Friday night was chaotic. A concert, two dinner parties and everyone was moving at light speed. Neva loaded a tray with drinks and headed for the concert crowd. She waved at Jesse who was directing traffic. He’d taken to the job easily. Charles had asked him how he picked it up so well, and Jesse explained that people were like cattle. All you had to do is know which ones to punch and which ones to lead with a little hay. That cracked Charles up.
Neva delivered her drinks and took another order. She saw a couple of guys that were real trouble hanging around just outside and headed over to Jesse. “Jesse, see those guys,” she said pointing slightly with her head.
“They’re trouble. Keep an eye on them okay? Especially when the concert ends,” she said.
“No problem. Thanks for the heads up.” He winked at her and went back to routing people into the dining room. Between customers, he sized up the men and made note of who they watched and talked to outside.
The music played for a bit longer and then there was a break. Jesse had just seated a couple when he realized that the thugs Neva had pointed out had disappeared. He excused himself and started to look for the men. They were up by the bar where Ginny was trying to fill orders. He walked up quietly and hoped for the best.
“Mister, I can’t sell you a beer to let you take off premises,” said Ginny. She went on filling an order for Dave who was standing there waiting.
“Aw, come on. Just two bottles of beer,” said the first one.
“No. If you want to drink, you have to be on premises.” Ginny turned her back on them and was looking up in the mirror behind the bar. She sighed when she saw Jesse walking up to the two men.
“How you doing Ginny? Can I spell you a bit?” Jesse asked as if he hadn’t heard a thing.
“Sure Jesse. Thanks.” She took her apron and headed off to the back. Jesse slid behind the bar and looked at the two men.
“What can I do for you gentlemen?” he asked.
“We was asking for a couple of beers, and that bitch wouldn’t give us any,” said the first one.
“Well, did she give a reason?” asked Jesse.
“Yeah, said we had to be in the restaurant or the concert. Couldn’t just have a beer,” said the second.
“Well, it is true. We can’t serve any alcohol anywhere except on site. So, can I seat you two in the restaurant?”
“No. Go to hell,” said the first and walked off.
“Been there, didn’t like it,” Jesse said under his breath. He watched them walk down the lobby past the entrance to the concert. They stood there for a few moments, and then moved on.
“Thanks Jesse, they were really bothering me,” said Ginny.
“No problem. We need to set up some alerts or key phrases for when things like that happen,” said Jesse.
“Oh? Like in a kidnapping situation?” asked Ginny.
“Sort of. When I was in the military we had them. It works,” said Jesse as he filled her tray with the order.
“Tell Charles. That will at least get it done quick,” she said with a smile and headed off to the concert. She disappeared into the crowd.
Jesse worked on cleaning up the bar. The dinner crowd had stopped at last and he closed off that door knowing that the customers would exit by the front door. He had just sent Dave off with a full tray when he heard a noise. He looked up to see the two men hassling Ginny as she came through the concert door. Her hands were full with the tray of drinks she still had to deliver. He walked quietly towards the men hoping to disarm this situation without too much of an issue.
“Leave me alone,” Ginny hissed.
“Come on you bitch, who’s gonna care,” said the first man trying to snatch a bottle of beer off of the tray.
“Get out. Now,” said Ginny as she swerved to get away from the men.
The second man grabbed Ginny and the first man grabbed the beer bottles and headed for the door. Before he could get all the way to the door, Jesse had caught up to him and put an arm on his shoulder to stop him.
“I don’t think that was a wise move,” said Jesse.
“Get the fuck out of my way,” said the first man surprised to see the man he thought was still behind the bar.
Jesse held onto the man’s shoulder with one hand and liberated the beer bottles from the man’s hands with the other. He then started to march the man out the door with the intent to shove him outside.
“Jesse!” Ginny hollered from behind him.
Jesse turned to see the second man swing Ginny’s tray at his head. Jesse ducked and the tray caught him in the shoulder. The beer bottles went flying as Jesse shoved the first man hard, sending him tumbling out the door. He then pivoted on his heel, swinging around to catch the second man who was trying to hit him with the tray again. Jesse popped the edge of the tray into the man’s throat. As the man dropped the tray, Jesse grabbed his wrist and flung him into the other man who was coming up behind him. Jesse felt a burn slice down his arm. One of the men swung at Jesse. Jesse blocked the strike, and delivered a closed fist punch to the man’s forehead. The man went down like a sack of potatoes.
Jesse turned to the first man, who was brandishing a knife and lunging. Jesse blocked the knife by sweeping the man’s arm and then sweeping his feet out from under him with a kick. The man fell and stayed down.
Jesse stood there trying to breathe as the sound of the room finally penetrated his ears. Looking up, he saw the crowd from the concert standing there looking like so many frightened sheep. Ginny was on the floor with a bloody nose and disheveled clothing. The crowds parted as Neva burst through from the back of the crowd.
“I’m… I’m okay,” said Jesse.
“No, you’re bleeding,” she said pulling her apron off.
Jesse looked down at his arm and saw the knife slash he’d felt a moment ago. He let Neva wrap it as he looked at the two men who were now being watched by a couple of members of the audience.
“Anyone call the police?” he asked.
“Yes. They’ll be here in a few minutes,” said Neva. “This all happened in less than two minutes.”
“Yes. Fights don’t last long,” he said breathing a little easier. The adrenaline was still pumping through his system. He took the apron ends and wrapped them around his arm. “Go see to Ginny,” he said walking over to the men. He kicked the knife off to one side.
Charles was running forward to see what he could do. “Jesse, you okay?”
“Yes. Put these punks on their faces. Hands on their backs,” Jesse said. He watched as the men moved onto their stomachs. Jesse kicked their legs apart and stood over them. He was still trying to catch his breath as he saw the flashing lights off in the distance.
Charles and Dave were trying to get the rest of the concert crowd back into the ballroom. Neva was seeing to Ginny and four men were standing near the men on the floor with Jesse.
The police pulled up in front, and came in running, weapons drawn. Jesse had stepped back and crossed his hands above his head to show he had no weapons and gave the police a chance to holster their guns. The other men stepped back as well.
“Sir, you can lower your hands,” said the one officer as he realized what had happened. He stood with his taser ready as the other officer cuffed the men. Then they hauled the men to their feet. The first officer keyed his mike and asked for an ambulance as he looked at Jesse standing there bloody and Ginny with an icepack on her face.
“Mister, why don’t you sit down,” said the officer.
“Okay,” said Jesse. “Can you get me a glass of water or better yet, a soda?”
“Adrenaline crash?” asked the officer.
The officer walked over to Neva and talked to her a moment. She went running off to get the drink. She was back in a moment with a glass of soda.
“Anything else I can get you Jesse?” she asked, her voice full of concern.
“Just stay close. You okay?”
“Yes. Just worried about you,” she said.
“I’ll be okay. This is just a scratch. Sorry I didn’t catch them in time,” he said.
“Sir, you did just fine from what these people tell me,” said the second officer who’d been taking statements.
Jesse looked up at him. It was one of the officers from the time Jesse took the drunk out. “No, it isn’t. People got hurt.”
“From the looks of it, you gave as them a good lesson in not pissing off the bouncer,” said the first officer.
“I hope so. Will I face charges?” asked Jesse.
“No. We aren’t charging you with anything for defending yourself, or the property. Besides, if we did, Charles and Neva would never serve us again,” said the first officer.
Jesse laughed softly. In the distance, he could hear the wail of a siren. The ambulance was here.
The paramedics checked out the two men first. Both were handcuffed and escorted to the ambulance. Then the paramedics checked out Ginny. While she was a mess, she’d be okay. Nothing broken. Then the paramedic came over to check out Jesse’s arm.
“Hey man, we have to take that apron off. You want to do it or have me do it?” asked the paramedic.
Jesse just looked at him and peeled the apron off. Neva took it and set it aside. The paramedic looked at the arm and whistled.
“Sir, you’re gonna need some stitches. You want to come with us or have someone bring you out? We’ve got those two guys to transport too. We can call another ambulance if you need.”
“I’ll drive him,” said Neva.
“Okay ma’am,” said the paramedic wrapping Jesse’s arm with a clean bandage. “That will hold until you get there.”
Jesse looked at him and then at Neva. “Let’s go.”
“Let me tell Charles,” she said. She walked over to Charles, explained what was going on and then went to get her keys. She was back in a few minutes.
When they got to the emergency room, they were taken into a room by a nurse. She got out various things and then disappeared. The doctor came in about forty minutes later.
“Well, I just got to see your handiwork. Let’s see what those two did,” said the doctor. “Can you slip your shirt off?”
Jesse nodded and took off his shirt. The doctor looked at Jesse and then began to peel off the bandage. “I see this isn’t your first injury,” he said while cleaning up the wound.
“No. Military. Marine. Before that, a rancher,” said Jesse as the doctor worked.
“Explains the ‘ninja moves’ I heard about,” the doctor said.
“Yeah. One of the guys was talking about how they thought you were just some dumb cowpoke, but then you pulled all these ninja moves on them,” the doctor said laughing.
Jesse smiled. He reached over with his good hand and took Neva’s hand. “Don’t look,” he told her. She nodded and turned her head as the doctor began to put Jesse’s arm back together. The gash was a good six inches long and wrapped partially around his forearm. The doctor used ster-strips and wound sealant on the gash. Then he taped gauze into place and put a compression sock over Jesse’s arm. After that, he wrapped the arm in gauze as well as Jesse’s hand to keep him from using the hand.
“Any drug allergies?” the doctor asked.
“Good. You’ll need these if you want to bath,” he said handing Neva a couple of long plastic bags. “Get this filled out, and see me in about five days,” he said and walked out.
Neva helped Jesse on with his shirt and the two of them headed for the desk. Once the paperwork was done, they headed back to the Fitzgerald. Neva knew the pharmacy across the street did a 24 hour service. Jesse sat while Neva got the prescription filled. Then they stopped at the Fitzgerald.
Charles looked up to see the two of them walk in. “You going to be okay?” he asked pointing at the bandaged arm.
“Yeah. Everything okay here?” asked Jesse.
“Yes. I had Dave take Ginny home and we got it cleaned up. Thanks for all your help,” said Charles.
“We still on for tomorrow?” asked Jesse knowing the schedule as well as Neva did.
“You up to it?” asked Charles.
“I’ve got a cut. I still have one good hand to toss drunks with,” said Jesse with a smile.
“See you in the morning then,” said Charles.
Jesse nodded. He and Neva walked out and she drove them to her house. They’d talked on the way back from the hospital about him staying with her for the night.