The Stickey Saga at the Biltmore
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Saved by the Bell.”
Being in a sticky situation and extracting yourself out of it is one thing; being in a sticky situation with no chance of extracting yourself out of it but you got out because other people came along at the precise right time is something else. Well, I have experienced the latter. Let me tell you a tale of how True_George almost became the late True_George; maybe I’m exaggerating, but I’ll let you be the judge.
It happened one Thursday during the fall at a dance hall called the Biltmore Ball room in the borough of Brooklyn in New York City. Weekend party time in the City begins on Thursday this particular dance hall is located in the Flatbush area around the corner from the famous Erasmus Hall High School, the same school that Barbra Streisand attended. Now you need to understand that places like the Biltmore Ballroom is nothing but a death trap. Even though the City has regulations that clubs and dance halls are supposed to have fire exits, the Biltmore had none. There was only one entrance and exit. During the years from my experience in this place lots of people lost their lives there. But this tale has nothing to do with escaping fire.
What took me along with two other friends to this place on a Thursday during the fall was that there was supposed to be an appearance of three major artists, who were popular in the West Indian community and they had number one hits on the Jamaican, American and British reggae charts at the time. Those artists were Michael Palmer, Half-Pint and Phillip “Papa” Levi. The promoter charged a lot of money for this event. At the door we saw that the promotor took the unusual step of hiring private security. These were not the usual bouncers. These were armed guards who also had K-9’s. The K-9’s were angry looking Rottweilers. We paid our money and we were in.
There was a good size crowd and everyone was waiting for the featured artists. In the meantime music was playing, people were dancing and having a good time. There was a performance by local artist Shinehead. Yes, the same Shinehead who eventually got signed to a major label. Everyone liked Shinehead’s performance. But, he did not satisfy the crowd because he was not the featured artist. It was going onto two O’clock and still none of the featured artists showed up and the crowd was getting restless. Then there was a rumor that Michael Palmer showed up, looked at the size of the crowd and announced the crowd wasn’t big enough to warrant a performance and he left. Whether the rumor was true or not, it stirred up the crowd. The crowed confronted the promotor, but the security men intervened and soon some of the crowed got in a confrontation with the security. Wisely, the security put the K-9’s in the van so nobody would get bit. While that was happening, one of the security personal stayed inside. Then a dread (Raster man) got in a heated discussion with that security guy, then he (the dread) grabbed the security and started to slap him in the face. That was a very bold move especially since the security guy had an unconcealed chrome .357 Magnum on his waist. Who would in their right mind want to slap someone carrying the world’s most powerful hand gun? To top that off, I was standing right next to them as this was happening. You guessed it, the security guy immediately draw the .357 Magnum, and fired a shot. Luckily for the dread the security guy shot one round in the air instead of in the dread’s chest. But for me, as soon as the gun was fired, all I saw was a flash of bright light. I shit you not. All I saw was a bright light. I don’t know how long it lasted; you may ask was it the light that you go into when you die? Did I just got shot? It felt so surreal, because when the light cleared I felt as though I was put back in place. This had to be a case of spiritual intervention. I was taken and was moving through the light, but suddenly pulled out of the light and put back where I was. It wasn’t my time. When my wits finally returned I looked at the ceiling to see how large the hole was, but there was no bullet hole in the ceiling. I thought to myself where did the bullet go? Simultaneously I looked around and saw that the crowd had disbursed and I was only person standing. Then I saw the three security men, and they all had guns pointed at me, and they were all in a firing stance. Oh, shit. What a sticky situation, and there was no way out of it. If there was a spiritual intervention plucking me from the light and putting me back to where I was; then why is it that I am in front of three guys getting ready to shoot me. Then “lord behold,” the Cops busted in. Now understand what I just described took place in a matter of minutes even though it felt longer.
So now the NYPD are on the scene, eight patrol cars; I didn’t count the number of police personal, but there were lots. Then an old cop wearing a white shirt with a gold shield came in and asked what’s going on. When the patrons explained what happened, the old Cop told the promoter to start giving everyone their money back. The promoter refused. Then, the old cop told him again to give back the money. The promoter still refused. Then the old Cop said “if you want Police protection give back the money,” The promoter refused again. So the old Cop told his detail of Police to leave. Once the Police left the crowd grabbed the promoter and beat the living hell out of him. During the ass whipping someone grabbed the cash box and ran down the street and disappeared. The crowd went wild and started to bust up everything in the place. Then they went for the bar area before they got to the beer, I quickly took two cases. The crowed saw this and followed suit and started to take the cases of beer and liquor. They figured out it was better to rob the place of their drinks at least they got their money’s worth instead wasting time busting up the place and ending with nothing.