You don’t like what you see, right?

Author: Jan Vesely
Location: Brno
This happened in the spring of 1996. I was serving my term in the army in the music group "Ondrás.”
We had come to Písek to give a performance. It was a beautiful sunny day, and we had about two hours to kill. So we decided to get a drink. We found a cozy pub, and picked a table with a view on the Otava river. There were six of us around the table. Two Roms — the dulcimer player and the first violinist – , the guys playing the second violin, bass and viola, and myself. I was to be the presenter of the performance. We talked about the program and tried to come up with something funny to start with.
Four guys who looked like skinheads entered the pub and loudly ordered a beer. We glanced their way, but continued to mind our own business.
Before long we overheard the following conversation.
“What’s the matter, you asshole? ” shouted one of the skinheads at a tiny balding man in his forties who was wearing glasses and pretending not to hear anything. The skinhead approached him. “Are you deaf or what? What are you gaping at?”
“I just glanced at you. I’m not looking at you,” said forty-something.
“You don’t like what you see, right?” continued the skinhead, grabbing the man’s shirt with his tattooed right hand.
“Really: I’m not looking at you. Leave me alone. Look, you have some Gypsies over there,” he said, diverting the skinhead’s attention to our table.
At this moment the bully’s three friends stood up and headed for our table.
“****,” I thought. We looked at each other. It was a point of no return. We couldn’t leave the dulcimer player and the first violinist alone. And we outnumbered them. We stood up as one man.
The skinheads got to our table. We stood next to each other. We were ready and waiting.
It got quiet. Nobody moved.
I tried to figure out which of the skinheads was the smallest. And I was imagining the guys playing with a hand half broken, and me announcing them with a torn-up shirt and a black eye.
Then the tattooed guy turned and went back to the man with glasses — he was still standing — and the others followed him, grabbed his shirt again and said: “Don’t tell on people,” and pushed him into his chair. Then, still followed by the others, he went to sit down and finish his beer.
We too sat down, as one man, and reflected on what had just happened.
Instead of beginning our performance with the usual humorous prologue, I started by describing our recent experience. I pointed out that we could have easily been at the local hospital instead of performing there.

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