Teresa Harrison 1971 - 2009
I was in a honky tonk about midnight one night with my neighbors, Kathy and Teresa Harrison, sisters. We called them the "Harrison twins," but they were far from twins. Teresa was twenty-three and slim. Kathy was twenty-seven and weighed at least 300 lbs. We drank a few beers, shot a few games of pool, and enjoyed ourselves until a group of drunken rednecks came in and assumed seats at a table near the pool table. A few minutes later, another group of drunken rednecks came in and assumed seats at another table near the pool table. I immediately perceived tension between the groups. I later discovered that the two groups were that area's version of the Hatfields and the McCoys.
Simple math: (a) drunken rednecks + (b) tension + (c) pool table = (d) fight.
The Harrison twins and I gave up the pool table and moved our beer drinking to the bar. A few minutes later and from directly behind me, I heard the unmistakable sound of wooden chairs crashing to a wooden floor--followed quickly by the just-as-unmistakable thud of two bodies hitting the same floor. "Fight! Fight!" someone yelled.
I turned and saw two redneck males down on the floor with their arms around each other as if passionately embracing. I swear: they looked like lovers. They rolled under the pool table, out from under the pool table and across the floor, pushing aside, in their passion, tables and over-turned chairs. Down the front of the bar they then rolled. They reached the front door, either by some rapturous design or by blind luck, then rolled out of the door, down the wooden steps and out into the gravel parking lot.
Most of the honky tonk's customers, in a mad dash, followed them out of the door. A few stood at the door, looking out. The Harrison twins and I remained at the bar. After a moment, Teresa got up and went to the door. Kathy and I gave each other a what-tha-hell look, and we went to the door.
Ten feet from the door and out in the parking lot and swaying drunkenly, stood the Hatfield/lover/fighter. He reached up, grasped the front of his own shirt and ripped it from his body. (Fighting rednecks do that a lot.) As the remains of his shirt landed in the gravel at his feet, a man beside him handed him a small, black object. "Is the safety off this thing?" I heard him ask, and I immediately recognized the black object as a .380 automatic pistol.
He was so drunk he could hardly stand, and as he waved the pistol around, hunting the McCoy/lover/fighter, I suppose, it made at least two passes across the front door, making a tiny area exactly between my eyes itch something awful. I grabbed the Harrison twins by the shoulders and pulled them back to the bar. "Pow! Pow!" echoed from outside.
Teresa jumped up and ran to the door. I jumped up, ran to her, and bodily dragged her back to the bar. "Pow! Pow!"
Up Teresa jumped again. Up I jumped and dragged her back again. "Pow! Pow! Pow!"
Up she jumped again. "Pow! Pow!"
Kathy looked at me, her eyes wide.
"Tha hell with Teresa!" I said, and Kathy and I hunkered down behind the bar while the clips emptied in two automatic pistols, one right outside the front door, the other one about seventy-five yards down the black-topped road. I don't know how many shots were fired, at least twenty. They reloaded both pistols.
I do know that I quickly estimated the probability of a .380 bullet passing through the wooden front wall of the building, a row of whiskey bottles, the bar, and then into me. Very unlikely, I thought, hunkered down, and I thanked the Good Lord that those particular rednecks did not have a fondness for .44 magnums. Then I eased my body slightly behind Kathy in case one of them had a nearby friend with a fondness for .44 magnums.
Silence with a capital S finally descended. The bartender ran for the telephone. Kathy and I ran for the front door, expecting to see the parking lot littered with bleeding bodies. All we saw was people scrambling into cars and leaving in a spray of gravel. As far as I know, no bullet impacted flesh. But I can guarantee you that several cars and pickup trucks were neatly, and most likely proudly to their owners, decorated with small round holes. I went out and looked at mine: nothing.
About fifteen minutes later, a solitary policeman showed up. Nobody, of course, knew or saw anything. Teresa still talks about that night. "Man," she says, "it's cool when guns fire at night. Sparks and fire comes out of the barrels."