The Fremont Chronicles - Pt. 3
By David Brewer
The Fremont Tavern on a Saturday night. Outside the rain was fallin’ hard and the wind off the canal was blowing it sideways. Inside the joint was jumping with wall to wall revelers. The windows were fogged and the beer and wine flowing. The Brewer Band was really on that night, running on all cylinders - top fuel!
In those days there were no Yuppies attending the festivities at the Fremont. It was strictly a blue collar bar, a place for the working stiffs to unwind - dock workers, welders, machinists, and a bunch of deckhands and fishermen. Into this mix of blues, booze, smoke, and sweat one of the fishermen brought in a box of 20 to 30 giant crab legs the size of softball bats.
So feature this; over 120 people crammed into a space that the fire marshal says is good for 75 or so, all drinking and dancing dangerously close to the band (there was no stage, so we just set up in the corner next to the bathrooms), one large woman with massive amounts of dirty blonde hair in particular, all waving these monstrous crab legs around! Several times this chick came crashing into the band, mostly into me. I kept telling her to get it together, but her boisterous response was always the same: "You guys are hot!”
We were about to take a well deserved pause for the cause. As we were finishing the tune we were playing, I turned my back on the crowd briefly to cue the Spiderman to end the song. When I whirled around for the dramatic climax, there was a pretty violent impact! The headstock of my Gibson now had long strands of dirty blonde hair hanging from the tuners. The large woman who thought we were so hot, the one I had warned to stay back, now had 6 small puncture wounds in the side of her face (from the freshly cut string ends). Temple to cheek, a nice bruise was already starting to show and a glazed look was in her eyes. As she crumpled to the floor unconscious, the place became eerily quiet.
Everything just stopped. As we all stood there, the smell of beer, smoke, and crab hung heavily in the air. One of the regular cast of Fremont characters, Yo-Yo Don (so named because of his ever-present yo-yo), stepped forward, his red, white, and blue yo-yo bobbing up and down inches from the woman's head. He looked at me and calmly said, "Damn Brewer, she’s out cold!" The silence broken, the body was removed to the recovery zone and the fandango resumed.
More adventures from Fremont to come...