The Scorpion Shooting

There I was, minding my own business…

The Scorpion was a rough bar that I hung out in as a minor. Before it was The Scorpion, it had been a biker bar. Remember, “Get your beer and dancers at The Scorpion and hard liquor next door from The Rock.” Yes, The Scorpion is now that parking lot next to The Rock. Probably buried underground is that huge safe that would’ve required a crane to lift, and life being as cheap as it is, it probably made more sense just to pave over the darned thing.

I was 15 at the time. I bicycled over from my grandfather’s house, and dumped the bike in some bushes so no one would see them. I walked into the bar and ordered a beer. There was no way I was going to pass for 21, but they liked the fact that I had stones enough to walk in there in the first place, and I was sorta adopted as a sidekick. Later, the owner of the bar was arrested, and mysteriously, the bar was bought by one of the cops who had been in on the bust. It became a strip club, and since I was already a fixture, no one ever questioned how old I was.

There were three rooms in The Scorpion. There was the beaver barroom at one end, where the dancers danced on a microscopic stage. There were two entrances to the bar, one at the back and through the front door. The middle room was the mudpit, where mud wrestling took place. The back room had a couple of pool tables in it, and a couple of pinball machines. There was another entrance through the bar back there.

I was sitting in the beaver bar to one side of the back entrance to the room, when two men and a woman came into the bar and took a seat. Diane, the waitress, carded the trio. They, of course, had all mysteriously left their ID’s at home. After a small ruckus, the trio stormed out.

After about an hour, I heard the backroom door slam open. At about the same time, I saw the barrel of a shotgun come through the back door where I was sitting. I believe, “Oh shit,” were my exact words, when the guy holding the shotgun at waist level, began shooting. The first shot shattered the mirror behind the dancer, who hit the ground screaming. I ducked, and flipped my table so the top would shield me.

I cannot begin to describe the sound of a shotgun going off at close range to you, when it’s wielded by someone intent on shooting up the place. A couple of more people also figured out that flipping their tables would be a good survival strategy. I like being a trend-setter. I smelled someone literally peeing their pants, and a corner of my table got blown off. It really stopped being a whole lot of fun at that moment.

Shooting was also happening in the back room. Shotgun blasts.

At a moment between all the blasts, I heard a quiet click, and Danny, the owner, popped up from behind the bar and shot the guy with the shotgun in our room. The guy hit the back wall, and bounced forward. Danny kept shooting slowly and steadily, while the guy kept hitting the wall and bouncing off of it. Now it smelled like gunpowder and blood.

The shooting finally stopped, and the guy bounced off of the wall one last time, and fell face down on the floor by my table, splattering blood everywhere. The shotgun itself fell within a few feet of me.

Someone started yelling in the backroom that he surrendered, and in between the ringing in my ears, I could have sworn I heard him throw down his shotgun.

It was at this point, a few thoughts went through my head. One guy was probably dead. Danny’s gun was probably out of bullets. I was a minor in a bar filled with gun smoke. Hmm, being here was probably not a good thing. I went over what was left of my table, and bolted for the back door in our room. I jumped into my car, my legs all rubbery and my hands shaking, digging desperately for my keys, which I then dropped on the floor. I groped around for a moment, came up with the keys, started the car, and hauled ass out of there.

I’ve told this story probably a hundred times to people. I was met with skepticism by many, amazement by others. The story eventually went to the wayside, and I didn’t mention it much.

Something like 15 years went by, and I was at a BBS party, hanging out with some fellow geeks. The subject of shootings came up, and I told my story. After I told my story, a woman said, “Holy shit, you were there?!”

I’ll be damned if she wasn’t a dancer, in the mudpit room at the time. She told her side of the story, being in the room between the two shooters. It was a kind of vindication for all the naysayer’s over the years, but there it is. I was in The Scorpion the night it was shot up, crouched behind a table, watching plaster and mirrors shatter all around me.

Here’s a toast to Boom Boom, who opened Boom Boom’s Saloon. To Thumper, who had the rabbit tattooed on her hip and could make that bunny thump it’s foot like nothing you’ve ever seen. To Brown Eyes, Teresa, and all the others. Even that scary dancer with the tongue that was probably longer than Gene Simmons’. We won’t go down that merry little path here.

There are many lessons to draw from this little tale. The pillar of morality would say, stay the heck out of bars when you’re underaged. I’m not going to waste my breath. First, if you wrestle someone in a mud pit, take out the big one first, the middleweight second and spend an hour working on the little one. Wait, I don’t think we covered that story. First, save your ass, then save your beer. In that order. Second, don’t shoot up bars. People tend to take that sort of thing personal. And third…well, heck, you get the idea. Make for the hills when the shooting stops.

That’s my story, and I’m sort of sticking to it.

Here’s some songs from that night…

You Dropped A Bomb On Me – The Gap Band

Brick House – The Commodores

Superfreak – Rick James

By the way, if anyone has any pics of The Scorpion in Fort Wayne, Indiana, please let me know! 

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