The rules as laid down by the Police: "It's your pub, what happens is your problem. Don't call us unless a weapon is used. All the rest of it you'll have to sort out yourself"
A familiar state of affairs.
The usual rough & tumble is easily handled. The pub is crowded with construction workers, mostly tradesmen or labourers. A boomtown pub packed with such types isn't much trouble, as it is peppered with able men just itching for something, anything, to start so they can get stuck in.
In such circumstances most are too wary to start anything.
In a crowded bar one night Mine Host is faced with an unsavoury dilemma.
Somehow he detects through the crowd & the music that something is amiss at the bar. Wending his way through the throng he sees Two of the male staff standing well back from a patron who is breasting the bar.
If ever there was a moment to be frozen in horror, this was it.
The patron, Johnno, with his left hand had one of the barmaids by the shirtfront, pulling her forward over the bar. In his right is a butcher's knife, honed down until the blade isn't much larger than his index finger. It is razor sharp & held to her cheek.
Johnno is a volatile, unstable & dangerous personality at the best of times, tonight he is mixing alcohol with his drugs. He is too far "gone" to talk to. He is a painter & extremely physically fit.
The barmaid is very pretty, with a lovely porcelain "china doll" face. Johnno is saying that if "anyone does anything" he'll slice her face to the bone several times.
A most unpleasant standoff ensues. In the circumstances none of the men mind copping a few slashes, our looks can take a couple of battle scars, but a very pretty girl is a different matter.
Eventually Johnno is talked to by the bar manager, who convinces Johnno that his (drug imagined) troubles weren't caused by the girl, and that "everybody understands" his situation, & nobody minds if he goes outside for a while to think it over.
He does just this, surprisingly he gives the honed down butcher's knife to the bar manager.
It has been the longest several minutes of everybody's life.
The police don't want to listen to the phone call, talking over the top & saying that "trouble in the pub is the pub's problem"
Mine Host strides accross to the Police Station. (At the time it was open at night) The Sgt behind the desk leans back in his chair, puts his arms out in front & talks loudly over the top of Mine Host. "You were told to not bring anything to us unless a weapon was involved, we don't want to know about your little scuffles" (etc etc etc)
When the message finally soaks in (water dripping through limestone would have been swifter) the Sgt becomes most businesslike.
"A razor-sharp concealed knife? Why didn't you say so?"
Within 10 minutes a police car has picked up Johnno from the streets of the town. On his person were Two more similar honed down to index finger sized razor sharp butcher's knives.