• Grant Brissey

Pacific Northwest Ballet’s The Nutcracker is Back Onstage at McCaw Hall! Tickets start at $27.
Join PNB for a timeless tale of holiday adventure performed by PNB’s amazing dancers and orchestra.

The police lines are down. A big group of friends is gathered in the front yard of one of the victim's house or just looking on at the Cafe, drinking beers, crying, laughing, hugging. Neighbors and friends (many are both) are out in clusters talking about the people who were lost today.

As the police and firemen left, the television cameras swarmed in, and about 30 members of the group at the end of 59th all gave a middle finger salute to Cafe Racer. "You'll be missed," someone shouted. Poetically, the neon sign stating "We're Open" still shone through the window.

I run into a few employees who I won't name here. I ask if they know who the shooter was, and one says "We all knew him. We've all kicked him out. He had anger issues... I don't know if that makes it better or worse."

Support The Stranger

Soon a small band of friends has gathered instruments—horns, marching band drums, what have you—and starts playing as neighbors and friends gather around in a circle. "I'm as good as I can be now that I'm here with everybody," someone says. Clouds form and soon it's raining, but the band keeps playing.

By 9:45 pm, people are dancing in the rain and cheering, sharing beer and wine. Neighbors are bringing food donated by local restaurants. It's a celebration of the lives, and judging by how I knew these folks to be, it's just how they'd want it.