Through the SWC:
Nobody is cooking death for dinner tonight. Always a good thing.
The last time I was in that Key Food was ten years ago, somewhere between late August and before September 11th, whenever my friend Matt's birthday was. Earlier that evening I had driven out to his party, which he had at a Chuck E Cheese out on Northern Boulevard. When I got there, the employees didn't question what an obvious non-child in a motorcycle jacket was doing showing up at a kids' venue. I was there to hang out with all of the other unsavory late 20 early 30-somethings that had gathered for Matt's 28th. Some years later I would remember this lax approach to security when I heard a story about a man in a NJ Chuck E Cheese peering over the tops of bathroom stalls as young boys did their business. I assure you the only child I stared at was this Chinese looking kid who was hogging this Star Wars Land Speeder video game where you actually get to mount a replica land speeder and destroy the empire one stormtrooper at a time. As much as I glared at him and his pile of tokens, he didn't relinquish his speeder.
After the Chuck E Cheese portion of the night ended, myself and Matt headed to Mars — the Mars Bar, that is. By then it was well after midnight and the bar was relatively empty. Matt and I were in the middle of the bar, and the only other patrons were three people a little farther down who seemed content with each other. That content was soon ended as two of the men started to escort the third out of the bar, but not before they smashed his head through a quarter inch thick plate glass window. It sounded like a shotgun went off when this guy's head hit that ancient glass, some of the last original glass left at Mars. They then dragged the guy into the middle of the crosswalk at 1st Street, threw him to the ground, and repeatedly kicked him in the face and head before taking off up 2nd Avenue.
The guy staggered to his feet and somehow made his way back to the outside of Mars, crying, "I'M BLIND! I'M BLIND," and collapsed to the sidewalk. The bartender was unsure if she should call 911. The owner didn't like the bar getting police attention.
"The guy can't fucking see. Call a goddamn ambulance! If you don't, I will," I said. This wasn't about the bar getting negative attention, there was a guy covered in blood where his face used to be lying on the sidewalk. The ambulance and police came, and they took statements from us, though we weren't much help. Nobody really got a good look at the two guys who roughed this dude up. After they took him away, the bartender thanked me for convincing her that calling 911 was the right thing to do.
With that all settled, the only thing to do was to end Matt's birthday the proper way...with a cake. So sometime between 2 and 3am (maybe even later) Matt and I headed over to 4th and A and picked up a premade birthday cake and candles from Key Food, then went back to Mars to end his birthday in style.