Don McAlavy: CNJ columnist
This is a story a local actor named Fred told me.
“It started as fun at Edd’s Bar north of Clovis. Playing pool, having a few beers, with three of my friends from the Caprock Amphitheater after a hard day of rehearsal. I was a young man then, not quite of the legal drinking age. My name is Fred, the horse wrangler and an actor. Rudy, the choreographer, was about 50. Also with us was Scott, the audio director and Valerie, a dang good fiddle player and dancer. The four of us spent a lot of time playing 8-Ball and taking turns dancing with Valerie. This was in June 10, 1988.
“I was lining up to make what was probably going to be the most difficult and spectacular shot of all time when this drunk from out of nowhere grabbed my cue and said ‘Let me show you how to shoot that shot!’ Startled, I stepped back and watched him mess up my 50 cents worth of entertainment. I told him I didn’t need any of his help. I told him to get out of my face! He laughed, slapped me on the arm and left. We all thought it was over. After that little bit of nerve that I showed, Valerie and Scott wanted to call it a night and head back to the amphitheatre, but they didn’t.“Well, the drunk showed back up and started cussing me out and I just stood there making fun of him. In a second or two he went back to a seat at the bar. We paid our bill and were leaving when we heard a voice from the bar say “Who daddy? Just tell me who said that to you!” It was Idiot Jr., who weighed about 300 pounds. We paid no mind to the drunken ramblings of Idiot Jr. and left.
“Rudy and I left in his pickup, with me driving and Valerie and Scott in his rig followed, passing us and yelling ‘They’re following us!’ What really ticked me off was the two or three times they bumped Rudy’s pickup from the back. Rudy and I pulled into the amphitheatre gates there on the edge of the Caprock. A pair of headlights followed us in. Valerie and Scott had also come up and we all stopped at the gate. We all got out to see who the third party was. Idiot Sr. stepped out of his truck with the big end of a pool cue in his hand.
The stick, that he intended on using for furthering my education in pool hall etiquette, had a brass ball on the end of it. He was ranting and raving about what he was about to do but apparently didn’t have the stones to do anything, or so I thought. Rudy seeing me in my predicament came up to try to bring a sense of calm and rational to a world of pickled brains. Idiot Sr. turned to Rudy and told him “You just stay out of it sir.” I took my eyes off this idiot for just a second to tell Rudy to just back off and I would handle it. Idiot Sr. saw his opportunity and clubbed me upside the head with that cue stick handle.
“Don, when he hit me like that I just lost it. I punched him probably three or four times. Every one of them hitting him hard on the head. He fell to the ground landing on his back and I sat down on his chest and begin to beat on his face with my fists. I stopped, my head clearing, stood up and stepped away just in time for Idiot Jr. to come up behind and get me in a headlock. Idiot, Jr. was trying to ram my head into the fender of their truck, but his own blubber was padding the blow for me. He stopped trying to put the hurt on me for just a half second to get a better hold on my 125-pound body.
“Scott came up and told Idiot Jr. to turn me loose, and when Junior didn’t he grabbed a hand full of his hair and pulling back, giving me a chance to get loose unscathed. Scott let him go. I turned to face my challenger, stepped in and rat-a-tatted his floppy face a couple of times with my knuckles, but he was just too big for me to knock down. But he had lost all his spirit for fighting and backed off.
“My friends directed me to one of the pickups and headed up with me to the amphitheater a mile away. Valerie, who had witnessed the fight, was in hysterics and thought for sure that those guys would surely be coming to kill me that night. I took a shower, washing all the blood off me, trying to figure out where it was coming from. Found out none of it was mine. I never ran into those idiots again.”
You never wanted to walk up on the wrong side of Fred. Today he’s married with two small kids, and is the top man in produce inspection in Denver for the U. S. Government. Fred was from Portales.
Don McAlavy is Curry County’s historian. He can be contacted at: