Transitions commence new adventures. Make 'em last…
Angels come in various guises, but who knew I would become one for an evening.
Carmen, my best university friend, whom I came to visit in order to spend the New Years weekend with, had driven us to her boyfriend’s place in preparation to then head out to “Old Town” Sacramento to watch the fireworks show at 9pm. When we arrived at 8pm, Derek offered us comfortable seats and a beer, and then introduced me to an old roommate of his that would soon accommodate us once we all departed at 8:43pm. It was much later than when we desired to leave, but the taxi driver that picked the four of us up did his best to quickly snake through traffic in order to reach the outskirts Old Town in time. We managed to watch the majority of the fireworks show with a good view across from Old Town in the Holiday Inn parking lot. It was short and sweet, but pleasant enough to commence what we thought would be an ideal New Year’s Eve.
Derek kindly asserted that we should head to a bar in Old Town to have a few drinks and celebrate New Year’s in style. Not having visited Old Town in many years and never at night, I thought it would be fun. However, it was said there was a crowd of over 40,000 people, and there was no doubt it would soon damper a comfortable visit. The walkway underneath the highway that one must take to reach Old Town was immensely crowded and I began second-guess our decision to head there. Although, I did not verse my opinion.
By the time we reached Old Town, I realized the crowds were dense, but not overly suffocating. Lines were beginning to form outside various establishments, but were not very long due to the variety and quantity of them throughout Old Town. Derek quickly suggested that we head to the “River City Saloon,” which is Carmen’s favorite bar in Old Town. After quickly walking about a block, we reached the bar and ascertained that there was a $10 cover in order to enter. The bar wasn’t all too busy, but we were able to notice that it was starting to pick up. Derek and his old roommate, Thaddeus, discussed amongst themselves about checking out a few other bars, and this soon resolved in all of us retracing some of our steps to scope them out.
After discovering that “O’Mally’s Irish Pub” was super crowded, we then headed across the street and stood outside “Sports Corner Cafe” – another small bar that Derek was interested in. While Thaddeus and Derek were subtly debating on whether pay the $10 cover and celebrate New Years inside the Sports Corner Cafe, I noticed several unsavory characters standing outside the entrance. One of them, a short Hispanic fellow smoking a cigarette and wearing a plain white shirt and dark baggy pants, in addition to having large tattoo on the side of his neck, somewhat curtly hurled a few comments in our direction about how we should enter the bar. To me, this guy appeared shady. Not only did he and many others lingering outside the bar appear supremely shady, but I felt wildly uncomfortable standing where I was at the time. I immediately felt a strong, sudden urge to leave that particular place as soon as possible. Nothing could simply describe the forceful feeling to flee at that particular moment, but I knew I needed to vacate the premises quickly.
Derek, Thaddeus, and Carmen had just finished their discussion about whether to enter Sports Corner Cafe or not, and it all seemed we were about to enter until I spoke up after having the sudden urge to leave there immediately.
“I don’t like it here. It feels really shady. Let’s go to the other bar that Carmen likes,” I said.
I remained calm and did not provide any specific reasoning, but it was either my stern countenance or the fact that they all subtly agreed with me that prompted us to then head to the River City Saloon. The sudden uneasiness I felt soon dissipated with every step I took in the opposite direction of the Sports Corner Cafe.
After already having entered River City Saloon with a drink in hand while chatting with Carmen and listening to the bar’s very loud dance tunes, unbeknown to us four at the time, an argument ensued inside the Sports Corner Cafe at around 9:40pm. What immediately followed was an Old Town shootout that occurred inside and around the Sports Corner Cafe within 10 minutes of us deciding to go to the River City Saloon. Full story here: (http://www.sacbee.com/2013/01/02/5086812/killings-raise-questions-about.html)
2 people were shot to death, and 3 others were injured, two of whom are the security guard, and the gunman, which was quickly apprehended after the fatal shooting. They are recovering at a nearby hospital. After the shooting, I was thanked and congratulated several times by Carmen, Derek, and Thaddeus for having “saved” their lives by convincing them not to enter the Sports Corner Cafe, and while I somewhat silently celebrated the fact that we all were able to avoid peril by my stern warning to leave that particular bar, I was also very sad to hear about this unfortunate incident and was rather grateful in giving thanks to God for keeping us out of danger.
The sudden warning I felt was not from me, it was not from me. I merely acted as a conduit of God in relaying an urgent message to spare my friends and me from immediate danger; that’s all I know and can understand.
A little over an hour later we would leave Old Town and catch a taxi to a bar-restaurant in the “nice” part of Sacramento where some friends of Carmen bartend, and then spend the rest of the evening celebrating at ease. It was surely a New Years to remember for the good and the bad.