April 24, 2014
The incongruity of the scene struck me as I handed Jeff a fresh bourbon. Details of his Socratic colloquy have long escaped my memory, but there were three or four guys and a girl or two in the college Republican group. This was one crucial factor in the toxic atmosphere: Jeff’s intellectual challenge to the boys amounted to showing them up in front of their girlfriends. Standing behind Jeff, meanwhile, were Ace, Rusty and Attila, who had been trying to mediate or at least keep Jeff calm.If not for Ace they would have had to have Shackleford sit on Jeff, that would have done him in.
Just as it seemed that fisticuffs were inevitable, however, Ace made a clever sarcastic jab that suddenly evaporated all the tension. You could ask Ace what he said and maybe he would remember exactly, but it was sort of an inside joke about Jeff’s rhetorical tactics.
Jeff burst out laughing hysterically and the frightening stand-off with the college Republican kids ended happily, although the kids certainly must have left wondering what it was all about.