He didn’t know, as the night began, that it would end for him in jail. Not an individual cell, a large one with ten roommates, mostly drunks picked up off the streets for disorderly conduct, one of whom insisted on being naked from the waist down and keeping in constant motion. He didn’t know he’d be staring at this drunken, half naked man pacing the room as he lay on a mat on a concrete floor; he hadn’t expected to be anywhere at this hour other than home in his comfy bed, and he missed it dearly.
Drinks with Bob early. Theoretically they were celebrating, though they would’ve been at the bar anyway, probably just later and not as rowdy. They were celebrating today’s victory in the rec league championship with exaggerated joy, laughing and drinking loudly and largely with a wired but sloppy sort of intensity.
Some hours passed and a few guys from the losing team came to the bar and Bob said something. The other guys didn’t really care about what was said, the words meant nothing just like winning or losing the rec league championship meant nothing. But these were the sort of guys who looked for a fight. They came to the bar to drink heavily and then look for a fight, it’s what they did. They said something back to Bob and he and Bob erupted in laughter, raised their shot glasses and threw back another. Bob said something about kicking their asses in the game that day, and the guys from the losing team just looked at each other and then back down at their drinks.
When he and Bob left the bar the other men left too. “Hey,” one of them called out, “how about you try to kick our asses again right now?” He and Bob kept walking. Then the men, three of them, caught up and one of them tapped Bob on the shoulder and punched him in the face.
He reacted when Bob fell to the ground the only way he knew how. He hit the guy who’d hit Bob and the guy went down. One of the others hit him and in that brief moment, drunk, he couldn’t think about anything at all, he just knew he was outnumbered and had to get dirty. He did what he had to do and when the cops got there, Bob was still on the ground and two others were too. The cops saw him with his knee to the third guy’s chest, pinning him down.
He protested with slurred speech but the cops arrested him only, to make a point. Now there he was, locked up with a half naked man who might’ve seen a few years since his last shower, watching him pace, braced to shield himself in case the guy came close. Some of the others slept. They must not be concerned, he thought, or just too drunk to stay awake. He knew at that moment where he wanted to be: anywhere but jail.