I completely rewrote the fight in the bar. The first draft read like a disjoint assembly of sentences and did nothing, really, to pull the reader into the fight. So I went over it again and tried to connect one idea to the next one in a logical sequence which would lead the reader through the scene and make it believable. In a burst of exhibitionism I am posting the relevant excerpt blow. Let me know what you think.
“Hey, boy, do you know where the men’s room is?” Munching on her burger, Liz looked up and straight into the alcohol reddened face of the guy. A thin, lipless mouth, closely set eyes and a waft of alcohol laden breath did nothing to ingratiate him to Liz. She had a pretty good idea where this was headed and didn’t like it a bit.
“If you’re looking for the men’s room, that’s right behind me and to the left”, she replied and busied herself with her burger. The boots stayed where they were. Liz looked up again. “What’s the problem?” she asked, “You can’t decide whether to pee here or maybe go to the restroom after all?” She bit her tonge: maybe that wasn’t the smartest thing to say under the circumstances but she couldn’t really take it back now.
The guy didn’t show any sign of having heard Liz’s snide remark. Slowly a smile spread on the man’s face. This was going to be even better than he had imagined. “Hey, Al! Look what’ve got here!” he shouted across to his buddy at the bar. “Not a boy at all but a gal!” Liz was still chewing, trying to swallow the bite to be able to respond. “What? Did I hear you invite me to sit down? Thank you very much!” and with that he pulled out a chair opposite of Liz and plunked himself down heavily.
He leaned across the table and looked Liz in the eye, “You know, you’re sitting right in front of the men’s room. Hardly a proper place for a young girl to be. Why don’t you come over to the bar and join us there?” The tip of his tongue protruding lightly between his lips betrayed his intentions had they not been sufficiently clear already.
Finally Liz had managed to swallow. “I have another proposition.” she said, “Why don’t you get up, mosey on over to the men’s room, relieve yourself and then return to your buddy who is waiting for you at the bar? That way I can finish my burger in peace and you won’t have to embarrass yourself.”
Without reply, the guy reached over, took a fry from Liz’s plate and stuck it in his mouth. Chewing provocatively, he grinned broadly and then turned his head toward his companion who was still at the bar, watching how this was going to play out. “Did you hear this, Al? She’s a little pesky. What do you want me to do?” he shouted. This was followed by a loud cheer and clapping from his friend. Encouraged by the moral backup of his friend, he turned back to Liz. “Apparently, your mother didn’t teach you any manners. That’s no way to treat a gentleman. No way to treat a gentleman at all”, he repeated unnecessarily. “But if you’re nice to me, I’ll show you how nice I can be to you.” And he started to laugh as if he had just delivered the punch line of a hilarious joke.
Liz felt herself getting angry. She knew the smart thing would be to get up and walk out of the situation before it was too late. But that felt like letting the other guy win. So she turned her head to the left, showing him the right side of her neck that prominently featured a tattoo in the form of a Chinese letter. “See this?” she asked, “Do you know what it means?”
The guy leaned closer, burped and examined the tattoo. “It’s fucking Chinese! How should I know?”
“It says ‘Fuck off!’ in Chinese. And I hope that hint wasn’t too subtle for you.”
“You bitch! I’ll teach you manners!” With this he got up a bit too quickly so that the chair fell over and he was slightly off balance. Liz used this moment and with all her force pushed the table against him, which hit him squarely across both thighs so that he took a step backward and stumbled over the chair behind him. The waiter and the other man at the bar watched the scene without intervening. Liz grabbed her jacked and rushed toward the exit, trying to avoid the chair on the ground. Unfortunately, her offender had regained his balance and blocked her exit. The alcohol mixed with the humiliation of being almost knocked to the ground by a girl contorted his face into a grimace of anger. “That’ll cost you dearly, bitch!” he hissed between clenched teeth. He grabbed her by the arm, and Liz tried to tear free, but he had gripped her so tightly that it really hurt. From the corner of her eye she saw that the table where the lone patron had been sitting was now empty. But her observation was cut short by a painful slap across her face which stung painfully. Instinctively she tried to turn away and protect her face. “Somebody ought to teach you some respect, you slut!” and with this she felt a punch to her left kidney that sent a searing pain through her body. She doubled up, waiting for the next impact.
“Wanna try something more your size or do you get it off by hitting young girls?” she heard a new voice. The hand holding her arm let go. Before she could turn around and look, the original question was followed by a thud and a crunching noise. Then the impact of a heavy body on the floor, all within the space of two seconds. A loud cry of pain came from the figure on the floor which she recognized as her offender. Cupping his nose with both hands she could see a trickle of blood between his fingers. Towering over him was the tall guy from the table near the window, who had just landed another nasty kick to the man’s head. The sorry figure on the floor was bleeding from a split lip and an obviously broken nose. The whimpering had intensified to a loud wailing.
The two men at the bar had not moved a finger yet. They were shocked by the turn of events and frightened by the ferociousness of the tall stranger treating the man on the ground like a punching bag. Liz was afraid what might happen next. It could be one of two things, neither bearing good prospects. Either the guy on the ground was going to be beaten to a pulp if this was allowed to continue, or the two people at the bar came to their senses and threw themselves into the fight. Liz realized that she needed to intervene. She grabbed the nearly full glass of beer left on her table and threw its contents into the face of her defender. “Stop!” she yelled, “That’s enough, you’re killing him!” The unexpected cold shower apparently did the trick and he stopped. This was now a vulnerable moment because if she didn’t take control of the situation, the two men at the bar would surely take advantage of this moment of surprise and throw themselves into the fight, which would shift the balance of forces unfavorably. She looked at the bartender and said with her best commanding voice, “Call an ambulance! Now!” She knew that this would buy her some time because now he didn’t think of fighting anymore and had a concrete task to complete which would take him at least half a minute to finish
She looked her defender in the face for the first time. A look of bewilderment and confusion told her that she couldn’t expect much help from him at the moment. If she wanted things done, she needed to do them herself. So she picked up her jacket, which had fallen to the floor, took the stranger by the hand and started to pull him toward the door. “Hey, you, wake up! We need to get out of here in a hurry!” Like a mother her child, she was dragging the much taller man toward the exit. They needed to get out before the spell of the moment broke and the other guy had a chance to stop them. On the way out, Liz remembered to take the heavy down jacket from the coat rack close to the exit. She hoped that it would be his. In a couple of seconds she was out the door, still dragging her savior after her like a petulant child