At 11 am on a Wednesday, most people at Cafe Racer are regulars. Everyone knows just about everyone else by first name. It's cozy, and if you start showing up often enough, you quickly get to know many of these regulars and everyone who works there. That happened to me shortly after I moved to Green Lake about six months ago. At any given visit you'll see any number of these people, sitting around the bar drinking coffee or beer, and all generally talking or reading or cracking jokes with the bartender, who, if you're patient enough, would give you a warm welcome. Right after the shooting happened another regular called me to make sure I wasn't there, and then we both called my roommate to make sure she wasn't. I fear right now that when the victims' identities come out I'll know them on a first-name basis, and I feel ill.
UPDATE: I just got a text returned from an employee who said "Yeah I'm okay but we lost some really good friends today and a couple are in the hospital."
2:35 pm: Owner Kurt Geissel tells Goldy: "It would be like somebody walking into your family dinner and opening fire," and a regular and neighbor of the victims says "Some of the sweetest fucking people I've ever known."
7:46 pm:The police lines are down. A big group of friends are gathered in the yard across the street from Don's house or just looking on at the Cafe, drinking beers, crying, laughing, hugging. Neighbors are out in clusters (my brother and sister-in-law live three doors down from Don) talking about how he's doing. Everyone's saying things like. "He was the nicest guy ever." One said "If you asked how Don was doing, he'd actually tell you."
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.