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How My Birthday Bar Fight Turned Me into a Good Samaritan

Renowned host, storyteller and Moth GrandSLAM champion Lily Be shares a clubbing horror story gone right.
Photo courtesy of Lily Be.

Lily Be is a mother, a nanny, a friend and a storyteller. Straight from the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago, she is a renowned storyteller with a straight-from-the-hip of storytelling that has made her stand out in the local and national storytelling communities. She is the first Latina Moth GrandSLAM champion, WNEP Maelstrom improvised storytelling champion, and host/producer of The Stoop, a monthly storytelling series at Rosa's Lounge in Chicago. Her stories have been featured on the RISK podcast and The Moth Radio Hour.


I'm 28, 29 maybe. It's one of those insignificant birthdays that you don't remember. And I know that year I decided I was going to spend my birthday–November 19th–at my house and just invite my family and their kids over and see them. We were just going to have a family birthday, so fuck it.

My nephews and my nieces and everybody comes over. There's even pictures up on MySpace at the time of me and all my fucking nephews and nieces. The night wears on and the kids start going to sleep and it's me and my sister and at that time my fiance, and my cousin Melissa.

My cousin Melissa and my sister, they're young and their kids are young. My son's like 13 or 14 at the time. They decide they want to go out. But they know nobody will watch their children so they use my birthday as the fuel to them going out. I know it cause I'm chillin. We ate the cake, we ate the food, but they're just like, "Come on, girl! Come on! You should go out for your birthday. You don't never go out!" And I'm like, "I know. I' doing my shit. I'm a mom."

And then they start telling my fiance who–I ended up leaving him because he was an abusive alcoholic–but they're just like, "Come on, Jason! Tell her to go out!" He's of course being like, "Babe, it is your birthday." And so I'm just like, "Alright, fuck it. Let me get ready." I get out of my black leggings and a t-shirt and get into some going out clothes. It's like a jean skirt and a nice, low-cut floral print shirt. My hair was big. I was doing it. I get the boots on cause it's winter and they go home and get ready.


They come back and they've got baby sisters because of course the excuse is that they're going out for my birthday and everyone thinks, "Oh, no problem. Anything for Lily." That's kind of how it felt.

We decide we're going to go to Betty Blue Star Lounge cause they're open till four. It's Grandbar now, but it's on Ashland and Grand [in Chicago]. We get there–mind you, we had just had a birthday party, we all had to get ready–and it's 11:30 or 12 o'clock. We going out late.

So we're there and we're vibing and we're having the BEST TIME. I realized this the shit. There's all this house music.

Me, when I go out–especially with my sister and cousin–I take it easier than I would because I already know they're about to get fucked up. I know they are. So someone's got to be on it. Jason drinks enough to get right, but I know he won't get fucked up like that. So I know that I'm going out with two loose cannons tonight. I'll leave with two loose cannons tonight. Imma take it easy and I do take it easy. I take like two to three shots of tequila throughout the night.

We're just drinking and kicking it back and I'm joking with the bartender. Every now and then I'm jamming to the music but I'm not on the dance floor cause it's thick. The dance floor is super, super thick and I'm not about to get in that. Imma chill right here, see my man, talk some shit and enjoy my birthday.

My fiance is sitting at the bar with me and just took a shot of tequila and turns to me. He taps me on the shoulder and he's like, "Hey yo! Hey yo! I think your sister and your cousin about to get into it." I'm like, "What you talking about?" I turn around and I see my fucking sister and my fucking cousin like posted up. They're in the post. They in the stance like they're about to get into it with somebody. And I'm like, "Whoa, whoa! What happened?" And just like that, they're throwing punches and they work their way over to the bar.


My cousin Melissa finds her way up against the bar in the front and she comes out and manages to fucking nunchuck her fucking heels together. She's using them to nunchuck people's asses. Like, they're fighting dudes and girls and I'm like, "What the FUCK is going on?"

I am now up because I don't do this. I don't fight. That's old Lily 1995. It is not 1995 anymore. But something about being in this moment when I see men attacking as well, I'm like, "Oh hell the fuck no!" And so I get up and I see the girl that my sister is after and she is this tiny, fucking … and the guys are between my sister and this girl. My sister manages to get a swing and pushes this girl so she falls in front of me. Mind you, it is thick. The crowd, it's like festival thickness. We're so tight up against each other that when she falls, there's a group of people still around us.

I get down and I grab this girl by her fucking neck and told her, "Stay the fuck down! I know my fucking sister. She's going to eat you up." This fucking girl is just drunk on that liquid courage and she don't know that this 300 pound fucking woman is about to fuck her up.

I feel someone grab my fucking hair and so I grab this girl's hair. I think they think I'm attacking her and I tell her to tell them, "Make them let go of my shit or Imma start fucking YOU up!" Then she yells out, "It's cool, guys! Let her go. Let her go," and they let my hair go.


Security starts escorting everyone out and I get mad. He says, "Yeah, you two!" and I'm like, "Whoa! I didn't even do anything. It's my birthday." My sister and my cousin Melissa, they go out the side door and we leave. I hear my sister and Melissa and my fiance walking to the car and say, "Let's FUCKING go."

My sister and Melissa are fucking LAUGHING. They're not mad. I'm fucking upset. I'm like, "What the fuck did you just do? On my birthday?" Then I come to realize it's 3:50am when we're getting kicked out so it's like, oh, it's last call. They close in ten minutes. But my sister and Melissa are celebrating. They're like, "We fucked those bitches up and blah blah blah."

And it turns out my sister and Melissa fucked with two girlfriends who got mad that their boyfriends were dancing them. Call them what you want, but them bitches can dance. So they get out there and they are moving and it don't matter. Guys want to dance with them.

So these girlfriends came up and were like asking why they were on their men. And my sister and cousin said, "Take them. We don't want them. "And these girls go, "That's why you fat bitches can't get a man." And my sister and Melissa laugh and are like, "That's why he was grinding up on my pussy." So that's what kicked it off.

So we're driving home and I am mad sitting in the front sink thinking, "Why in the world did they drag me out so I could get kicked out of a fucking club?" We decide to take Augusta and we pull up on August and Noble. We see this dude on the corner. It's November in Chicago and he is wearing socks, some boxers and looking like, "Where the fuck am I?"


We pull up next to him and my sister and cousin are still talking about the fight. I roll down the window and say, "Hey! Are you okay?" And he's like, "I don't know." So I ask, "Do you need a ride?" And he says, "I don't know." But I tell my sisters to open the door and he gets in and sits between my sister and Melissa.

We ask him where he's from and where he's got to go. He gets his ID because he's got his ID in his fucking waistband. And he lives over by UIC [the University of Illinois at Chicago]. I'm turned around in my seat and asking, "Do you know what happened?" And he's just like, "I don't know." He was seriously mind blank.

We get to his place and ring the doorbell and someone finally answers on the intercom. And we're like, "Hey! Yo! We found this guy…just damn near naked. Is your friend Jim?" And he says, "Yeah, hold on! Hold on!"

We get buzzed in and meet this guy in the downstairs lobby. This other guy's like, "What the fuck? Thank you so much." And so we leave him and we go back home. He didn't take our number or anything. We told him our story and said how we found him on the way home from the club. Whoever robbed him left his ass his ID.

We go home now completely at peace with the balance. Like people are crazy and messed up, but the world's not that shitty. In one night, like yeah, fuck, that fight. But in the same way, it just took helping that one guy to make the night worth going out. Like, we saved that dude's life possibly. Who else would have given him a ride? Because I knew crazy that night, so I could ask and tell this was crazier.