Walker: Texas Hooker

EVERYTHING'S BIGGER IN TEXAS -badumTISS-
This isn’t what I meant, but what a horrifically different show that would’ve been.

Let me tell you something.

It gets cold in Michigan. Like, stupid cold. Like, “Lots of people die in this kind of weather, and you might, too, if you don’t get your stupid ass into a heated area or put on more clothes,” cold.

I mean, don’t get me wrong: Michiganders (we are actually all geese; did you know that?) are pros at dealing with and giving the middle finger to cold weather. Shorts still come out, barbecues are had, car windows are down. But that doesn’t stop it from sucking hardcore, especially if you don’t necessarily have some place to go.

It’s on one of these fine (read: cold as hell) winter nights that I’m working a closing shift with my supervisor. This guy, I want you to keep in mind, has just transferred from another store. The chain we work at is a fan of shuffling key holders every so often. So it’s Derek’s first night closing at a new location.

Things are going hunky dory and we’re all set to close on time at 9 pm on the dot. But as anyone who has worked retail knows, right before closing is usually when shit hits the fan.

It is no different tonight.

At about 8:45, a.. rather rotund lady comes lumbering through the door, using a walker. Holding back groans, Derek and I put on our best Customer Service faces, because it’s not this lady’s fault that she’s coming in right before we close (no, I lied, it totally is her fault). She’s kind of huffing and puffing, and adjusting her jacket, and looks to be wearing some raggedy sweat pant type ensemble.

Derek gives the standard greeting, and asks her if she needs help with anything. She sounds out of breath when she replies that’s just waiting for the bus (the stop is, I think, farther down the road we’re on, but whatever).

Time passes for a little while in this fashion, with her standing awkwardly in the corner by the front windows and Derek and I trying to get as much of the closing procedures done as we can with a ‘customer’ still in the store. The woman occasionally attempts to make small talk with us, and most of it involves how various store fronts turned her away when she told them she just wanted to wait inside. One of these is the Texas Roadhouse across the street (a pretty large street, at that; I wonder how she hoofed it over to us with that walker of hers), and the other is the Subway in the same strip as us. She also starts expounding about how the Subway girls were ‘just so terrible and mean,’ to her, and Derek and I reassure her and sympathize with her (regardless of the fact that I know all the Subway employees to be lovely – there is so much bullshitting we have to do with customers at retail jobs).

Very abruptly, things take a turn for the weird(er). She starts demanding that Derek or I call for an ambulance, because her knee hurts. Her ‘waiting for the bus’ story has now morphed into ‘needing to go to the hospital.’ Through her blabbering, we can make out that she has, supposedly, recently been released from a hospital for some type of leg surgery, but now she needs to go back, because it’s starting to bother her again.  She just “really, really needs an ambulance.”

Listen. Derek and I deal with enough bullshit on a regular basis in this line of work. We know when something’s fishy. And like hell we’re gonna call for an ambulance all willy-nilly. So Derek pulls out our phone book that has approximately seven years of dust build up, and starts frantically thumbing through it.

“..Derek,” I ask after a moment, “what are you doing?”

“Trying to find the phone number for the police department.”

…I don’t know what he wants the police for. But because I’m a paranoid person (born from having to call about noise complaints with a trouble neighbor), I dutifully pull out my cell phone and give him the number for our city’s police department from my contacts.  The station answers, he tells them that there’s a woman here who needs an ambulance because of a knee surgery. I have no idea how the police react to this, but Derek gives them our address and hangs up. “They said they’ll be here in a bit, ma’am,” he tells the lady.

She seems placated.  The phone rings; is it still store hours? But I answer anyway.  The woman on the line asks when we close, and then I realize it’s one of the Subway girls.

“Is there a heavier lady with a walker in there with you guys?”

Now, keep in mind the walker/bus/knee lady is standing about 4 feet away from me. I play it cool. “…yes.”

“Okay, she was just in here awhile ago. She’s always coming in and trying to beg money from people and get food, and this time she kept trying to use our phone. She wouldn’t leave us alone, so I called the cops, and she left our store. They should be here soon, but keep an eye on her.”

As I hang up the phone, I am trying to process how I’m going to tell Derek about this new development with the lady still IN THE STORE with us. For whatever reason, I start frantically trying to scribble out a note, when all of a sudden we see the flashing blue and red of a cop car’s lights pull up diagonally in front of the store (there is, at this point, just a few cars in the lot; Derek and my car included).

Now, look. My house has been robbed. I’ve gotten into a couple minor car accidents. The cops of this city, at least the ones I’ve dealt with, are not that awesome. It has only been ten minutes since Derek called. I expected them 40 minutes later. This is insane. (Afterwards, when the dust settles and I finally process what in the world has happened, I will realize the cops were responding to the Subway police call and not ours; they are not actually Jimmy John’s freaky fast.)

Two cops roll in – one a blond, the other with dark brown hair. They ask us for our names, and Derek updates them on the situation. They turn to the lady and – I shit you not – the first question out of the brunet cop’s mouth is, “Ma’am, are you a hooker?”

A. MOTHER. FUCKING. HOOKER.  Of all the questions in all the world, this is not what I expect. How is this real life?

Something in this woman has snapped, because from this point she can only seem to speak in stammered half sentences. “Well, no, I – I, my friend, he picked me up from Detroit, and we went to the Texas Roadhouse for a nice dinner, but he left me there, and I, he -he’s just helping me out, and -I had leg surgery, and I need to go back to the hospital and I, I -”

I should point out here that Detroit is not that close to where we are. Doable with a car, certainly, but not an easy trip for someone who supposedly has a rotten knee and a walker.

Brunet cop: “Is that your John?” (Do people actually USE these phrases, holy shit)

Walker lady: “No, I, I just didn’t have any money, so he came and picked, picked me up from Detroit, to help me, but he left me there and and -we were staying at the Motel 6, I have the key card here -” At this point, she starts reaching her hand into a coat pocket and the cops react immediately, hands going to their pistols. SHIT IS ABOUT TO GET REAL.

Brunet: “Ma’am, don’t go for your pocket, we’ll do that.” He does some weird head motion that blond cop interprets as going for her pocket himself.

Walker: “No I just, I was just going to show you my key card – my friend, we’re staying there, but he left, and I-”

The blond has indeed fished out a hotel key card. It’s definitely after 9, now – Derek and I have pretty much done everything. To keep up pretenses, though, I still shuffle around and pretend to straighten our shelves. Until I realize Derek is blatantly staring at this bizarre situation unfolding. Well, shit, if he’s not going to at least pretend to work, neither am I!

Brunet: “Do you have ID, ma’am?”

Walker: “Uh, er, yes, well, no, um -”

Brunet: “Do you or do you not?”

Walker starts attempting to manufacture some story about how she doesn’t have her ID, but she has her mother’s, and it’s the same address. Blond cop locates it among the things he just pulled out of her pocket.

Brunet: “…can you tell me what address it says on here?”

Walker: “No, I, uh, that is, I, well -”

Brunet: “…you don’t know your own address?”

Walker: “No, I, just, look, I was out – I was in the hospital for surgery on my leg, and I just want to go back, I told you, look, this is where my surgery was -” At this point, she begins to roll up her right sweat pant leg. Both of the cops recoil a bit and respond, in unison, “That’s alright, we don’t need to see that.”

I have already seen more of this woman than I care to. I realize that all hookers aren’t high class Julia Roberts-types, but how desperate was her mystery Texas Roadhouse man?

As she tries to stammer out a response to this, the cops share another mind wave signal that culminates in the blond going to the cruiser to run her ID. I don’t even know what she’s blabbering about at this point, but it’s very clear the cops aren’t buying it.

The blond comes back, shows the read out or what have you to the brunet, and what he then asks is, “Ma’am, do you want to tell us why there’s a warrant out for your arrest in Detroit? Says it’s for a bank robbery.”

I have no idea what real life is anymore.

Walker starts spewing something about how she only just missed the one meeting with her parole officer (which explains away bank robbery how???), and her friend left her at the restaurant, but she needs to get back to the hospital, etc, etc. She ends her jumbled rambling with, “But I didn’t rob a bank.”

First and only words the blond cop uttered that evening?

“Just because you didn’t get caught doesn’t mean you didn’t do it.”

I am totally enamored with these cops.

Blond cop proceeds to HAND CUFF this woman and starts leading her out the door, despite her protests that she needs her walker. Brunet brushes this off by saying he’ll bring it out to the car for her. (I can only imagine that she was hoping to get into a warm place with food for the night, though I doubt she imagined it would come in the form of a jail.) At this point, he turns to Derek and I and gives us a small lecture, including how we should be more selective about who we let in the store, and to kick people out if they’re suspicious.

This man has clearly never worked for a corporation obsessed with money. Our company wouldn’t bar Hitler himself from entering a store if there was even the vaguest HINT that he would spend money here.

(Later, we would find out that Walker had been kicked out of Texas Roadhouse after her John had left her there, and she was begging for money. She then proceeded to Subway, where she was complaining it had been days since she ate, but had no cash. Some sympathetic soul actually did buy her a sub, which she ate and followed up with a nap in a booth. That’s when the aforementioned trouble began, and the Subway manager called the cops. Walker would then leave the store and waddle on down to us.)

Finally, brunet cop takes the walker to his squad car, and they drive off into the night. Derek flips the lock on the door and slowly brings down the metal gates over the windows. After a long pause, he turns to me and asks, “…so, does that happen all the time?”

Are you asking me if hookers/bank robbers/homeless beggars come to our store all the time and essentially call the cops on themselves?

NO, DEREK. NO THAT DOES NOT HAPPEN ALL THE TIME.

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Walker: Texas Hooker

One thought on “Walker: Texas Hooker

  1. Fyl Frazee says:

    I worked at a Wendy’s once where we had two or three regulars who were homeless beggars. Managers kept feeding them so they would keep coming in for both lunch and dinner as long as they knew the general manager wasn’t there. The GM eventually caught on and put a stop to it. Never saw poor Wolfe and his buddies again.

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