By Judy Berman
A four-on-one catfight in a garishly-lit eatery with tinny Muzak in the background is certainly a far cry from vicious attacks by roving thugs that you see on the nightly news.
Yet the five-woman brawl in the suburban eatery was a disturbing incident. It left me wondering how far it would have gone if restaurant workers, customers and Onondaga County sheriff’s deputies had not been there to stop it.
The reason for the outbreak is even more unsettling. The four women apparently just didn’t like the fifth woman’s looks.
What the restaurant lacks in atmosphere, it sometimes makes up for in free entertainment. This night, it was: “hash browns, but hold the hooligans.”
On a bleary-eyed weekday morning, some people are drawn here for the good, hot coffee. Fewer still for the food.
Most go there because it’s one of the few places that’s still open after the pubs close.
This setting is a familiar one to fans of the movie, “The Diner” (1982). In the movie college-age characters hang out at their beloved diner as they struggle with their passage into adulthood. The struggle here in this diner is real as well.
I take in the confrontation and suspect all five might have had a run-in earlier at some bar. Or maybe too much booze led to the overflow of insults that led to the assault.
One of the four women, a brunette, made no effort to conceal her contempt for the blonde who was waiting on a bench with two guys until they could be seated at a table.
The brunette, dressed in black, looked like she was itching for a fight. She verbally slammed the blonde for the way she looked and dressed, and for being with the two men. Any patron near them could overhear the steady stream of insults. The blonde said nothing.
But when the blonde and the two guys got up to go to a table, the blonde accused the women of being jealous.
Suddenly, the restaurant floor became a tangle of bodies. At first, it was only the blonde and the outspoken brunette. Within seconds, the brunette’s friends joined the fray, and all four of them were outside the blonde’s weight class.
When the going got tough, the blonde’s companions got going. They disappeared into the woodwork until the fighting was over.
Bystanders tried to break up the fight and pull the women on the floor apart. The brunette continued to kick the blonde while she was on the floor. Then, someone gave the brunette the bum’s rush outside.
Moments later, the brunette returned and renewed her attack on the blonde and on a man who had tried to pull them apart. Before police arrived, the brunette and her friends continued their scratching and gouging.
One of the girls delivered sly kicks to the blonde on the floor who was getting the worst of the mismatch.
A man who tried to end the fight earned a few bruises for his efforts from the brunette who jumped on his back and began pummeling him. The arrival of the men with badges didn’t initially dampen her ire, either.
The stories woven on how and why the fight broke out depended on the author of the moment. The deputies were doing their best to sort it out outside so the restaurant could get back to business – some of which it had already lost.
Two handfuls of blonde hair by the restaurant’s doorway were the only reminders of the brawl.
The blonde’s companions remained in the background during the questioning, just as they had during the fighting. The man who tried to stop the fight and tend to her injuries comforted her until the two guys decided to join the blonde.
Wild things run free and unchecked. But one Friday morning, years ago at 3.a.m., they were only a few feet away.
Have you witnessed an unsettling experience while dining out … or shopping?
Music Video: “Whole Lotta Shakin Going on” Jerry Lee Lewis …. (1964 live performance) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dC0DseCyYE
Photo: The Diner (1982) – Kevin Bacon starred in Diner alongside Mickey Rourke, Steve Guttenberg, Tim Daly, Ellen Barkin and Paul Reiser. http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/01914/1982-diner_1914318i.jpg
Photo: Diner (not the one I ate at) – taken 2008 in Maine by Svetlana Miljkovic http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b6/Denny%27sdiner.jpg
Photo: Coffee in a Viennese café in Vienna, Austria – taken in 2004 by Andreas Praefcke http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/36/Cafe_Braeunerhof_Wien_2004.jpg/640px-Cafe_Braeunerhof_Wien_2004.jpg