2 min readOct 15, 2021


That One Time I Scared Everyone in the Bar — Another True Story

Photo by Sabina Music Rich on Unsplash

Brad Foster, 2021 ©

Once upon a time, there stood a bar named Challenger’s Pub on the westside of Madison, Wisconsin.

It doubled as a comedy club, but mostly it served as a sports pub on most other nights. On Halloween Eve in the early 2000s, I decided to visit that bar because I had nothing better to do and I liked Halloween. This must have been my first year or so back from college in Mankato, MN. I had no degree to show for my six years there, although I did have a Duster I bought for under $80 at a closeout store in a decaying downtown mall.

My grand idea was to dress as a trail-bitten, scarred cowboy. I donned the Duster and plastered my face with bloody makeup. I sauntered up to the entrance, and the bouncers arched their eyebrows.

“What are you supposed to be?”

“I’m a cow-poke who done tussled with a cougar.” I rasped, glowering at them with my one good eye. The other looked slashed and gory by said cougar.

“Uuuh… oookaaay. We normally charge five dollars, but you can go on in…”

Enjoying my free entry, I claimed a table to myself near the bandstand.

That night, a popular radio station hosted the Halloween party, alongside a local band. I don’t remember their name, but they peered at me with suspicion and fear throughout their set.

Finally, in between the band’s sets, it was time to show our costumes. Unicorns, fairies and all the friendly sorts of costumed patrons paraded before the bar, amid varying levels of applause.

Then I stood before them — and silence fell.

Unperturbed, I bowed before the trepidatious crowd and walked back to my table.

No police were called, but the radio station host stopped by and spilled a handful of CDs before me. She trembled as she said, “We wanted to give you these — so you wouldn’t kill anyone…”

I don’t know why I have that effect on people. Someone at a former job said something similar — “I bet you’re gonna kill like 800 people”. I don’t want to hurt anyone!

But I was happy about the free music.




This is what I do: I drink and I write things.