Samaritans………………. Oncoming

22/12/2013

As it was, we were underaged drinkers returning form a local watering hole, months shy of my 21st birthday, and experimenting with a social expression that  emerged as the outcome of a risk taken. As Life would have it, upon gaining unquestioned access, I frequented the establishment making it a regular hang out. Somehow, I was so accepted I was offered a job as a doorman of same said establishment, possibly having frequented the place, and a ‘nice guy’, I was pegged a complement to what the owner required.

Taking the compliments as the mainstay of the offer, and not the minimum wage offered which presented more savings than money for my services, I accepted the position and began my six-nights/week occupation. I was living within my means, didn’t go out much since I was working most nights and adapting to life as an upcoming adult.

Two fellows, who were brothers from Halifax that were fired, the result of being abusers of authority with the clientele. What I didn’t know was that they’d pick fights with inebriated patrons and subsequently beat them up. I didn’t know that side of them, as they seemed to treat me kindly when I was there. Not to say I was keeping alert to fights in such a large establishment. It was a place to behold, larger than one would realize as the space was divided into floors and each floor was sectioned. Only the downstairs drinking level was of ‘open’ concept, like a saloon.

Then, as luck would have it, the clientele was in a state of flux. A variety of bikers: Black Diamond Riders, Paradise Riders, Satan’s Choice, Vagabonds, and the odd Hell’s Angels would frequent the establishment. Some of the aforementioned I’d met in my earlier years as a parking-lot attendant while in high school at my night and weekend gig. A few of these fellows would drop their bikes off, leave me instructions to keep an eye out as they were important to them, and I was always referred to as ‘kid’. They’d take a liking to me, regale me with fanciful tales going and coming from wherever they went. I certainly did not ever consider meeting up with any of them again, after I went away to university. Life’s funny that way.

In addition to these various echelon of bikers, there were the general public and college/university students. I was expected to do the ‘carding’, maintain cohesion and security for the three-areas of the establishment while people celebrated and became inebriated as the evening progressed. This I did from January to April while I lived in the basement of my step-father/mother’s home. After learning of his failing health, due to cancer, I assisted with his rapid deterioration up to and including his subsequent death.

The process was something to behold, and I did not expect what occurred during his final weeks. He rarely remembered me, and and as he went from a lively 185 lb. man to what appeared a 95 lb. figure of skin and bones, he became fearful at the sight of me. I rationalized it as the surfacing of the ‘fears taught about black people in childhood’. That feeling, of remembering a caring, giving and supportive man suddenly, upon seeing me turn and run in fear shocked me to my core.

That and the toll of the loss on my mother, her early stage of mourning was an especial time for our family. We never did speak of it as a family, my sister and I together with our mother. She spoke to me whenever possible, but she may have spoken more to my sister, her being female and could relate more. Although, some things were relegated to me as the man of the house, the one on whom they could depend during trying times. A post I was conscripted to from early in life, both inside and outside the family. 

It appears, unbeknownst to me, my reputation as ‘Marshall’ of the establishment because nary a fight would erupt. There was but one rule. Should you wish to fight, it would be best to take it outside, otherwise banishment would ensue and most enjoyed the camaraderie that was part of this unusual gathering of mindsets. The fellows who lost their jobs became ‘regulars’, without incident, forgive and forget. What I was to discover, and to my surprise, there was a plan afoot to take me down.

The staff was Greek in ethnicity, and we’d all gotten along, or so I thought. There was an odd occasion I was invited to one of the fellows home after work and told an likely tale about the hygiene of women. Something that was unclean and I best be cautious. I left in a most confused state, but eventually thought it through and let it slide.

There was a bus-boy who was slightly bigger than I, and management wanted to give him a shot at manning-the-doors, since I had been so effective on my own and they believed he could simulate me. They wanted to see, so they told me, if he would be an effective edition. I didn’t realize he could’ve been seen as one to eventually take my place, whereby I’d be out of another job for especial reasons.

I hadn’t had a night off since I began working there, some four-months, and management felt I was due. Unfortunately, as it turned out, his first night on the job was the night the two brothers chose to take-me-down. They presumed since I’d been working every night they were safe in picking any night that suited them. I was absent for the first time, an anomaly, and they cornered him in the men’s washroom. Not to waste the intention of the evening, he would have to suffice as practice until such time as I was present.

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