Wednesday, December 17, 2008

From The Archives: The Algerian

Today we bring you an updated and footnoted version of "The Algerian" which was posted at my old blog last spring. This will not be like past posts were I give you an unedited, verbatim copy with my comments on it. This one I have updated and rewritten for quality and factual purposes. Enjoy.

The Algerian: Remix

Imagine a big black rapper shouting Remix right as you start reading this.




In Leuven, there is this bar called De Giraffe (made my top slot for Leuven Bars in fact), which I frequented often for it's Balkan Beats and "interesting" clientele. On one specific night I think I became, or at least came into conversation with said clientele.

On the aforementioned evening; Daniel, Nick, Katy decided to head over to De Giraffe for the laid back atmosphere and of course they have Maes on tap.

We're on the second round when this little Algerian (it should be noted that I deemed him Algerian, he probably isn't Algerian but for this story it has to work) man comes over and starts talking to Daniel. At the time the man was speaking with such poor English and in such a hushed tone that I could not understand a word that was being said, but I could tell by Daniel's facial expressions that it wasn't positive. Afterwords Daniel would explain that the man impressed upon him that he should not "look at people like that, you don't look at people like that." Daniel not understanding what is going on gives an awkward laugh and apologizes, normal policy for fucked up foreigners who are looking for trouble. Instead of pushing the case further, or even just walking away the Algerian hands Daniel a clove of garlic, stares at him and then walks away. I mean what the fuck? Garlic?

The Algerian disappears to the back of the bar for a few minutes, then reappears and starts to make his way for the door, which in turn means passing us again, when he does about €200 falls out of his pocket. He takes two more steps and proceeds to drop €300 more

I'm a nice guy (at least I like to think I am). Being a nice guy means you help people, in this case I decided within seconds that I was going to let this man know that he just dropped a serious amount of money on the floor. In retrospect I probably should have done what the rest of the patrons at the bar did, stare at the guy and then the cash at the floor and decide he probably isn't a guy whose money you touch.

I tap the man on the shoulder and tell him that he just dropped half a grand in euro on the floor. He proceeds to clumsily bend over and "attempt" to pick it up. I say "attempt" because he was far to inebriated to organize his money into a stack and pick it up. So in my infinite wisdom, I decide to kneel down and help him pick up the money, which I do and I hand it to one of his friends who is leaning over me, big mistake. After about twenty seconds or so when we have both stood up and the money is back where it belongs the Algerian man looks at me and sticks his hand out and demands that I give him his money. I say in English that I gave his friend the money. He of course does not believe me and continues to stare at me with his hand out, while I proceed to say in every way possible that I do not have his money.

At this point his friends make themselves apparent and hustle him out of the bar while he continues to glare at me. Daniel now tells us of his encounter with the man earlier, which makes me feel so much better (not). We order another round to make sure the Algerian and his posse have cleared out of the area, and to calm my nerves a bit. I would say it took me 20 seconds to finish that beer.

Next think I know the Algerian man is in my face again, but this time his Arab friend in English says:

"Did you take his money"

I reply that I did not take his money, this includes me turning out all my pockets to show that I did not in fact pocket any of the money on the floor.

At which point the Algerian cuts me off and puts himself between me and the Arab and begins to wag a finger and stammer away in an unknown language. I say that because between the four of us we know Italian, Arabic, French and Spanish and none of us knew what he was saying, and there was no way it was Dutch. I am again turning out my pockets telling this man that I did not steal his money and that I would never steal his money. To which he replies in slow, broken, and drunken English.

"That I drug money, you don't want drug money."

Let's just say that made a lot of things including the clientele of the bar make a lot more sense.

Enter the Algerians white buddies who start talking about how they had to leave the bar and it was "either the money or the Marijuana," the whole time glaring at me.

I later learned that at this point Nick and Daniel were dead set on brawling, and were planning there means of attack in secret just in case the Algerian or the Arab laid a finger on me. As noble and as happy as that made me feel I have a feeling the police would not have been able to get there fast enough to save us from being knifed to death.

As the two of them are scheming over in the corner, I'm continuing to try to procure a large some of drug money from any orifice of my body. At which point I happen to glance over to the Arab man who i return gives me the international signal for "My friend is really fucked up right now so don't worry we don't want to rumble" which made me feel only a little better because this guy also had the Michael Corleone look of "Don't worry Fredo no matter what you do to me you are family" and we all know what happened to Fredo.

As I am turning back towards the Algerian to tell him for the 49,534,875 time that I did not take his money, he grabs for my hand and believe me when I say that that small moment held so much tension. I felt like the Commander of the Dallas in the Hunt for Red October just waiting for Sean Connery to open his torpedo tube doors (might have been a stretch on the analogy but let's just roll with that one), but it never happened. He told me that I shouldn't worry about it and that he had respect for me. He then proceeded to shake my hand, kiss Katy's hand and then took his leave.

It goes without saying that I needed a few more beers to stop shaking and looking over my shoulder for the rest of the evening.

Well that night I did have some more beers and when I got back to my room I thought it would be a good idea to call my mother and tell her that I got into an altercation with a drug dealer. Word from the wise, when you think you might get stabbed by a Drug Dealer do not drunk dial your mom 3,500 miles away and tell her. Moms don't like that.

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