It was an unfortunate series of events that led me to living in Perth, Western Australia in 1988. I was used to living in big cities and at the time, Perth was a big old country town.
I didn’t really ‘fit in’ and was constantly winding up in fights with gangs of bogans or the Nazi skinheads who hung out downtown. Actually, they weren’t ‘fights’ so much as me getting my head kicked in by a pack of cunts.
I have since come to realise that taking a beating is an important part of growing up and adds character to any well rounded young chap.
I ended up living in a cheap room above the Old Melbourne Hotel. Below my room was a strip club that was open on weekends. I didn’t have a TV so on weekends I would do the next best thing and eat a handful of Avil, sit at the top of the stairs and watch the bouncers at the doors of the strip club bash people.
They weren’t much dash really and picked their fights carefully and never went one on one. Cheap drunks and young blokes were their favourite targets. After a bashing they would puff themselves up and slap each other on the back which made me think, why don’t they just get it over with and suck each other’s pricks?
Each weekend I sat at the top of the stairs hoping that this would be the night they learnt that there was always someone tougher out there. Inspiration comes from the strangest places and the last place I expected it to come from was a man with no legs.
He left his wheelchair at the bottom of the stairs and proceeded to lift himself up step by step using his arms. The bouncers watched him from their stools at the entrance to the strip club and giggled viciously.
There were two flights of stairs to get to the club and after a while the guy got to the top landing and swung his torso along using his arms like a skier uses poles. The bouncers stopped him at the door and with barely contained mirth explained, “ya can’t come in here without a collared shirt, mate.”
The legless guy tried to reason with them explaining that he had ‘waited all week’ to come to the strip bar. The bouncers started laughing openly at him and continued their ‘collared shirt’ line. Legless started to get pissed off and asked them why they didn’t tell him that when they saw him at the bottom of the stairs?
The bouncers started to abuse him and mock his condition. From where I was sitting, I had a good view of his physique and could see that he had very broad shoulders and arms ripped with muscle. I guess because he had no legs the bouncers thought he was an easy mark.
I considered standing up to tell him that it wasn’t really worth it; the strippers were all flat chested Velociraptors with all the grace of a ballerina on Rohypnol. Then Legless lost it, he punched out a banister then wielded it like a club.
He moved in on the bouncers and started attacking their knees with wild swings. He brought down one of the bouncers and obliterated his face with the piece of wood. The other bouncer came in and kicked him, he grabbed his leg and bit down hard. That bouncer fell too and was bashed stupid by Legless and his piece of wood.
I was stoked to see the bouncers finally get their come-uppance and stood to watch in awe. Eventually the fight came to a Mexican stand-off with the bouncers not willing to make a move and Legless punching out more balustrades and throwing them at the bouncers.
Some of the strippers came out to see what all the commotion was about and were met with a Tasmanian Devil swinging his arms and spitting obscenities. The bouncers retreated into the club under the pretence of taking care of the strippers and slammed the door.Legless beat on the doors with a lump of wood until the cops arrived.
It took four cops to get him into a divvy van, with just two on his arms he would spin around and head butt them or bite them. I ran into my room to watch from the window as the cops put him in the van and here is the thing; the divvy van rocked violently from side to side as if possessed. Even for someone with legs, this is quite an achievement (I have tried it) – but old Legless got that divvy van rockin’ like a Sandman at a drive in circa 1975.
The next weekend, the bouncers were a bit more civil but they soon reverted to their true natures. But I had seen the truth! Both of them had been humbled by half a man.