Portishead Guy

It’s around midnight, pint night, pouring shit ton of beers. I’m talking to two friends’ of mine at the bar, there’s another guy to my right. There’s something definitely off about the guy, can’t really put my finger on it. He’s being quiet so far, but he’s got a crazy look in his eyes. I wouldn’t say he’s drunk acting. He’s just menacing.

He says to me, hey. Could you play some Portishead? I think for a second, say, sorry. Don’t have any Portishead on my iPhone. I walk away. Minute later I’m back, talking to my friends, guy raises his voice. Well, he says. Who DO YOU listen to? I say, um…listening to Todd Terje right now. Had some Strokes on before. He turns to my buddies, says, this guy’s a real asshole, isn’t he?

Yes, I am an asshole, but not in this moment right now, so no, he doesn’t have a right to say that.

I say, sir. I don’t know what to say. I don’t have any Portishead on my iPhone. Therefore. I can’t play any Portishead.

He yells back, SIR! SIR!!! Mocking what I just said.

I grab his beer, put it behind the bar. It’s about 3/4th full. I grab $3 from my tip jar, put it in front of him, say, there’s your $3 back for your beer. I want you to leave now.

He says, I want you to pay me back for my other two beers. For terrible service.

I say, you get $3. Now leave.

He says, I’m not going anywhere.

This guy looks insane. His hair is all over the place, looks like he hasn’t washed it in days. Half beard. Something is seriously wrong with this guy.

I say, you leave now, or I’m calling the cops. He says, defiantly, I’m not going anywhere until you pay me back my money.

I grab my phone, unplug it from the stereo, call the cops. Yes, this is Clint Curtis, bartender at the Lift…

I get off the phone with the cops, guy is sitting there. My friend next to him is trying to talk sense to him. Dude, get the fuck out of here. Do you want to go to jail?

I walk back up to him, he gets up off his chair. I say, leaving so soon? I’ve got your escort coming. He says, I WORK FOR A DES MOINES MAGAZINE.

And that’s it.

I was waiting for something else to go along with it, like, and I’m going to write a big expose on how the bartender at the Lift WON’T PLAY PORTISHEAD.

He finally leaves, I call the cops back, tell them they don’t need to come.

Ten minutes later, I’m pouring a beer, I hear the door open, I don’t think much of it. Another customer. By the time I turn back around, my friend at the bar says, did you see that? I said, see what? He says, the Portishead guy just came in, forgot his hat. He was smoking a cigarette too, trying to be all bad.

I smell, yeah, I can smell a cigarette.

You know, it sucks when you’re at a bar, you say goodbye to all of your friends, you leave, then realize, oh shit, I left my hat in the bar, and you have to go back in.

It sucks even worse when you get kicked out of the bar, and have to go back in.

-Clint Curtis

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