A few years ago I took a week off and hopped a flight to Seattle to see my buddy Justin, and to catch some Mariners games and finally see the great outfielder, Ichiro Suzuki. We went out every night (Justin and I, not Ichiro) to his favorite haunt, a bar called Clever Dunne’s Irish Pub. One night a guy offered to read my palm.
"Dude, I don't believe in that horseshit."
"C'mon, it's real. Let me read your palm."
"Fine." I was wishing the dude was a chick.
He examined the contours of my palm, and gasped, "Whoa. Unbelievable!"
"I agree. But out of curiosity, what do you mean?"
He kept looking and presently said in a sincerely conciliatory tone: "I’m sorry to say this man, but you're going to die soon."
"Well that is troubling news. Any idea when?"
"Pretty soon, according to this line." He showed me the line and explained that it indicated my forthcoming demise.
I rolled my eyes. "Hm, how could I have not noticed that before? Look man, don't you think it's a little rude to tell someone they’re gonna die soon? Isn't there some sort of palm-reader etiquette?" .
"Hey, that's just what it says. This line here...it means you're gonna die soon. Sorry ro be the one to tell you this."
"Okay. Well, I'm gonna stand over at that part of the bar now." I was more interested in talking with one of Justin's female friends.
After the pub closed, a few of us decided to check out an after-hours club called the Egg Room. It was an invite-only situation, with a cover charge and a guest list. Knowing I was not long for this world and that I was basically living on borrowed time, it made sense to eat, drink and be merry. If I was an Epicurean before, wow! It was time to move up to the next level.
We arrived, and went up some secret staircase to the Egg Room. I figured neither the guest list nor the cover charge applied specifically to me, since I was awesome and drunk. The guys at the door didn’t agree. They must not have known who I was.
"Name?" Apparently they didn't.
"Dave Fucking Armstrong. Who the hell are you?”
“Uh, yeah man…you’re not on the list.”
“Oh I’m not too worried about that. I don't need to be on your stupid list.”
So in we went for vodka Red Bulls and shitty house music. Hip Seattle kids danced and drank, and the scene was just not worth paying a cover for. The girl I was with followed me in, and Justin knew some people there who must have vouched for us. He paid the cover. I did not.
Before long, Justin and his friends decided to head home.
"I don't know man, this place sucks," Justin grumbled as he headed for the door.
"Right on, man. We're gonna stay awhile, though. I'll be back to your place later." I didn’t feel like calling it a night just yet, and I was enjoying chatting and dancing with the young lady.
The evening became less enjoyable after she and I went outside to smoke when from nowhere a fist cracked me upside the head. Dazed, I staggered as four men leapt from the shadows and threw me to the ground. They may have been annoyed about my decision to bypass the cover charge and guest list, or they may have been random thugs looking to beat up a visually impaired person. I never found out, though I managed to ask, as the fists rained down upon me, “Why are you doing this?”
Grasping my cane, I managed to drag one of them under me, but the other three pounded the back of my head me and kept trying to pry my stick out of my hand.
“Release the weapon!” one shrieked, his mouth an inch from my ear.
Actually, at a Foundation Fighting Blindness conference I’d attended years before in Orlando, Florida, I did, in fact, see a presentation by a blind Judo black belt on how to use your cane for self-defense, mostly how to strangle people with it. I wished I had paid closer attention.
As the poundings continued, my assailants persisted in vain to pry my stick away, and I did, as it turned out, get to use it as a weapon, which it sucked as. It’s too light, and it’s designed specifically not to damage what it strikes. A baseball bat would have served better, but I didn’t have one. Typical. Maybe had I been friends with Ichiro instead of Justin; he could have hooked me up with one. Also, having a black belt in Judo would have helped. Really, this whole fiasco was just the result of piss-poor preparation on my part.
The girl proved her mettle and then some by throwing a few punches and kicks of her own. After a bit the four attackers jumped into a car and sped off. In a blind rage, I chased screaming after them, swinging my cane, blood streaming onto the sidewalk. Fortunately, I tripped over a curb and face-planted on the asphalt.
With the four horsemen of the apocalypse gone—for the time being, at least—we decided this was as good a time as any to leave, and off we ran into the Emerald City night.
Justin and his friends thought the culprits might have been FSU.
"What, like Fresno State?"
"No, they're a West Coast gang called FSU: Friends Stay United."
"Are you serious? That has got to be the weakest gang name I've ever heard. C'mon, if I'm gonna get jumped I want it to be by Crips or Bloods or something with some cred." I rubbed my swollen jaw. "Hell, even the Fresno State Bulldogs would have been more impressive."
"Yeah, well, they did beat the crap out of you, dude." Very true. Justin felt bad for not being able to have had my back, though, of course, he needn't have.
That stupid palm reader must have thought he was looking at the "death line,” but in all reality it was merely the "you will get the shit kicked out you line.” What an amateur. I don't know: maybe they look similar. Anyway, I’m still not dead. So who’s laughing now? Me, that’s who.