Note: Lots more words in this post than you’re used to. Don’t worry. I’ll give you a podcast version so you can rest your eyes, if need be.
We wanted to try something new Saturday night. We decided on the Kansas City Power and Light District.
Fearful of tight parking, we chose a space several blocks away. It’s no surprise we ended up at The Zoo, the first hole in the wall available.
The walls, ceilings and ductwork showed years of magic-marker graffiti: people’s names, pleas for sex, the phone number for Arthur Bryant’s barbecue, and anything else one might write while drunk. The bar encourages this behavior and provides the magic markers. It took Amanda several minutes to find a spot to scribble “Amanda was here,” that’s how prolific the graffiti was.
We were young for the mostly middle-aged crowd. A group of five or six abandoned their seats at the bar and left for the night. We were glad to take these seats and improve our access to $2.25 Bud Light cans.
Jon took the seat next to the Photo Hunt at the end of the bar, Chris to his right, me to the right of Chris, and Tony to my right.
The lights were low, the music was good, the beer was in cans. We shot some shit with the bartender, Laura. Chris and I went to high school with her, so it was good catching up. We enjoyed the scene.
Then, a sketchy dude wanted to borrow Jon’s cell phone to make a call.
This guy was at the bar alone. He claimed to have lost his phone the day before. Jon decided he didn’t want to lend his phone to some scary guy looking to call God knows who. The dude didn’t give up easily. They were having a pretty heavy argument but managed to talk in reasonable “inside voices” for what seemed like five minutes.
During their conversation, a new text message and voicemail showed up on my phone. I didn’t dare check. If the guy had seen my phone, he’d move from Jon to me. Jon is far better suited for these situations than I. I was glad to be two seats down from the action, just close enough to get the good bits of conversation but far enough to avoid any flying objects.
Then, the loud profanities came in full force. It started with the guy yelling “That’s fucked up!” and ended about a minute later when he called Jon a “Fucking pussy!”
That’s when an off-duty bartender told him to buy a drink or leave. He said he’d take a Coors Light. They asked to see his money. He said he’d take the beer first, then give the money. They weren’t falling for it. She threatened to call the police. The guy didn’t think she would. She did.
He warned that the owner would be pissed when he finds out about this ordeal. The off-duty bartender challenged the guy to name the owner. He couldn’t. But he still wouldn’t leave.
The guy was black, which isn’t relevant until this part of the conversation. He asked Jon “What are you guys going to do if we get a black president? You all are gonna be pissed!” We chose to bite our lips and stay silent. We felt we might agitate the situation if we admitted that we would likely move to Canada if America puts one of them colored people into the presidency.
Then, he walked to the other side of the bar. Somehow, he convinced someone to buy a beer for him.
A group of unfortunate girls got to listen to him talk about how he was a “Ninety thousand dollar a year steelworker.” He asked “Can your husband or boyfriend paint steel at 500 feet?”
At this point, my testicles retreated deep into my abdomen, cowering at the sheer volume of masculinity on display. Nothing gets the girls hotter than a self-proclaimed rich man who paints steel at 500 feet, yet “loses” his cell phone and can’t afford a can of beer at $2.25.
Two cops walked in, touched base with the bartender, then told the guy to leave.
We never made it to the Power and Light District. The Zoo was too fun to leave. Next time, I’ll draw a magic-marker penis on the wall or something.