After a quick bite and Don’s shower they climbed back into the Oldsmobile while Marla and Don got in Don’s pick-up truck. Tony patted his pants pockets. “Oh, crap! We need to stop at your place. I left my wallet in my sweatshirt!”
“Don’t worry about it, it’ll be my treat.”
“Thanks, but I don’t even have an ID on me.”
“You’re not going to need any ID. You’re twenty two years old and everybody here is at least that. I bet Don’s pushing thirty!” John said. “What’s the drinking age in this state?”
Jean said, “It was eighteen for everything here until this year, it’s not split like in Maryland. You could buy beer or booze, it didn’t matter. They raised the age to 19 in July and are going to raise it to 20 next year. I don’t think we’ll have a problem getting in.”
“Alright,” Tony conceded. “If you don’t mind paying then we don’t have to stop. I’m sorry. I wasn’t thinking.”
“Don’t worry about it. I’ve got it covered,” Jean said with a squeeze to his hand.
Gerri piped in with, “Sounds pretty convenient to me!”
“Yeah, well just because you make John pay for everything doesn’t mean that that’s what we have to do. She said we have it covered.”
“Relax you, two. Let’s have fun tonight,” was John’s quick reprimand as Jean pulled into Hole in the Wall’s small parking lot.
Even though it was still relatively early there was a line at the entrance. Two bouncers were checking ID’s and Tony started to get nervous again. “Let’s wait for Marla and Don to get here and then we can all go in together,” he suggested.
“Are you nuts?” John asked. “It’s cold out here.”
“Yeah, but if we all go in together then maybe they won’t ask for my ID,” Tony explained.
Gerri said, “Well, I’m not waiting out here in this F-ing cold; I’m going in!”
Before Gerri had finished talking Jean said, “Just hang on. There they are pulling into the parking lot now.” Jean and Tony walked over to Don’s truck and then the six of them made for the door. Tony got in the back of the line hoping that the bouncers would see that it was an older group of patrons and not worry too much about checking identifications. They had no such luck.
The bouncers checked the ID’s of two rather young looking women in high heeled boots and short, short skirts who were directly ahead of them in line and let them in. Don and Marla had lined up first, then John and Gerri followed by Jean and Tony. With this small group the bouncers had a steady stream of people who were using drivers licenses with pictures for photo ID’s and all had been of legal drinking for five to ten years. When it was Tony’s turn to get through none of this helped him get into the bar. One of the bouncers held up his hand and said, “Yo, slick; need to see your ID.”
“I left my wallet at her place. We’re all of age, could you please let us in?”
“Hmmm, no can do. Boss says we have to ID everybody in case the liquor license boys come around; even the people we know.”
“Look, I don’t want to be a pain in the ass but isn’t there some way you can let us in?” Thinking flattery might help Tony added, “We drove up from DC and heard this was a cool place and we wanted to see what it’s like.”
“I appreciate that but it’s not worth my job. Lots of kids home from college for Christmas break trying to get into the bar with their older friends and with the new drinking age we’re having lots of compliance checks. Sorry,” he said without any look of compassion in his eyes or body language.
Jean smiled at the two bouncers and said, “Listen fellas, I was here last week with my sister, remember? We all had a good time and you asked me to come back and I did. Look at everybody’s ID’s. We’re all way past nineteen and so is Tony. Do you really think we’re trying to slip some kid in here?”
“Yeah, I remember you! The tall chick with the wild sister! You know, we did ask them to come back?”
“We ain’t suppose to let no one in without ID.”
Jean smiled at the recalcitrant bouncer and said, “Mark, it is Mark, right? Just let us in and there won’t be any problem.”
Mark rolled his eyes. “I always was a sucker for a long cool woman. Go on, go in. Cover charge is five bucks each.”
Jean pulled out her wallet and gave Mark a ten. At this he became apoplectic. “You are fucking shitting me! She’s even paying for you to get in? This is unfucking believable!”
Tony smiled at the bouncer and said, “Hey, the long cool woman digs me. Thanks for letting me in,” and walked into the loud, crowded bar.
They found two small round tables that were close to one another and brought them together. A waitress came over and they ordered two pitchers of Michelob. The waitress brought the beer and Bob Seeger’s “Old Time Rock and Roll” came over the sound system. Jean and Tony quickly chugged their first brew and headed out on the dance floor. Tony was watching his girlfriend with a huge smile as her hips swayed left and right to the familiar rhythm. Jean was truly an amazing woman, friend and lover.
When the song finished they returned to the table and split the remaining beer between them. Then Jean said, “It’s time for glassless shots! Are you ready?”
“Hell yeah, I’m ready!” Tony responded and everyone headed over to the chairs where the drinks were being poured. The young women that had been directly ahead of them in line each sat in one of the chairs and tilted their heads back into the padded headrests. This head back position gave opportunity to look down the women’s shirts which all three men had noticed and to varying degrees taken advantage of. Jean caught Tony’s eye and gave him a look that indicated she knew exactly what he was doing and shook her head in both mock and mocking admonishment. It seemed obvious that the two girls had already made a running start toward inebriation and they were giggling as each urged the other to try one more shot. The bartender saw Jean and friends waiting in line and Jean sat down and prepared to be the Guinea pig for their group.
The bartender also recognized her from the week before and asked if she was ready. She assured him that she was and he started pouring into her mouth while she held her breath. Once he was done she swallowed the fiery concoction, bursting into laughter just prior to finishing her drink and spraying Tony with small amounts of cocktail.
“Maybe you should let me get my own instead of you sharing yours with me?” he asked laughing with her. Tony and then the rest of the group had a few rounds of glassless shots and with each drink they become louder and more entertained. The exception was Don, who as he drank become louder and more and more belligerent.
By taking every other turn Don was on at least his tenth drink by the time everyone else had finished their third or fourth. The shots plus the appetite whetting beer they had consumed was definitely having an affect on all of them but as Don had consumed over twice the alcohol as the rest of them he was becoming downright pugnacious. Marla jokingly said, “Yo, O! I think you need to slow down a bit, you’re getting out of control here!”
“Why don’t you mind your own business?! Just because you can never lighten up and have some fun doesn’t mean I shouldn’t! Just because your name is Mrs. Olson doesn’t mean you’re my fucking mother!” he replied with such loud vitriol that the bouncers were inching their way closer and closer to Don.
He ordered another shot and the bartender said, “Sorry, pal, I’m cutting you off. It looks like you’ve had enough for the night.”
“You want to cut me off?” he said loudly.
“Yeah, buddy. I think we’re done here.”
“You want to cut me off?” he repeated over and over, getting louder and louder with every repetition. “Do you know who I am? I’m Don fucking Olson and if I say the word you won’t be able to get dick for food or booze in here! My father owns this town for restaurant supplies!”
By this time the bouncers stood on both sides of Don and one had his hand on Don’s arm. “Alright my friend, I think it’s time for you to call it a night.”
Which caused Don to repeat the ever louder mantra of “You think we’re done? My father owns this town!” over and over with each repetition being louder and more vehement.
Marla looked both disgusted and frightened by what was going on and another bouncer was making a bee-line for Don and looked as though nothing would make him happier than escorting the ever louder, abusive and aggressive Don out the door with equal violence, abuse and aggression returned. Jean flagged the bouncers down and magically defused the situation with her warm, endearing and amazingly calming smile. “Why don’t you help me get him to his car and then his wife can drive him home.”
Though they had primed for action moments ago the bouncers looked at her, at one another and then finally at Don before saying, “Sure, we’ll help you get him to his car. Just so long as he’s the hell out of here and he’s not the one who’s going to be driving.”
Marla said, “I’ll drive him, just help us get him to the car please.”
Two of the bouncers each put an arm under Don’s underarm and steadied him as they ventured through the tightly packed crowd toward the door that lead to the parking lot. Don continued his now muted and flaccid repetition of, “You know who I am? This place is through,” until they arrived out side and he looked up into the sky and said loudly, “When the hell did it start snowing?” The cold air and falling snow seemed to tranquilize him a bit and he replaced his earlier declarations of strength, power and fame with the scratched record repetition of, “When the hell did it start snowing,” ad nauseum. The snow question was the last thing the bouncers heard repeated over and over and with the attendant volume increase as they helped get him into the pick-up’s passenger seat.
Marla said, “Jesus, this was a blast until Olson lost control. It must have snowed half a foot while we were in there. Driving home won’t be much fun.”
“You two could sleep at my place. It’s a lot closer and there’s no mountain to climb to get there.”
“No, you’re pretty booked. We’ll make it home no problem. You all take care. See you on Monday, J.T.!” as she started her car and pulled away.
“Gee, Jean, do you think Marla’ll be safe with him?” Gerri asked quietly. “I’ve seen my dad get like that and it makes me scared.”
“Olson? He’s all talk and frustrated because he doesn’t think he’s a big man like his dad. He gets pretty juiced up regularly and he’s never done anything stupid yet. He better not if he knows what’s good for him. I know where he lives and I don’t think he’d find screwing with me anything he’d enjoy.”
“Damn right, tough stuff!” Hey, anybody wanna’ stop at I-Hop for a bite to eat real quick?” Tony asked.
“That’s probably not a bad idea, but we better make it quick. We need to leave for New Hartford for skiing tomorrow no later than seven,” Jean answered.
“Okay then, Jeanie,” John replied. “Take us to I-Hop and then take us home because we have a big day ahead of us tomorrow.”