Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Rio Bar

In Basel, Switzerland there is a little public house called the Rio Bar. It’s located on the Barfüsserplatz (which roughly translates as “Barefoot Plaza”) across the street from another bar, the Café Des Arts. The Rio thoughtfully provides a pair of binoculars so you can check out the patrons at the Des Arts.

Caroline Haerdi

It was at the Rio Bar that my buddy Unca Don and I met Caroline Haerdi. She was a bartender there at the time. She was blonde, about my height, and looked like she never took any shit from anyone ever. One treasured souvenir I retain from Basel is a Rio cocktail napkin with an imprint of Caroline’s lipstick on it. (I asked her for it, that’s why.)

The bartending gig at the Rio was only a fill-in job, however. She was a professional knife thrower.

Now girls, if you want to be fascinating to a man, tell him you’re a professional knife thrower. I guarantee he’ll perk right up. I did; so did Unca Don. It turned out that Caroline had a nightclub act at the time called “Danger Girls”. You have to love the name. Basically, in the show she threw knives at her partner, another attractive woman. Don and I used to joke that periodically there would be an ad in the local newspaper, “Wanted: female partner for entertainment act. No experience necessary. Hemophiliacs need not apply.” Unfortunately, neither he nor I ever saw “Danger Girls” perform.

Recently, I decided to see if I could find out what Caroline is doing these days. It seems she has a new act called “Steel and Fire”. By all means, visit the web site. It’s pretty cool. Apparently she’s still chucking silverware, though with a male partner this time around. I guess “Danger People” or “Danger Units” didn’t cut it for the name of the new act.

I’m still curious about what I find so attractive about the idea of a female knife thrower. I guess I’ve always liked strong women, strong as in “don’t take no shit”, that is, as opposed to East German weight lifter strong. That’s part of it. I suppose the hint of, well, danger is part of it too. You’re sitting on the couch in Switzerland watching futbol, you yell out “Caroline, bring me a beer!”, and ZZZING, a knife is quivering next to your left earlobe. “Get it yourself, asshole,” you hear from the other room. A man could come to love a woman like that.

- Hulles

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