “Sorry, but I won’t be there tomorrow.”
Sidebar. It begs the question: If you’re going to go to a massage parlour where happy endings are included, why would you only take half your dick out? Unless of course, half a dick is all you have. Now I’m not playing fair.
Fight, Flight, Freeze
It took us a second to realize this was no longer part of the act. What the what?!
Three of my friends, including AC, headed for the door.
The friend and I who knew of the group stayed frozen in place.
Cabot disappeared, slipping out the pub’s back door.
We had hit all three options in the fight-or-flight response. Impressive really. The most shocking reaction was from the patrons in the bar who cheered on Newfoundland in his attack on my friend. Shameful doesn’t cut it.
There was a heated exchange at the mic as my friends headed out the door. Newfoundland went outside to continue the altercation with my friends. Half the bar followed. Only one guy stood up for them. I thought I was going to witness a bar brawl in front of my nice, quiet neighbourhood pub.
Newfoundland’s final words to me were, again paraphrased: “It’s a comedy show, she needs to be able to take the heat. There are things in life that you do that you regret the next day. I think this is going to be one of those times. Cunt is just a word, like fuck or shit or whatever. It doesn’t mean anything.”
It sure as hell isn’t JUST a word, especially the way it was used that night.
I can’t hope to explain the shock, violation, disappointment, and even betrayal we felt that evening. We stayed up for hours talking about it. We posted on social media. To their credit, the owners of the pub reached out to us at 1:30 am. Cabot also extended his sincere apology and his cell number. He asked us to call him the next day. I didn’t fall asleep until 3:30 am, unnerved to the core.
The worse part of this whole story is the fact that I tried to rationalize it all. I even tried to reason with Newfoundland on the sidewalk about the bar. Is it because we didn’t pay cover? We went in there because of you!
Then I woke up.
After trying to figure out the why behind Newfoundland’s behaviour, I realized the why doesn’t matter. All that matters is the what. There is no excuse for his behaviour. I hope that whatever demons he’s grappling with that caused his unravelling won’t continue to get the upper hand. I hope he gets help. Most importantly, I hope that we have the chance to sit down face-to-face to get an apology from him. Anything less won’t cut it. My friend AC can fly back anytime, don’t you worry.
To my ladies, I am proud to call you my friends. If I was ever going to be verbally attacked and almost get into a bar fight I wouldn’t want to have it happen with anyone else.
I love you, you cunts.
*We were never told about the cover. There was no one at the door manning the ship. We later found out as patrons of the pub were under no obligation to pay the cover. It’s a restaurant and pub first; they’ll happily serve us no matter what. Did I mention the show was sold out? We had no idea about that either.
Photo credit: IFLY Magazine.