We decided during the first few minutes of “Cheers”, I imagine, that it was a good night to go to Mack’s Supper Club. It was not a particularly difficult decision, nor hotly debated, just one of those where somebody might’ve said out of the blue, “I think we should cut class tomorrow and go to Mack’s.” And so by acclimation we settled on the plan, nodded admiringly at Sam Malone’s latest conquest and chuckled appreciatively with Norm, the thinking drunk’s humorist. At 8 30 we piled in to Greekson’s RX7, TB in the passenger side rear seat as usual, oblivious that it was to be the little hot rod’s last run.
Macks ran an ad in the school newspaper every Wednesday. “We open up when everybody else closes down. BYOB.” The Landing closed at midnight or thereabouts. Down the highway a mile or so Doug’s usually stretched it to about 2 am. Technically Macks was open before then, but Mack wouldn’t sing til every cover possible had been collected and the pews were filled. And it was a good twenty miles south on Highway 45 from the crossroads, so you really had no reason to arrive until about 3 am. My friends, the hours between 8 30 pm and 3 am for a bunch of half educated crackers on a mid-semester Thursday evening are rarely empty ones, and for TB and his asshole runnin buddies the time between the making of the plan to go to Macks and the execution of said plan was filled this particular night with whisky.
Macks is no more. It is said the fires of hell itself rose up spontaneously one night in the mid 1990’s to consume the joint, Satan content no longer to leave a place so treasured in his black heart to the pleasures of mortals. When it was still standing the building appeared from the outside abandoned during daylight hours. There were no lights, no sign I can recall. A rickety, heavy door that never closed was the first thing you noticed upon arrival, and immediately thereafter the sign above the little box office–“Mack’s Supper Club–Members Only”. We all knew what that meant. Mack was a purebred sonofabitch. He made us think he hated everything and everybody and I’m sure he hated us college boys. But he’d take our money–wasn’t interested in a hippie’s or a homosexual’s or a Jew’s if he could tell and he damned sure wouldn’t take a black person’s money, at least that’s what they said. I suspected he probably had a black mistress at some point in life and maybe he even liked her, but she probably dumped his worthless ass and he used that to fuel his anger. Most anybody that went to school near Macks has great memories of the place, TB included, because it was fun to stay out all night and raise hell. And maybe he was just a politically incorrect country comedian, essentially harmless, but he seemed like a mean old bastard to me. Still, the songs were funny; funny to a sophomore for sure.
After you got in you saw the church pews that served as seating for his show. The show was Mack singing songs about sex mainly, raunchy and raw, just him and his guitar. He sat on a bar stool behind a chicken wire fence and in front of the biggest pair of red lace panties you ever saw, the ones Roberta put her big legs through. I don’t know if the chicken wire was to protect him or us but I do know when someone chunked a bottle at it that 70 year old cuss would come whip his ass if he saw who did it. There was a wood burnin stove that we’d huddle around on cold nights and when I was a freshman the boys bathroom was behind a piece of particle board stuck out from the wall. When you went around it you were outdoors. He put a gutter in over the next summer though and I thought the upgrade robbed the place of some of its charm. There were a couple of pool tables with missing balls and no chalk and tears in the fabric but nobody ever complained. It was something to do while waiting for everyone to make it over from Doug’s. And yes, there was sawdust on the concrete floor.
We were cruisin in darkness, Axl Rose wailin “Mr. Brownstone.” I, the only one of us that knew exactly where we were going, was “resting.” And so it seems that Greekson thought we may have passed the place and so he wheeled around to make sure we hadn’t. Greekson was a 6 foot 2, 120 pound sack of driving greatness, sober or not. He liked to go fast. But on this night he was imperfect. The computations in his brain missed a decimal point somewhere among his instantaneous calculations. I came alert at the thump. That’s all it was.
There were four of us that night, Smily up front and I believe Quinn in back with me. Everybody froze. Without seeing a thing I knew we’d clipped another vehicle. I looked around and saw nothing but darkness. I assumed the other car had just kept going. “GREEKSON!” I jolted him, stunned and disbelieving back to reality. He turned a glazed countenance, or maybe it was a blank stare, toward my voice. “Hit the gas. Get us the hell out of here!” He faced forward but we didn’t move. “GREEKSON! GO SON, you got to get on the gas!” He was himself again, but there was confusion in his eyes. “I’m on the gas, the damned car won’t go.”
I figured the fender must be holding the tire in place, so Smily and I jumped out to go pull it away. We rushed around the front end of the car and froze. Greekson yelled at us to get movin, but we didn’t. I walked around to Greekson’s door and said “it’s gone.” Greekson said “I know he’s gone”, thinking of the other car. “No”, I said, “the front end. It’s gone.” Greekson got out and looked at his car, his treasure, his companion. Practically the whole front end was mashed up almost square to the windshield. It’s a miracle we lived, much less escaped without a bruise. Greekson was too much of a man to shed a tear, but I know it wasn’t easy to hold them back. The four of us were able somehow to shimmy the car a few feet over to get it off the road. I carefully hid the booze, thinking there was no sense in it going to waste and hoping we’d recover it tomorrow. We’d all seen too many movies and played too many video games I guess because we kept expecting a cop to pull up any moment even though we were miles away from nowhere and in the pre-cell phone era to boot. It was several minutes before a grizzled, unsteady pedestrian came jogging up instead, the guy we’d hit. Poor bastard thought he’d been the one that hit us. In his 18-wheeler.
The truck driver didn’t pull over for a quarter mile or so and he as much as told us he wasn’t sure he’d come back. He knew we’d be dead. Thankfully, he decided to come check before he sent out a call on his CB. As he drove Smily and me down to Macks to find a classmate I could tell he wasn’t right. Drugs, booze, or some combination of them were part of his night, part of his life. He didn’t want any part of reporting this accident, but then, he sure as hell was glad none of us had been hurt either, and not just because of his job. We all agreed to just go about our business. He let us off at Macks and disappeared with a cheerful blow of the horn into the night. We found a buddy who could get us home, but he wouldn’t leave just yet. He gave Smily and me a drink to steady our nerves while Smily and I uttered continual prayers and occasional exclamations of thanksgiving and we all waited until the old bastard played “Roberta”. I even sang along. I’ve always felt a little guilty about doing that while Greekson waited in the night on Sam Hill Road. That place was evil I tell you.
Quote of the Day:
“I used to work in Chicago, in a department store, I used to work in Chicago, I did but I don’t any more;
A lady came in she wanted some pumps, I said what you want is the door,
But pumps she wanted so pump her I did
And I don’t work there any more.”
–Mack Banks (one of the less offensive tunes–Smily don’t write out the ones you’re thinkin of either)
TB–Nice story, sounds a lot like a sory of mine where Denton Boutwell and I almost died in Oxford one drunken night when he decided to run a stop sign doing atleast 55 mph and running his car off a cliff. A lot of you know the spot. It is out past the Baseball Stadium, south of Hwy. 6 heading towards all those apartment complexes. How we did not hit one of those trees, or anything else for that matter, is beyond me. I would wager good money that we all have a close-call story like that stored away in the archives. They say God looks out for fools and drunks. I have been both on more than one occasion,….. Hell, haven’t we all?
The closest thing I have to this story would be the Shingle Mill Debacle of October 23, 1996 which has crossed my mind more than once lately due to the time of year. It was not funny at the time but has become funny since and a few on this blog were present. I still had the bloodied up clothes (as evidence if needed) up until Katrina.
“Most loathsome events become humorous tales with the passage of time.”
read that line in a Jimmy Buffett book but can’t remember which one.
Have had couple of close calls myself. However I don’t think I can remember anything I ever did at Shingle Mill or the house boat, but perhaps that is selective memory loss.
Why is there a smiley face 🙂 over in the right margin at the top of your page? Has it always been there?
TB – you are an awesome story teller! Glad you all survived the night! Even if the poor car didn’t. 😦
JLou— Was our little warrior sweet involved in this melee’? Were the bloody clothes his? Did he hold up or fold up when the sh!t hit the fan?
Was that when Grody’s 6’4″ 300 lb uncle went after sweet for no good reason?
I am glad I heard Taylor’s song about Ronan. It opened up my eyes to just think of how hard it would be to lose a loved one that young to canecr. I have a 4 year old nephew and couldn’t imaging losing him over anything. This is very inspiring and makes me want to stand up to canecr and help fight it anyway I can. Cancer is horrible and a very tragic thing. Thank you Ronan for letting me take a different look at canecr!!! You are missed by lots!!!!
I remember 6’6″ 340, that includes the 3lb ring he was wearing when he punched my head
Actually, Big Robert went after both of us as we were dancing to the song “Pretty Woman” if I remember correctly. His large hand got caught in my curly hair and he almost took a chunk of my skull along with it. This was right after he sent Sweet sailing across the room, glasses askew, so I knew when he landed he probably would not be able to see. I was turning to tell the Jolly Green Giant not to do that and he promptly sent my ragdoll ass flying as well. Running was the best option since it did not appear that he responded to sensibility. TJ threw sand and bottles at him and that didn’t deter him either. I do believe Jason Battley picked up Sweet and I had the rest in my car and away to the Fort we went. Head wounds, even small ones, bleed profusely so there was alot of blood on the clothes, scrubs to be exact. I was later told the reason Big Robert went ballistic was because I had bloomers on underneath my cheerleader uniform. I found his unpublished address and we pressed charges on that following Monday to the tune of about $400. And Big Robert promptly paid and went on his way. I’ve never seen that dude since, although I would love to run into him someday and ask him what the hell he was thinking.
Ah, such fond memories.
I know Greekson cried at some point. That was his baby. I believe it was a Datsun 260 z or 240 z though TB. But the story tellin put me right back in the moment. Almost like I was there again. That was just one of many “doing greekson wrong” happenings. Dont know how you can live with yourself. He did eventually get him another hot rod but he probably still aint over the first one.
Wow! That was quite the story! Sorry about the car, but glad (and surprised) you all survived without injury. Hopefully that incident “scared straight” that truck driver…that could have been awful!
Jessie Lou’s comment could stand as a blog post all on its own.
And I’m not seeing a random smiley face. Maybe it’s just me.
Why would someone be upset that you wore bloomers under your cheerleader uniform?…..unless he was used to you not wearing bloomers under your cheerleader uniform…..what the hell were you doin in a cheerleader uniform??
Good story. You can’t beat a we-were-just-driving-along-minding-our-own-business-when-all-of-a-sudden-we-realized-our-car-was-totaled yarn.
Life could be totally difference for several people – TB, Smiley, Greekson, etc. if you stop and think about it. They could be maimed, burned or worse yet, dead. Instead TB has gone on to sue on behalf of accident victims and Smiley rescues them. If I am ever in need of Fire Rescue I am hopeful it is his face I will see. He has already shown up to one such moment – although it wasn’t me – it was a client of mine. I was equally glad and surprised to see him there.
As for the bloomers Q09…… Big Robert was in his late 40’s at the time and the Shingle Mill is not what I would call the highest class of establishment. Put those two thoughts together with alot of beer and you get the hope that the redheaded girl dancing in front of you doesn’t have bloomers on underneath her skirt. I was a JE (Hi-Jinx to you and me) sponsor at the time and it was our Halloween party earlier that night – hence the PHS cheerleader costume compliments of Lindi Grimes. Sweet was in scrubs – doctor or dentist, I am not sure.
JL, sEan’s sole dream is for him to be called to respond if sweet ever needs mouth to mouth.
As for the shingle mill, I was already outside when the scuffle occurred inside, but everyone soon came barreling out the door and into the parking lot. It seems that sweet threw a full bottle of beer as hard as he could and hit the giant man square in the chest, and he laughed.
Yes, I do remember him hitting Big Rob in the chest with the full beer bottle. It reminded me of the fact that I could only throw the softball 14 feet at Beach Elem. in PE. I was hoping it would have made a better impact coming from a guy!
As for Sean – I hope he gets to me first. I’m sure in his eyes that will be the equivalent of saving the best for last if Sweet is next.
Wow I want to be adopted into your failmy! And what were you thinking letting “boys” go so close to the edge????? I almost had a heart attack sitting here……… I am ready for Fall and the cooler weather any time would be nice.Hugs,Vicki
I would definitely give JL mouth to mouth . kNelms……not so much.