THE GIANT PAYER
The other bouncer is a twenty-four years old, tall, thin and stylish. Although style-conscious I am none of the rest. The kid came running up to me at the door looking panicked. I was checking I.D.'s and there was a seemingly endless line of people waiting to get in.
"This is bad, man, I think we have a real problem here" he blurted out. He usually aspires toward presenting a cool exterior but that pretense had vanished. "This guy was beating and kicking one of the machines. When I told him that he had to leave he told me to go fuck myself. He won't leave."
Still processing I.D.'s I responded, "What do you mean, he won't leave? That isn't an option. He has to leave."
"Well he refuses. He won't leave. He is drunk and REALLY big. I couldn't get him to move."
"What do you mean big? How big can he be?"
"He's a giant," the kid responded. I stopped what I was doing and looked at him for the first time since the exchange began. I repeated his assessment with more than a touch of skepticism, "A giant." "Yeah, he's enormous. He's enormous and I can't put him out. This is going to be really bad."
The manager offered to watch the door and I walked toward the game where the giant had dug in his heels. Once I saw him I didn't need verification. He was in fact extremely large, physically fit and visibly drunk. His head and neck looked like a boulder that had melted into his somewhat larger shoulders. Everything above his sternum seemed to be made of one piece. I have confronted drunks much larger than myself but never one this big and I wasn't looking forward to it.
I never rush toward trouble, I amble over to the problem at my own pace. It gives the appearance that I have the situation in hand and it gives me time to consider my approach. But the closer I got, the bigger this bastard appeared to be. "Fuck," I thought to myself. "This prick IS a giant." I had to crane my neck to make eye contact with him. Normally I would hit a much taller man in the ribs and kidneys but not in this case. His body was like a side of beef. In the few seconds I had before I reached him I considered kicking his knees out and back-pedaling if things got out of hand. I hoped they wouldn't.
Once I was directly in front of him I calmly motioned to the door with my thumb and said, "You have to leave." "He said, "Fuck you. I'm not going anywhere. I kicked the machine and got one quarter back but I'm not going anywhere until I get my other quarter." I was in the absurd and unenviable position of being face-to-face with a drunken giant having a temper tantrum over twenty-five cents. In the other bouncer's defense, he had described the man as a giant, not a genius.
I immediately reached into my pocket for a quarter that I hoped was there. To my relief I found one, fished it out, jammed it in his outstretched hand and simply said, "See ya."
To my amazement he started moving toward the exit. The giant complained on the way out, "I come here all of the time and I'm never coming back." I said, "Deal" and followed him out the door. His assertion that he was a regular customer was bullshit. I would have noticed a giant in the bar before.
The younger bouncer was amazed that I was able to dispense of the giant so easily. Still, he couldn't understand why I gave him the quarter. "So that he would leave," was my answer. Before he could finish his sentence "But it's the principle…" I said, "There is no principle worth only twenty-five cents." I walked away calmly. I didn't have the luxury of showing fear to the giant or anyone else in the place.
The life of a bouncer is always intense.