When it looks like friends are about to get into ‘fisticuffs’ with strangers, Jackson Biko defuses the situation the best way he knows how: sending the man a drink.
The Big Bad Bear stood shaking a large fist and growled: “Bro, don’t mess with me, I will cave in your head”. His nostrils were inflated and the hair in them bristled like wild weed as he bellowed. The person he wanted to dispatch was a small fellow with a rabid tongue—small fellows are always trying to cause a ruckus. The small man in question was my pal; I like to drink with small men because you just never know when you will need someone to go through an air ventilator or a small window to save the day. In this case, however, the small man was in the wrong.
The thing is that we are all adults and have children, so it stands to reason that we can’t be throwing people out of windows in a bar, brawling and causing a brouha. That and the fact that the last time I decked someone was in high school and I walked away from that fisticuff with a swollen forehead. So yes, safe to say that peace to the world is a motto I live by. But Big Bear was spoiling it and he was drinking beer, which isn’t a good sign because beer guys can get very testy after midnight. Something to do with all that froth I presume.
Personally I am a diplomat, I believe that there is nothing that a conversation can’t solve. So I stood between Big Bear and small man and said, “Easy big guy, easy now, let’s try and fix this”. I think big men hate being called big men. Either that or when you acknowledge their size you end up fuelling them, they get all frothy in the mouth and strain against their leash. I understood him though, he was defending his woman’s dress and honour and I admire that. Plus I didn’t want anyone bashing my forehead again. There is only so much a forehead can take. Small man couldn’t shut up, mostly because Big Bear called him a name that I can’t write here because my mother wouldn’t approve of that language but let’s just say it involved anatomy. Incensed, he brushed me aside like I was made of feathers, grabbed small man, raised his club-like fist in the air and as he brought it down, microseconds before impact, one of my friends (the one with untouched foreheads), locked the raised arm midair. We were five of us, they were two. No, make that one of them, because his girl wasn’t going to throw a punch. Somehow his fist never dropped. There was a small skirmish where we tried to put distance between him and small man who couldn’t shut up and when he was calm enough, he stared at small man for so long and hard, I thought small man would collapse from the stare. He didn’t. Small men are like weed, they never go away.
When calm and reason descended, we sent Big Bear a drink and his woman a bottle of wine and he grudgingly accepted our apology and raised his glass at us. He was a big man. Make that the bigger man. Later, as he left, he even stopped at our table where we made them shake hands. Nobody needs to fight over spilled drinks. That is so 1980.