I was a freshman at the University of Texas in Austin. I had met a girl named Amy Jo at a Willie Nelson Concert 3 weeks prior and was going to meet her to hang-out when she got off work.
That is where this adventure begins…
Amy worked at Bikinis which was a Sports Bar down on 6th street. She was a bartender and it was Saturday night, and was going to be working until 2am, so I planned to see her at the bar around midnight.
The day had been great, as I had attended a UT vs Texas A&M football game at the stadium which was next to my dorm. The Longhorns won. I had gone to Jester Hall to eat at the cafeteria and now I was playing in a pool tournament at the World Billiard Hall also on 6th street. Amy’s bar was a block away.
I was pretty good at pool. OK, I was damn good at pool. I learned to play when I was 11 at my mom’s bar called the Runway Lounge. The bar was located next to Randolph Airforce base and so a lot of Airmen went there. Different Airmen taught me how to play and I got so good that I was invited to play on the men’s team when they played at the bar. One time during a game against the “Who Knows” Lounge, I ran the table and didn’t give my opponent a chance.
Tonight, at 18 years old, I was even better. I ran the table twice in the best of 7 games competition. By the end of the night, I had won the pot. A total of $250 was what I walked away with and it was almost midnight, so I decided it was time to go.
It was a sunny day and warm earlier, but the night-time had turned a little chilly with the Fall weather we were having. Luckily, I was wearing a leather coat over my t-shirt, so I was comfortable. I had worn the jacket cuz I was going on the date and wanted to look a little nicer than just a t-shirt.
I walked along the street passing various bars which lined both sides. Many had open shutters that let you see into the bar and see all the patrons. One bar had a bachelorette party inside and it was still going strong. If I wasn’t going on a date, I might have crashed that party.
Bikinis had gotten its name because, you guessed it, all the girls wore bikini tops and Daisy Dukes. I had seen Amy Jo in her uniform before, and she looked hot! Long brown hair, tan legs and arms. But the best thing was her big brown eyes and bright smile. I couldn’t wait to see her tonight.
She made me feel special when I was around her. Sometimes I would just listen to her voice as she told me about her day. Other times I could tell her anything and I knew she would get it. She got it and because of that she was winning my heart.
When I got to Bikinis, the bar was packed. I pressed my way in after briefly talking to the bouncer. There was one seat open at the bar with a view of a big screen TV that was showing Saturday Night Live with a skit showing John Belushi as a Samarai. I seated myself there and waited.
Amy Jo saw me and came over to say hello.
“Hi, Lance you look nice in your jacket.”, she said.
“Thanks, Amy Jo you look nice. Um, you got me drooling over here looking at you.”, I said, and she blushed.
“What will you have?”, she asked as she looked at me with her big brown eyes.
“Give me a Shiner Bock. 24 oz”, I answered.
After she poured my beer she went to help other customers. I couldn’t help noticing her Daisy Dukes as she walked away. Damn, I’m a lucky guy.
Tonight, I had $250 winnings and about $40 of my own I had before. I wanted to buy a bag of weed and Amy Jo knew where to get it. She lived in a grow house with her landlord Sam.
Saturday Night Live was over and now I was just watching the late night talk shows and nursing a beer. I didn’t want to drink too much since I was going to be driving Smokey. Smokey is my truck named after the pony I had as a child. My Dad had bought him for me on my 5th birthday.
He had run wild for 5 years so my Dad was able to buy him for $30. I was the only one that could ride him. He at first would buck me off. Then my grandma would tell me to get back on and teach him who the master was. I was supposed to be the master, but Smokey and I both knew that Grandma was the master of us both.
Once during one of these “training” sessions called “Breaking Smokey”, I suggested something to the pony when I whispered in his ear. I told him that if he didn’t buck me off and pranced around the yard with me on his back, I would give him half of my peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Smokey thought this was a good idea as he whinnied his approval. Grandma came out and said, “Time to get back on the horse cowboy”.
Smokey let me climb on his back, and we proceeded to ride around the yard. Grandma clapped her hands and said she had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and some milk ready for my lunch, and she went in to bring it out to me.
When she returned a bee came buzzing around my head, and I spilled the milk accidentally and dropped my sandwich. Smokey gobbled it up. I was so mad at Smokey for eating my lunch, but he just smiled at me like nothing was wrong. That was that.
Finally, it was 2am and the last call. The TVs were turned off and the bar lights were turned up brighter. Amy would be off soon as she closed.
Amy came up to me.
“Where did you park Lance?”, she asked.
“Oh, I parked over on Red River and 7th in the large gravel parking lot.”, I said.
“Why don’t you go get your truck and bring it around to the side street and by the time you get back I will be done counting the money.”, she said.
It was about 3 city blocks east and then one block north to the parking lot. It would take me 15 minutes to get there. The streets were full of other people that had just come pouring out of the bars that were closing. I decided to cut over to 7th street early because of the crowd.
The parking lot was poorly lit except for a few street lamps. I had parked Smokey next to one so that I could see. No one was really around, so I didn’t much think about running into anyone, but I was wrong.
When I got to the truck, I heard a voice behind me say, “Hey man, can I ask you a question?”
I turned and saw a guy with two friends approaching me from behind another car. I felt startled and a little uncomfortable as there were three of them and one of me.
“I don’t know, what is your question?”, I asked.
“Do you have a light?”, he said.
I did have a lighter. I didn’t smoke cigarettes but I used it to smoke weed. I didn’t want to be hanging around these guys. One of the guys behind looked like he had a baseball bat hanging down on one side. They all looked rough. I felt uncomfortable and nervous, so I decided to give him a light and hope he went away.
“Sure, I got a light, but I’m in a hurry and can’t really hang around.”, I said.
“Boy, why don’t you give me your wallet and your keys?”, he whispered as I handed him my lighter.
Oh my God, the three of them were arm distance, and he was asking me for my money.
I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t care about the money so much but I sure as hell wasn’t going to give him my keys to Smokey. I hesitated to answer or do anything. I wanted to run, but they looked pretty athletic, and I was already surrounded.
“Give me the fucking keys or me and my boys will take them from you and you are going down.”, he yelled.
I impulsively swung and hit him in the face, then I turned to run. My heart was pounding, my breath was short.
The second guy grabbed my coat tail and I tried to pull away.
The third guy came up in front of me and cut me off. I tried to take a swing at him, but he pulled his bat up and hit me in the forehead. I went down, then he pushed me hard until I was on the ground.
The first guy kicked me in the ribs and then in the face.
Lights out. I was unconscious and laying face down on the ground.