His name was Gene, he was almost half my size but built with a lean, agile sinew. He had a boyish face with a smattering of freckles, the pic above is more a representation of how tough he was then what he actually looked like. He looked twelve. I met Gene my first night of bartending at “The Phoenix” a near-north side, Chicago disco, after a drunk and disorderly threatened me throughout the night with slurs of “Hey, asshole” and “meet me outside” threats. Gene introduced himself as the bouncer for the club and asked me if I wanted him to walk me home. I looked down at him from my 6 foot 2 inch, 230 perch and said, ok. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, right? As we walked out of the disco, the jerk was of course, waiting to take his chunk out of me. He took one look at the 5 foot, 8 inch, freckle faced, Gene and ran off like his hair was on fire. Not me, Gene.
A couple nights later, I found out why Gene was to be feared. When another disco, whack-job in a “you can’t kick my ass out” fury pooped a gun from his jacket and put to Gene’s head, Gene snapped into action. In a furious instant, Gene stood over the gentleman as he writhed in pain on the floor, the idiot’s gun secured in his hand. No fear, no adrenalin, just doing his job.
I witnessed it, but still don’t understand exactly what I saw, it was like seeing lightning, all I remember is the flash of a gun being pulled, a flurry of action and a writhing moron below a fearless man.