Wednesday, February 3, 2010


NYLJ 5/21/07


[Off the top, was their headline writer channelling a New York Post scribe that day? It is almost surreal: the story of a hurt tavern patron's suit--possibly a double-breasted, maybe two-button, who can tell?--that is killed (mind you: it was already hurt, talk about adding insult to injury?) by a knowledge question? Can you see it hurtling out of the dark? Sharp and pointed, something between a flying swordfish and a corkscrew, writhing like an exclamation point with intestinal cramps, insane with pain, entering through the lapel, then augering, twisting deep into the fabric, batting, coming up through the shoulder pads and then, in one final thrust, delivering the death blow to the back like a seam ripper?]

2. In the dark, all pools of vomit look like floor tiles, like in the same abstract pattern as kitchen linoleum, but maybe with a bit more sparkle. On the other hand, if you’ve been in a bar for several hours and can lay claim to the fact that you had no alcohol to impair your judgment—including sight—the question arises as to how you could miss a splat like that, even above the other odors of the Ladies Room? And so it must be, with all deference, asked:

“How did you manage that?”—would be the leading one, leaning towards a sneer, delivered with the broad gesture which could be easily understood at the back of a mezzanine, in a manner of speech projected with equal measures of credulity and honest curiosity.

Her protestations would be no less award-worthy. "Yeah, well, It's really dark in there, you know?"

"And you never went in there before that night?"

"A'course I did! Does it look like I got a hollow leg?"

And he wonders, for a moment only, if "Jersey Shore" is a mindset or type casting or just bad casting. "So you have no idea how long the ejecta was there? It could have been an hour, or it could have been one minute."

"If I knew it was there, would I've stepped in it?"

"No, you wouldn't want to break you leg and be forced to sue for damages."

"Ya think?!"

For it is all an act; never forget that.

The corrections officer, moonlighting as a bouncer, could have been the type to have been written off as a liar on a CYA mission. However, when regular joe goes against a bar patron, out with her gal pal to maybe get lucky (who knows?), he comes off more credible than the tea-totaling twosome. The plaintiff’s attorney would call it “impugning the testimony”, but the jury wouldn’t. They can—and do—split hairs worse than cheap shampoo. There can be fault found in an unsafe condition existent extant, but, while the management may be liable, his testimony sure isn't negligent.

“Is it your standard and practice to check the restroom condition on a regular basis?”

“Every half hour. Otherwise, nice people wouldn’t patronize me.”

“And the function of the guard outside is not only to maintain the peace but lavatory facilities as well.”

“Well, that’s the Ladies Room. If I can’t get someone to report something, I can’t very well have my guy just walk in, now can I?”

"And you don't have bar maids?"

"They're the reasons I have male customers."

"And you can't have them check on the conditions in the rest rooms?"

"Can and do. But not every ten minutes."

"And why is that?"

"They're the reasons I have happy male customers."


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