He had been drinking Coors Light and telling stories the whole night with a big smile. Somehow the two of us bumped into each other out at Bliss and I actually got a chance to hang out with the Airborne Messiah, one on one. We hadn’t really seen each other in a few years, we had both had life experiences where we had shed tears and wondered our worth in the world, but as Joe would say, “FuckinA”. We were doing great.
We found ourselves at Banana Joe’s. It was the old Gabbies. If you know Joe, you probably know the place that I’m talking about. It was just a run-down local bar on Dyer Street. Total hole in the wall, but somehow, it was the 3-4 ADAR proxy when in town. We were there. It was the end of the night. There were all kinds of folks in there. This night, we had a DJ who was bumping a Latin beat. An old buddy of mine from Korea and Bragg actually owned the bar at this time I believe. I believe that Gene was standing here when it happened. It was late, heck, I thought we were fixing to leave but….
Suddenly, CSM Joe Stout, the Airborne Messiah, had something to say. I mean, the music stopped, you know how he can be. I thought he was going to give a toast or something. Remember, he had a few already, I was his DD for the night.
The Jumpmaster roared, “Hey, hey, hey. At ease!” Everyone, there must have been 35 people in there, stopped. Pool balls rolled to the stop on the tables. Several guys are holding pool sticks and big beer mugs. The sexy ladys reached for and clutched their purses wondering what was happening. The three drunk girls on the dance floor even stopped.
CSM Stout was primed. You could see the veins popping in his neck. He said, “Hey, Whose the baddest MFer in here.” And he didn’t abbreviate. The tension was high, I thought “WTF?”
Finally, one guy, a Soldier with that pool cue spoke up and stepped forward with his chest bowed out just a little bit. Still holding that big old stick. He was just the man for the job. He said, “I am Sergeant Major!”
CSM Stout said, “Take charge, I’m leaving.” And out the door we went.