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Thursday, January 05, 2006
What's the proper decorum for when you're standing on the sidewalk outside of Kelly's Olympian in the middle of the night with two drunk friends and a nearby group of "gangstas" (sorry, my street slang dictionary is the 1991 edition) start yelling at each other?
When this scenario came up a few weeks ago, the three of us opted to continue smoking/talking/standing instead of fleeing/ducking/screaming "get down!" When the fists started flying instead of lead, I convinced my bleary-eyed colleagues it was time to head inside. After all, Kelly's sits in the same general area where several incidents of gun violence occurred earlier in 2005. We made it across the threshold before the two combatants started throwing each other up against the front entrance.
I head to Kelly's about once a year and the same thing happened during my previous visit. But this was no comical, fall-down- drunk slug fest. This time around neither of two brawlers opted to use a Tri-Met bus as a weapon, for example. Last year's fight was bizarre enough to draw a small crowd and afterwards one of the fighters casually headed back inside for a drink, treating the incident like a cigarette break.
Inside we continued watching the fists of fury as we waited for others in our group to pay their tab. While these two were sticking with knuckles and knees, my lilly-white brain was caught between flashbacks to the last ten minutes of "Boyz in the Hood" and a grade school-level itch to start yelling "fight! fight!" Everyone else in the bar didn't seem to notice the altercation-in-progress. A table of cackling hipsters sitting near the window didn't consider it worth a casual glance.
They were using the right tactic. My suburban paranoia was completely unwarranted. After a few more minutes of taunts and shoving, a girl pushed her way between the fighters and broke things up. And that was that. One fighter and friends headed up Washington, the other and the girl down it. With the peace officially increased, we headed in search of the car.
Postscript: Sorry for the lame pun. Kelly's isn't a pub. To make up for the error, here's a link to another downtown fight anecdote.