A crazy dream
It was a crush to the people of Boulder when Pennylane Coffeehouse closed down. The place was a safe haven, a gathering of underground types, punks, hippies, artists, poets, musicians, travellers, university students and regular working joes.
The place was a focus of peoples lives, a community hub. Its closure was a vacuum, missed by many. Soon after, John opened up the Laughing Goat Cafe which became a huge success and though the new cafe hosted the weekly poetry readings, rotating art shows, underground music events it was not a replacement for Pennylane and John never intended to copy or replace, this was his own project.
A crew of the Pennylane kids, not young adults, had access to a plot of barren land near Lyons and opened the Anarchists Club & Cafe and advertized the opening night as a reunion for all Pennylane regulars. It was a weird place, no real building, just a square dirt lot surrounded by an 8 foot tall wooden privacy fence and one side open to a steep hill of the Rocky Mountain foothills. The owners promoted guns and many people brought firearms. It reminded me of a motorcycle gang party! I was happy to see many familiar faces. Punks and hippies, older men playing chess. People brought their children. It was festive, fun, phreaky. The policy I was excited about was the 90 minute drink all you can for $40. But after I paid and went to the cooler all I could I find were chilled glasses and many diet cokes. A man assured me they would replenish the beer in just a few minutes.
A few people shot their pistols into the air. I have no real experience with guns but I did rent two pistols from the cafe counter. My wife and I could try shooting at the dirt hill. Suddenly some guys were pumping off round of large caliber rifles into the hill. It was a wild scene. But then some fool was shooting at the wooden wall and I was shocked, people could easily be on the other side. Things were getting crazy and fast.
There was one young shy guy at the cafe I remembered fondly from Pennylane and also would see sometimes as we lived in the same apartment complex. I could never remember his name, I think it was Mike. He was soft spoken and kind, always a regular. But now I watched with surprise as he lobby a grenade at the hillside. It blew up and rocks and dirt showered us all. We were away from it but I turned my wifes face away, maybe rock fragments would reach us. Was he showing off? Looking for attention? I realized that he was probably wounded, he was very close to the hill. Then I watched as he tossed another grenade at the hillside and rather than backup or fall down he ran and hugged the explosion. It was a slow motion nightmare as the upper part of his body flew through the air like paper plane and slide to a stop on a table near me. Mike or whatever his name was beyond rescue, human lasgana. I resisted the urge to take a picture. I gathered my wife and said we need to leave, now! Would we get in trouble being here? As we were leaving I remembered the two pistols, I ran back to get them as now we could keep them but someone else had already grabbed them. The was was pandamonium as we quickly got the hell out of there.