Thursday, 8 September 2011

So I was a bouncer at a strip club

This is a story I originally posted on Bullshido a few years ago. Thought I might as well re-post it here. I often don't capitalise when I'm writing on the net. Call it laziness if you like.

it's my hope that you can take something new away from this story and that i can give a slightly different perspective on the street fight. at least, different to how so many stories are usually written involving fights.


i was a security guard for roughly one year. i worked in a variety of situations, from watching for shoplifters in retail stores, to assisting overdosed pill poppers at rave parties, to kicking people out of pubs as a bouncer. i'm going to tell you a story of one particular incident that happened towards the end of my year as a guard.

but first i want to talk about the people. people who visit pubs, go out partying and drinking and taking whatever else, spending the money they worked all week to make. really, they act like fucking animals. they urinate where they stand. the women vomit on their dresses and pull each others hair. men bristle and stick their chests out as they walk past each other. they hunt each other for sex and violence, they want to fight and fuck. it's disturbing how people who walk around during the day as apparently normal human beings can become sociopaths at night. it's pathetic, and they sickened me with their behaviour.

so just like animals or children, they need to be supervised, need to be stopped from harming each other and themselves. for many jobs, this was my role. seriously, they can't even line up at a taxi rank without attacking each other. i worked at a few taxi ranks, and it's where i saw the most fights. before the local council started hiring us, basically the only people who could get a taxi were those who would fight their way to the front. about 2 weeks after quitting my job, a guy getting into a taxi was pulled out and got kicked to death at one of the old taxi ranks i used to work at. there was only ever one guard assigned to a rank, so you're often outnumbered in bad situations like this. all i can say is thank fuck i wasn't working there at the time.

on to the main story - easily the worst job i ever had was working as a bouncer at a strip club a few nights a week. i only did this one for a couple of months. as i said before, it wasn't long after this that i quit.

it was horrible, and it damn near drove me insane. it was affecting my everyday life. i found that it began to change my personality. i would go to bed feeling angry, and wake up feeling angry. i hated the people who would frequent it, i hated the manger, i hated the people who worked there, i hated the strippers, the verbal abuse, the physical incidents. i started this assignment only because i was garaunteed 4 shifts a week and higher pay.

usually we had two bouncers working at this place each night. in my opinion, at this place 2 men = desperately under-staffed. to make matters worse, usually on a sunday only one guard works there because it's pretty quiet.

well, this night it was incredibly fucking busy because tomorrow was a public holiday.

it began as normal, the excrement arriving to size me up as they walked in the door. this place attracted some dodgy people... anyways, i was standing by the front door, checking IDs as they walked in and chatting to people outside. a few hours went by without much going on. then one guy in particular was going on about his mate. he said that he was a great fighter and a bit crazy. one time he knocked out a copper for telling him not to smoke in a certain area. he had done kickboxing for a few years and was good at it. not very tall, curly blond hair, a bit of a nugget. he was really bragging.

then my buzzer went off, letting me know that there was some problem inside i had to attend to.

i went in, and incredibly, there was a man standing there yelling at one of the strippers who perfectly fit the description i had heard seconds earlier. i asked the stripper what was going on, she told me that this guy was acting like a dickhead and might need to be removed. i asked the bloke what the problem was.

(i want to explain at this point that i'm not in the least bit intimidating to look at, and i make no effort to be anything but nice. i would constantly get comments at work like "you should be working in a bank or something mate!" this can work for or against you. usually it's a good thing, but there are always peeps who would like to take advantage of what they perceive as weakness.)

he said that he had been ripped off for $5 bucks. he had bought some stripper tokens (these bloody things often caused trouble with the clients) and wanted his money back since he didn't want to use them. there had been some confusion at the bar, he didn't want to buy them in the first place.

but the club policy stipulated that the tokens were not refundable. i pretty much agreed with this guy that he'd been ripped off, but unfortunately it was my job to enforce their bullshit.

i said that i'd talk to the manager and see if we could get his $5 back. the manager said no. i went back to him and explained. he said he wasn't leaving until he got his money back. again, i went back to the manager, a crazy bitch who had dealt with too many arseholes in her life, which had turned her into an aggressive nutcase.. she ordered me to throw him out.

so i asked him to leave. he had been semi reasonable up to this point, but now he was losing it because i wouldn't negotiate. i said i'm really sorry, but he had to leave.

he had put his glass down during our talk, and i could see no friends of his nearby, which i was very happy about. either one of these factors could have made me bail out completely -

- i did exactly that a couple of weeks later while again facing someone on my own - i was asked to kick him out, but he just wouldn't put down that fucking glass, so i didn't touch him. just talked and talked and waited until help showed up about 30 minutes later. the guy either felt outnumbered or that he had made his point, whatever the fuck it was, and left. the manager wasn't happy about this and didn't want me back to work there, which was great since only the day before i'd told my boss that i was quitting the strip club after the weekend was over -

- many people have different motivations and ideas of what is the best outcome for this sort of situation. in my mind, working as a guard, the best outcome is essentially the safest one. that means safe for people, property, money, and my own body. if i felt that the risk was a little too high, screw it. my job wasn't worth my health.

other people see things differently.

i was debating with another guard one night who was known for having a hot temper and for getting into a lot of fights at work. i couldn't understand why he would act that way. he let me understand in pretty simple terms - he'd rather fight and possibly get hurt than go through the anger and frustration he felt for days, weeks afterwards. i think that explains a lot. he was solving a problem the best way he knew how, and i think that's how most people work. especially these fools who pick fights on the street. your life may suck, but if you can beat the shit out of someone who is smaller, weaker and doesn't want to fight in the first place, well at least you're better than someone at fighting.

back to the story. the guy had decided by now that he would try to intimidate me into giving him his $5. he pushed his forehead into my cheek while yelling at me. he probably would have preffered to be pushing into my forehead, but he was a little shorter than i. his face was twisted up like a growling dog.

i'd tried talking to him as best i could, but now it seemed that he was seriously thinking about hitting me . i was convinced that we were going to be fighting very soon whether i liked it or not, so i took the initiative.

he was right up in my face with his hands down, and i grabbed him around the waist and lifted him up so that his feet were just above the ground, then carried him through the front door of the strip club, over the footpath and on to the street. while i was doing this he didn't move much, i think he was a little shocked that i was the one who started the physical engagement. also, i think that perhaps he didn't think of it as a fight yet, because a punch hadn't been thrown. he wasn't sure what to do. this has happened to me a couple of times while grappling people.

hooking his legs with one of mine, i made sure that we immediately went to the ground, and i was on top. it's easier to just restrain someone than actually fight them.

so i was sitting on top of him, and he was fucking FURIOUS. i told him that i was going to let him up, but that he had to calm down first. he was grabbing at my shirt and basically trying to bench press me off. at this point my name tag had been ripped off and my watch was smashed.

he was screaming at me and wouldn't listen. i applied a forearm choke for a bit so i could get a word in. of course, as soon as i let go he spat more threats. i actually said "look mate, i'm being really nice, i could really hurt you right now. PLEASE calm the fuck down."

there was a weird moment where i removed my broken watch and threw it aside and he went quiet and said "was that mine?" i replied "no", and we went on as before.

he kept telling me to let him up. i explained that i didn't trust him and was worried that he might attack me so calm down and i'll let you up.

i realised that people in the crowd were calling me to let him up. i became concerned that if i didn't, then the other people might turn on me, and i'd be fighting a number of people instead of one. i felt it was important to keep them on my side.

plus, i still wanted to give this bloke a chance to walk away and not ruin the night any further for both of us. so i let him up.

i stood up and took a few steps back. he also got up and came straight at me, muttering something through clenched teeth. as he came in range and began to throw a punch i shot under it, grabbed him around the middle and did that simple takedown where you push their upper body with yours, move forward and hook a leg to bring them down (it's so much easier when they don't know how to sprawl).

in my mind things had gone past the point of no return. there was no more negotioation, no more chances. i thought, "that's it. fuck you. you're fucked".

i was again on top. he tried to roll over to his hands and knees and i let him, and took his back. i crossed my feet and squeezed my legs as wasn't worried about him trying to footlock me, and slapped on the rear naked choke. we rolled to our sides. i started to put on a body triangle but my boots were making it awkward so i didn't bother.

then he tried to punch me. i found it almost comical. he was really flailing away for a few seconds. it took roughly 15 seconds for him to go to sleep, but before then his mate who i'd been talking to just a couple of minutes ago was pulling my hair and i think he hit me, but i hardly felt it. it didn't last long and for some reason he went away (i found out later that a few people in the crowd had been holding his friend back, which was very lucky). i had a lump on my head afterwards, it might have been from that.

the bloke i was strangling went limp and i stood up. someone ran over and started shaking the guy to wake him. he was totally out, and i was worried that i may have put the strangle on for too long. i was about to put him in the recovery position when i noticed his friend charging at me - the fucking crowd had decided to set him loose to see what would happen.

so his friend comes at me in basically the same way as his mate and i change levels and clinch. he offers up a little more resistance than his friend so i stand up straighter while keeping underhooks. i managed to do some kind of strange trip thing which got him down pretty quick.

i ended up in a funny position in a sort of side control but with a foot underneath him. i can't quite remember how it looked, but the big boot i was wearing kept me stuck there, so i yanked my leg out and the boot slipped off (it had elastic sides, i bought them cos i'm lazy and don't want to tie/untie them every time i go to work and come home). i moved around to his other side, this time having a proper side control.

like his friend he attemped to get up by moving to his hands and knees, and again i took the back and started to strangle him, my one big black boot in contrast to the white sock on the other foot.

he started twisting in to face me, which was much smarter than the other lad's approach. but i kept control and the choke was on tight.

somehow i realised that he was trying to vomit. i loosened the grip a little bit and he spewed alcohol on to the road beside us. i let go completely to let him vomit and recover. he rolled over slowly and looked at me. his lips were blue, and he mumbled something incomprehensible. he really didn't look very good.

after that it gets a bit hazy, but shortly afterwards i was standing there watching the police and another guard from my company who had been called up from nearby. they must have arrived almost immediately after...? i'm not sure. i think the other guard got there during my caper with the second fellow, and then dealt with the first one who had probably recovered a bit.

while he was being pinned by the other guard, the first chap i choked out screamed "you're too scared to fight me, cunt!". i said "that WAS fighting mate", and he just went quiet.

the other dude was now standing up. i noticed that there was a large wet patch around his groin. i guess that when you're drunk with a full bladder being strangled unconscious it's hard to hold it in. it may also have happened before the rear naked choke, just because he was fighting as hard as he could to get me off him.

i remember my arm being really tired, i was glad i didn't have to use it any more. i probably didn't have to squeeze so hard to choke them out... but i was pretty pumped up i guess.

so the police are asking who the bouncer was, and they seemed a little surprised when they found out it was me. i explained that i was attacked while trying to lawfully remove someone from the premises, so had to place a restraining hold on these guys and they passed out. no more questions were asked.

the first chap was taken away by the police and fined $2000, the second one had taken off down the street and was screaming something, then disappeared.

i went back to work and finished my shift with scuffed boots and a few grazes. later on that night i narrowly missed getting into a couple more fights.

it was a very emotional night. this shift finished at 3am. in my car on the way home, i cried and punched the steering wheel. when i got home, i didn't get to sleep until about 7am. i'd cried and had trouble sleeping over events at work before, but this was a kind of breaking point. after this i became even more reluctant to touch anyone. i really didn't want any more.

a lot of guards i'd speak to would have similar problems with sleep after situations like that. some probably even have post traumatic stress disorder.

there was this other guard i was talking to one night while guarding some cars. he was a tough guy, a very capable guard, very nice and i enjoyed working with him. he'd been in the business for about 15 years and a lot of crazy situations. for some reason on this night he decided to open up to me.

he said that he was losing his mind. he said that he had been having mood swings, nightmares and would just start crying for no reason. like, he could be watching any show on TV and he'd cry. he was depressed and was on medication. i told him that he needed to quit this fucking job. he seemed reluctant, said he had a mortgage to pay. last i heard he was still working as a guard.

i think a lot of guards go through this kind of thing. if i'd stayed in the job that long i'd be a nutcase. if you can go through all that with any emotional scars, you're not normal.

but it's been more than a year since i quit that job, and i've been pretty happy since.

well, i guess that's the end of the story. thanks for reading.

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