Subject: Guys With Guns When You Need Them
Date: 20 Jan 1999 00:00:00 GMT
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mumthra)
Organization: RadixNet Internet Services
I really SHOULD be able to buy a couple of gallons of milk after eight
o'clock at night without having something to SAY about it, but about
once a year during such a trip, something WEIRD develops, like guys
Our grocery store was still recovering from an ice storm panic and
power outages, and mercifully for them, there were only a few
customers like me, who didn't complain about the gaps in the shelf
stock and who didn't cutely joke with them by announcing that a couple
of bus loads of hungry and cranky elderly were pulling up in front.
I minded my own business and moved through quickly. Once outside, I
was not greeted by Rufus the Weekday Bag Boy. Rufus had wandered
indoors it seemed. The only other moving biped in sight was a sort of
typical perpetrator in scuffed dark clothes and a knit cap. I grabbed
the lightest of my bags and marched for my car, convinced that I was
overreacting by readying myself to blow my whistle while pummeling him
if he got too close.
When I looked back, the guy was heading toward me with a goofy grin on
his face. He had my other bags and a gallon of milk in each hand and
was talking very fast. The un-punctuated stream of chatter earned him
another perpetrator point.
"I don't work here but you looked like you could use some help and my
girlfriend and I had a fight and she drove off and took my car and
left me and she has my car keys all pissed off--"
I took the bags and the milk from him while watching him closely and I
TOSSED everything into my car without looking away from his face. I'm
sure I looked like I was listening more closely than anyone had
listened to him for quite a while.
"--she does this sometimes and ya know I don't know what the fuck is
going on." He finished breathlessly.
"I do," I said, slamming my car shut and walking back toward the
"Why you going back there?"
"Come on and find out if you want to know." I replied.
He did. But he meandered and followed me at a distance.
I told Rufus the Bag Boy, "That guy just followed me to my car."
"Um," said Rufus.
A police car rolled up to the curb and the window rolled down so that
I could repeat, "That guy just followed me to my car."
The officer nodded and spoke to his radio, "Looks like we have our
That Guy stepped up on the curb with me, looking confused, "Did I
disrespect you, baby?"
"See? I didn't disrespect her or nuthin'."
The officer asked me, "Did he ask you for money?"
"I didn't ask her for money. And I didn't--"
"--Bus fare!" I accused.
"Oh. But I didn't disrespect you. All I need--"
"--But! But no GENTLEMAN with good sense follows a woman to her car at
night!" I was feeling a little righteous fury. If he would have
apologized and repeated what I had just said I would have given him
five bucks on the spot.
"What? I didn't follow you. I was helping you with your stuff." He
feigned exasperation and moved toward the passenger side of the
cruiser, "Take me away! I'm ready!"
The officer stepped out of his car instead. "He just did this at
McDonald's." I tried to imagine the scene. Had he offered to carry
someone's burger burden?
For obscure reasons--possibly in honor of Martin Luther King Day--That
Guy decided to try playing at being irate with me. He walked back
toward me. "You got something against The Black Man?" He pulled off
his cap as if to clearly establish his status as The Black Man.
"Certainly not," I said.
"Oh." Deflated, he replaced his cap.
Having had enough of the show, the officer took a calm and official
control of the conversation but continued his appealing smirk. (As a
parent, I think I will be practicing the charming copsmirk with
greater effect now that I've seen it done so well). "Where were you
going with that bus fare?" He asked.
"To the shelter. You know. That one."
"Uh-huh." He didn't seem any more anxious to be a cab service than I
was to tip for grocery delivery.
I was dismissed when the second officer arrived, and I huffed off to
my own form of shelter with my freshly tossed groceries.
Next time I'll wait for Rufus to man his post.
I'd like to find out what happened to The Black Man. Did they call a
church person who does things like hand out bus fare to idiots? Did
they put him on the bus? Did they take him back to the station to be
regaled with his phantom girlfriend stories? I'm sure they wouldn't
drive him around; that would just encourage him to be mildly and
criminally annoying as a means of transportation.