Went out for birthday drinks then karaoke last night with a close friend. At the end of the night, 3am, five of us - the birthday girl, me, Mr Cru, a guy who helps out at our comedy club (Robert) and a comedian (Brendan) - are leaving the Cro Bar on Mallett Street, which is closing. Three guys appear from nowhere (not from in the bar as far as I can tell though it was busy) and one takes his shirt off and is kinda dancing round antagonising people and clearly trying to pick a fight with any and everyone in sight. Birthday girl and I move away down the street a bit but Mr Cru and the other guys are still only halfway out the door.
The shirtless guys hones in on a homeless guy wandering past and starts shouting abuse at him, then punching him. His two mates join in. Mr Cru, Robert and Brendan intervene and try to separate them and tell them to let the homeless guy go. A massive fight ensues. At one point Mr Cru is on the floor and I can see one of the thugs kicking him really hard in the back. Then I see two of the thugs whipping Robert, also on the floor at this point, with their belts.
Suddenly everyone is on their feet and there's a slight stand-off. I yell to Mr Cru and Robert to come to where I am - I can see blood all over Robert's face and hands. Birthday girl and I hurry Robert away from the scene and try to calm him down and figure out how badly injured he is.
The police arrive and the three thugs try to run away. Mr Cru and Brendan give chase and are about to catch one of them when he falls over anyway and is soon cuffed. An ambulance arrives and we point Robert out to them. They clean his wounds and discover a big cut in his head (about the size of, say, a belt buckle) which is really pumping out blood. He's got a smaller cut in his forehead and his lip is blistered too.
Mr Cru goes off in the ambulance with Robert. The rest of us give statements to the police. Eventually after that birthday girl and Brendan go their separate ways and I head over to the hospital to catch up with Robert who is having his head glued together by a nurse. We take him back to his place and I have to wake his poor mother up to tell her what's happened and that she should keep an eye on him for concussion for a day or so.
Mr Cru and I get home at half seven in the morning. Today his back is very painful but he's ok. We're all a bit shocked and tired.
There's a temptation to draw some sort of conclusion here about lessons learnt or questions left unanswered but it really doesn't come as news to me that there are nasty thugs like this out there. Nor that my partner and friends are the kind of people who will put themselves at risk jumping in to help someone they don't know.
Just shocked and tired.