Today begins our semi-weekly installment of short stories by Jenn. Today’s is, “Empanadas as Weapons: A True Story.” Yes, it’s true, just like the title says.
Crowds of people are swarming the sidewalks, crossing the street while police officers whistle and yell. Cars move slowly through bodies of pedestrians, attempting to escape unharmed. Voices are loud on cellphones, asking Where are you? What happened? A girl is crying on the steps to a building, a mess of hair around her face and one high heel slipping off her foot.
There hasn’t been an accident. Or a terrorist attack. It’s just Saturday night in Adams Morgan.
In Georgetown, there’s drinking, popped collars and some bad dancing. In Farragut West, there’s drinking, bad clubs and strippers. In Dupont, there’s drinking and gay pride. In Adams Morgan, there’s drunk madness. A typical night on 18th and Columbia begins with the best intentions and ends with stumbling drunkness, Jumbo Slice and witnessing a fight. If you’re lucky, like me, you get empanadas and two fights.
It was Trista’s birthday, a girl I’ve met once through another friend, Erin. Trista and I played beer pong together at Erin’s housewarming party almost a month ago, and somehow that was enough for me to be invited out for her birthday. There are two things I really love in this world, beer and birthdays. That’s how I ended up at Trista’s in Silver Spring on a Saturday night, and also how I ended up on a drunk metro ride to Adam’s Morgan. Trista wanted to go to Chloe, which as far as clubs go, isn’t that bad. Besides the decent music (no Apple Bottom jeans, boots with the furrrr), Chloe is pretty dressed down for a club, and we were having fun. Drunk drunk delicious fun. The kind of drunk where you dance without care for how you look. This was especially true for Trista, who was waving her arms awkwardly over her head. She appeared to be dancing to an African tribal dance even though the music was thumping hip hop beats. If there had been an earthquake, her rhythm would have been perfectly in synch. This was funny for awhile, even amusing, until Trista’s elbow decided to dance on its own, knocking itself into some girl’s head. In Georgetown, apologies might be mouthed over the music or at least angry glares exchanged before moving to another part of the bar, but we were in Adams Morgan and the girl Trista accidentally hit was part of a bachelorette party. There’s nothing like a mob of girls, one wearing a veil, attempting to attack your friend. There’s also nothing like being drunk enough to step in between the friend and six or so angry bridesmaids (and one idiotic bride). Everything calmed down after I sectioned Trista off at a table, but let’s not forget this is Adams Morgan. I tried to take her back on the dance floor, pulling her by the hand through people, and as we passed by the bachelorette party, one of them threatened Trista again. I think the pressure of Always a bridesmaid, never a bride really got to these girls, because they were willing to throw down all over again. Only in Adams Morgan could you come across a gang of angry bridesmaids willing to break some bones over an accidental elbow throw.
The night went on though. The bachelorette party got kicked out for threatening Trista and we danced until the lights came on. There’s a moment in a night in Adams Morgan, where the bars all close and people flood the streets. It’s the bewitching hour for drunks, and my drunk ass wanted an empanada. This is the part of the story where I find myself at Julia’s Empanadas, waiting for my turkey empanada, which tastes like Thanksgiving, to come out of the oven. The store is crowded. There is a line far out the door, people are talking loudly and empanadas are slowly being handed out. I’m pressing my hand up against the large display of empanadas, holding myself up in my heels which are hurting my feet. All I want in my empanada. I would kill for an empanada, and just as the glorious treat is being passed to me by the cashier, two men in line start to yell. The cashier orders everyone out. He’s still holding my damn empanada, so I don’t make a move for the door. Somehow, I’m assuming he means, everyone who isn’t waiting for a delicious turkey treat needs to get out. I’m exempt obviously. That’s when one of the men grabs the plastic display of dessert empanadas, holds it over his head and smashes it down on the other guy. I wish I could say I was shocked and appalled by this action. But remember, I’m drunk and hungry, so all I was thinking, as the display case made contact with the man’s head, was I really hope one of those empanadas flies out and lands in my hand. It didn’t though. As soon as the fight broke out, everyone was swept outside where all the strawberry and cream cheese filled pastries were smashed on the street. I’m not sure how everything ended. I was the only one still in the store, waiting for my empanada.
The night ended with a cab back to Silver Spring and crashing on Trista’s floor. The next morning began with a hangover, lost memories and the aftertaste of a turkey empanda. But that’s really all you can expect after a Saturday night in Adams Morgan.