When security walked into the bathroom, the Yard Gnome had just finished putting his cocaine in his underwear, all while complaining he had no duct tape to secure it under his scrotum. Fast Eddie was wiping cocaine boogers off his face, and I was trying to stop the bleeding from my outer ear.

Security Guard: What the hell are you doing here!
Sir Jolters: These men were assaulted by the guy in the red shirt! He beat the hell out them over a gambling debt. Quick, catch him before leaves!
The Yard Gnome: And call 911! I want to press charges!

The bewildered guard scampered from the restroom, and Sir Jolters said emphatically, “We need to go now. Numbnuts here just go the cops involved.”

So we ran — out of the stadium and up Drinkwater Boulevard to lose ourselves in the art show at the Civic Center. For reasons unclear now, the Yard Gnome had my backpack on his back, but soon was twenty yards ahead of us. They sky was grey, an indicator that summer was finally loosening its grip on the Valley. Still, we were winded pretty quickly; adrenaline surges only trump years of neglect to one’s body for so long.

Sir Jolters: Look at him with that backpack. He looks like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. RUN! FORREST! RUN!

The sight of the Yard Gnome backpack altered gait seemed extremely funny to us, and we laughed hard, quitting our run. The Yard Gnome kept loping, but we were done running — until we heard the sirens. We made it into parking garage to catch our breaths out of sight. The Yard Gnome was waiting for us.

YG: Jesus, you fuckers are old. Don’t die on us, Eric (Sir Jolters)! I can’t explain that one to your wife.
SJ: Just shut up for once. We wouldn’t be running if you hadn’t told him to call the cops. Now we need a plan.
FE: We can’t go to the art show. Too many witnesses.
Me: We’ll blend in.
FE: No, we won’t. Look at yourself. You are still bleeding, and that shirt is ruined. People dress nice at art shows; you will stick out.
YG (looking at me): Good. I have been meaning to talk to you about that shirt anyway. It is time to let your wife start dressing you.
SJ: Knock it off. We are going to end up in Tent City if we don’t think.
FE: We can’t think here. They’ll be searching the garages first.
Me: Let’s go to Blue Moose.
FE: Are you nuts! That is the closest bar to the stadium.
Me: Karsen’s then.
FE: They’ll look there too!
ME: I need to get my head right, plus they will have something to disinfect me ear. Asshole over there probably has rabies.
FE: Well, then you are fucked anyway. Don’t drag us down with you.
SJ: No, he is right. Karsen’s it is. Rocks will know what to do.

Rocks was the bartender at Karsen’s, called so because the smallest shot he’d pour came in a rocks glass. He was a dull witted chap, so I didn’t how he was going to help us, but the ear was starting to throb. Not for the last time, we rolled into Karsen’s to assess our immediate future.

Next: To The Casino!

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