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Whacked by the Ugly Stick in Fayetteville, North Carolina

By James Dylan

November 11, 2005 - We started out at Barnes and Nobles bookstore around 6 pm, thinking maybe we could meet some nice bookish types, and there were a few, but the majority of the women were short, fat, dowdy. I chatted up one cute girl, but she threw her "husband" in during a sentence, then her "boyfriend" a few minutes later, so I took the hint. She was either a slut or a liar, possibly both.

We took off for a place we hadn't been before called Jester’s Pub, I had heard about it from a girl at a coffee shop Andy and I frequented. The chick and I had been talking about punk rock, and she said they played that particular kind of music there, so I was up for visit. We pulled into the parking lot in my Cadillac convertible, dispersing groups of faggy-looking-emos, wannabe punk rockers, and young white trash. They all looked at us like the assholes we were.

We went into the club, and a band came on, but all they played was that shitty thrash style music the industry calls Alt Metal, with the vocalist growling into the microphone in a deep guttural throat clearing. I went to a lot of punk shows before, and this wasn’t one.

The band called itself "Index Case", which sounded like something you’d pick up at Office Depot. Maybe that's where the lead "singer" worked when not playing at Jester’s. Here was the line up this night: Bleed The Sky, Index Case, Die Cast, and American Headcharge. Yawn.

At least we had a table to stand around and set our hootch on. After a few sets, Andy’s girlfriend and Andy’s girlfriend’s best friend showed up, and I jumped back in shock. The best friend was 18 and, uhhhhh, probably 400 lbs. She had a dorky pageboy haircut and a mono-brow that would have put Freda's to shame. Andy looked pleadingly at me with a look that said; “Dylan, don’t say anything to fuck this up”; he knew me so well. While Andy’s girl was dressed in a nice outfit, the fat chick had on a simple, XXXL t-shirt draped over her sumptuous rolls of fat. I couldn't even see her breasts; they simply blended into her midsection. Wow. Her stomach stuck out a full eighteen inches from her frame, and she had those weird blemishes on her arms that you sometimes see on obese people. Oh well; maybe some cute girl would see me hanging out with her and think it noble of me. God help Andy if he set this up, a blind date or something.

Looking around the bar, I saw a young woman walk in, and she was leading a small child by the hand. Strange, I thought, as it was well past midnight and we were in a bar filled with smoke and shitty deafening music. At first I thought maybe she was a bartender coming in to pick up her paycheck, but she put the kid on her shoulders and walked up to within 10 feet of the large speakers. The music was deafening and this "mom" had her 4 or 5-year-old child right in front of the speakers, a few feet away from a mosh pit, beer bottles and spittle flying through the air. What a town, Fayetteville.

Having nothing in common with the fat chick other than we were both (I assumed) of the homo sapiens genus, I sauntered over to the front door and asked a bouncer about Mama Thrash, and he said she came in almost every night with that kid. She was a stupid young chick who got knocked-up, had no job, lived alone, and had to bring her kid with her everywhere, and screw-you if you didn’t like it. She wasn’t going to let something as trivial as a child stop her from having fun in HER youth, damn-it!

He said he thought it was fucked-up too, but that was it. I was going to ask why the hell he let her in, but I could tell he was done talking to me. I made a mental note to call child services and tell them about it. I could care less about what the bitch did, but that little kid? I'm sure he already had hearing damage. I am deaf in one ear and the noise was way too loud.

Back at our table, the consensus was that the music sucked, all the bands sounded the same, and the smoke in the place was chokingly thick, so we split. Andy, his girlfriend and the fat chick took off. A buddy named Mike Hunt (no joke) and his friend talked me into going to this place they liked, the Ugly Stick, "where all the girls dance on the bar like in Coyote Ugly!". I already had a bad feeling about it, as it didn't sound like the kind of place I would want to hang out, but they insisted, so I went. Great stories don’t come from sitting at home in one’s underwear. Creepy and disturbing stories, perhaps... but not great ones.

So we drove down Raeford Road and pulled into the parking lot of the Ugly Stick Saloon, and the following is the story of my 20-minute experience with the place.  

Hunt is a "member" of the Ugly Stick, so he went to the window to pay our way.   While he was talking with the girl, I started reading all the “witty” signs hanging near the entrance; "This girl is in a Cage for a Reason!"   "Cheap Bastards Not Allowed!" “Tipping isn’t a city in China”. After several minutes of nothing happening, I could see Hunt was getting agitated, so I sauntered up beside him to see what was going on, and it seemed they couldn’t find his name on their membership list. He said he comes to the place every weekend, and that he paid his dues, this was bullshit, he wanted to talk to the manager, etc.

The line was growing longer, and finally the girl just took his $5 and we all went inside. The place was well lit, which I usually only prefer in bookstores, which was strike #1. Bars aren’t supposed to be well lit; nobody likes that. Strike # 2 was that the place was filled with men, with a small smattering of women, most of whom were with guys or looked like housewives; neither of them my type. They had a 2-foot high plywood platform that extended out from the wall, and there were some slender looking chicks on it in ratty old cowboy hats gyrating to some 2-year-old song. They had on gingham shirts with the bottoms tied in a knot exposing their midriffs. They were okay, but nothing to drool over. Needing a drink, I walked over to the "bar", which was nothing more than an extension of the plywood platform.

Behind it there was an ice chest and a girl standing next to it; she asked what I wanted, and I asked for and received a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. I gave her a five-spot, she gave me a dollar and some change back, and I dropped the change into the tip jar she shoved in my face. As I turned and walked away she shook the tip jar and said, "Hey, you forgot my tip!" I turned and looked, and she was not smiling.

Me: "I did tip you, I threw the change in."

Her: "You didn’t throw in ALL the change, just the coins. Hey, they don't pay me to work here, I only work for tips."

Me: "So, you want ME to subsidize you for your poor choice of a career?"

Her: "Yeah. I work for you."

Me: "You work for ME? Look, I didn't tell you to take this job, nor did I make you.   All you did is pull a beer out of the cooler and open it for me. You think I should give you a buck-fifty for that? You didn't even pour it into a cup! I’ll give you a tip; get a better job.”

Her: "Whatever."

She grabbed her tip jar and turned around.

Right. I should pay her wages. It’s one thing to tip the girl who makes your $4 coffee, or the girl who works your table at a restaurant, but all this chick did was pull a beer out of an ice chest and open it for me, and then get all in my face about it not being enough. She wanted $1.50 to hand me a $2.50 beer? Strike 3.

I walked across the room to where Hunt and his buddy were, watching the girls dancing on the "bar", which, as I pointed out, was not a bar; actually, there was no bar. And some moron installed ceiling fans directly above the platform, so if the girls raised their hands up, they would have gotten whacked. Actually, some of them had long hair, and we were taking bets to see how it would be before one of their pony tails got caught up in one.

The girls were dancing in sequence, and they were obviously bored to death. They were all tall and skinny and dressed the same, doing the same moves, unsmiling, popping-gum. Yawn. I don't think I was the only guy who was bored; none of the other guys were doing more than casually glancing at them while drinking and talking.

There were two huge security guys in fluorescent yellow t-shirts standing on either side of the platform, blocking most of the show for some people. They had their arms crossed and their eyes were roving the room as if they were protecting J-Lo or some other celebrity. I looked around and most of the guys were talking and smoking, and only a few were paying attention to the girls. What a bunch of self-important pricks, I thought to myself, what are they protecting the girls from?

I looked around; there were about 5 other security guys standing around. This seemed odd, as most of the patrons seemed to be older types like me, no rough and rowdy young guys.

Anyway, nobody seemed drunk or rowdy.   Well, there was a short, fat chick that was drunk and was trying to dance like the girls on stage, but she was making an ass of herself and bumping into people. At one point she fell into Hunt. If any other girl would have done it, we would have cheered her on and laughed, but this… was just sad.

Suddenly, the music tapered off and the bored “bar” girls walked off, and then some older lady came onto the platform and tried to "fire up" the crowd. She says she wants to sing a song, and she knows all the, um, "bitches" in the place know the lyrics, and she proceeds to karaoke the song " Bitch" by the Alanis Morrisette wannabe, Meredith Brooks. Yeah, this place was really up-to-date with the latest songs.

Every now and then she would scream at the "bitches in da’ house" to sing along or scream or something, please do something, but the only participants seem to be the small group of rather dowdy looking, middle-aged secretaries.

When the song ended, the DJ put on a new song that I had never heard before, ever, called "Sweet Home Alabama" (can't hear THAT song enough times), but before the song kicks in, points out that "not enough people are drinking, and I want to see some fuckin' girls on the fuckin' bar dancing!" I swear to you, he said this word-for-word. He said it in a yuck-yuck “party-guy" tone, as if he was on Z100 FM, but it didn't go over well with a lot of us. What, we’re being forced to display more “fun”?  It seemed really lame, as if the owner of the place came in and told the DJ to tell the people to buy more beer.   Strike 4.

Bored and slightly embarrassed, I walked outside and saw a deck separating the Ugly Stick from another bar next door. Evidently they were owned by the same guy, who had made it easy to leave one bar for the other. As I was standing there with a full beer in my hand, another of those cloned dancing girls came up to me and asked if I needed another beer. I looked down at the bottle in my hand and said, "I just got this one, it’s still full." I didn't say it in an "asshole" tone, but she looked at me as if I did and said, "Whatever, I'm just askin…'" and huffed off. Strike 5. Talk about pressure to drink!

I wandered over to the other side of the deck, towards the other bar, when I see a sign stating "No Ugly Stick beer past this point!"   Well, I had just bought this thing, so I walked over and hid the bottle on the edge of the deck.   I walked over to the other bar, and saw it was nothing but a grimy dive bar with a pool table, a TV on the wall, and some bikers laughing. The Doors were playing on the stereo system.

I was only there a minute when I went back outside and walked back to the Ugly Stick side of the deck and went over to get my beer. I picked it up and just then some big black guy in a security shirt comes up to me saying I need to go back to the other side to finish it. I said I had just put the beer down on the deck while I went and checked out the other bar, but he said, "I didn't see you do that, so I can't be sure!"

I pointed at the sign we were standing by that stated "No Ugly Stick beer past this point!" and told him I had seen it and put my beer down, trying to speak as simply and calmly as possible, but he wouldn’t listen to me.

"Hey, I didn't see you put the beer there, so I have to assume you are trying to sneak it over to this side."

I said, "Bro, are you insane? I’m a 38-years professional wearing a $300 leather jacket. Why would I "sneak" a $3 beer into a bar? And besides, both bars are owned by the same guy, so it doesn’t really matter, does it?”

I could go on and on, writing out the entire conversation, but he was a simple-minded bouncer who refused to listen, as if this was his one mission in life; to prevent people from bringing beer from one side of the deck to the other. Strike 5.

Well, I finally had enough of this shitty night, so (not that it mattered to him) I told him to fuck off, that he could have the fucking beer, so I took one last swig and threw it into the trash barrel near him and said I was leaving the fucking dump. The DJ was still yelling at people to "Buy more drinks!" Also, what kind of bar goes from hip-hop to country and back again?

On the way past the cashier, I told her that I knew it wasn't her fault, but that I was leaving because the place was full of asshole, self-righteous bouncers and snotty, holier-than-thou dancers and bartenders, and the whole place could go to hell. I told her all I wanted to do was have a drink and relax on a Friday night, but all I got was attitude. I even told her about being on the deck with my beer and getting hassled. I’d lived in Germany for 10 years and spent many a summer in beer gardens and bars and had NEVER been hassled as much as I had in one hour as I did at this bar.

She seemed to understand where I was coming from, as if she thought the same thing. The whole place seemed to be just something to help the owners separate money from customers; who were a necessary evil.

I went home and took a shower to wash the nasty smell of cigarette smoke off of me and crawled into bed. Now you know why I don't like to go out that often anymore, and what the nightlife is like is Fayetteville, the armpit of North Carolina.###

All contents © 2011 by Gene Mahoney