I’m a musician; I’ve just played a solo show at a local brewery in my town. It’s closing time; chairs are up, floor is being mopped.
Two stewed, toasted, staggering, slurring young music lovers high-five and glad-hand me as I pack up my guitar, microphone, speakers, keyboard, cables, all of it.
One gives me his number written on the back of a flyer for reasons I do not know. I look and it’s written twice. I have never met someone who writes their name and number twice on a card. Though this is intriguing and I want to hear all about it, it’s closing time, folks.
But They. Will. Not. Leave, and they also will not walk away and leave me to packing up. My show is over and I’ve talked to everyone in the bar, sang “Happy Birthday” to the owner, and it is Me Time, but these men do not understand this.
It reminded me of when I was a street musician and street people would take up permanent residence next to me. Eventually I would have to move to another spot because they had nothing to do and nowhere to be and they would drive everyone away from me.
I see they are shitfaced and I have a heart and I ask, “Hey- which one of you guys is driving??” They say, “Oh, we live close by, we’re walking.”
Good. But finally I go into the bathroom and sit on the floor, figuring if the number of people at the venue is down to just the bartender, these guys will get the hint and just go home.
I even call the venue at one point; the bartender answers and I say “It’s Josh, I’m in the bathroom. Those two guys gone yet?” She laughs and says “Not yet.”
Finally I don’t hear their loud voices anymore and I come out and move my stuff toward the front door.
And I see them get into a car.
So – what do you do? What do I do? Rush over to the driver’s door and forcibly grab the guy’s keys? He is very, very drunk.
I tell the bartender instead, and she runs outside and leans her head in the window for a few seconds.
I see both guys get out of the car, and off they go walking down the block.
People talk about Isis, about refugees and what they may or may not do, but there are people tonight, tomorrow, next week, and next year who will down enough alcohol to obliterate any form of coherency, get behind a wheel and aim at your mother, your daughter, your sister, your son, your grandmother – and you. And me.