Monday, November 4, 2013

Blind Luck (Part 4)

            Was my Johnny-on-the-spot ploy working?  It really sounded dumb to me, hearing this espionage come out of my mouth.  But it worked.  Dumb ass.  He pulled me down to the floor by the   
arm and hair and dragged me across the floor.  My big mouth spoke.
This is ridiculous.  Why are we army crawling across the floor?  No one can see us. 

Blind spot. We reached the register and I opened it, gave him the cash, “and the change”, while he was breathing down my neck.  Please look away, I was thinking, so I can see if this button actually works.  He grabbed my other arm and hair again, and turned to slither him and me along the floor again.  I quickly pressed the button.  Once in the blind spot again, he asked where my purse was.  If he got me into my office in the back of the store, I might never be seen alive again.

                        It’s in my car.

            “The red truck?”  Right then the panic hit.  How did he know what I drove?  How long had he been casing me and how much did he know about me?

            “Where is it parked?”
                        Down the street by Starbucks.

            It wasn’t, but my ploy worked and we remained in the blind spot.  He then dragged me into the Tool Shed (a private closet actually where sex toys were displayed), an even blinder spot than the one I was standing in, and told me to get on the ground.  Panic.  Heart now inside mouth.  Swallow it down and speak loudly and clearly.  Use your big mouth.

                        You got what you want.  Just get out of here.

            I looked around.  It felt like hours had passed.  Where were the cops?  What a time to find out the alarm button doesn’t work!

            “What are you looking for?  The cops?” 

            He grabbed my hands to tie together with the thong he just ripped apart and saw my wedding band and a gold coin ring from Greece, bought the summer after Goon #1.

            “Give me those.”
                        No.  That is my wedding band and you can’t have it. 

            He grabbed at my hands.  “Give me those.”
                        No, I am not giving you this ring.

            He took my fingers and started pulling at the ring.   Grudgingly, I gave up.
                        Here, just take it and get the hell out.

            He proceeded to pull me down to the floor and tie my feet together.  This was it. I was sure.  Why wouldn’t he leave after looting my store?  Unless there was more than looting on his mind.  This was unthinkable.  My mind refused this train of thought and thought perhaps it could call out silently and someone would hear me.  Perhaps he heard it, because he stood up, grabbed a few boxes off the shelf (taking inventory shortly afterwards, I found the tube of lube under the counter that should have been in the stolen box in the Tool Shed­—Ha!), warned me not to move, and left.  I immediately began to untie myself, jumped up and ran to the phone, which was ringing now for the third time.  Husband’s second call.  (The first ring was the unanswered call from the security company.) My tied hands picked up the receiver and awkwardly lifted it to my ears.
                        I’ve been robbed, I warbled hysterically through my trembling.  “What!” was his shocked reply.  Then I said, the cops are here.  Gotta go.  And I hung up on him.
            I thank my lucky stars that each of my experiences brought some justice along with it—a gift for me.  A gift of innate knowing was thrown in for good measure. 
            Nick asked the third incident goons, the morning after their visit to my store, why they didn’t rob me.  “She gave us a look.”  
            One of their mothers came to pick them up after paying a good sum for their release, grabbed them by the napes of their necks, castigating them as she dragged them out of the station.  My children reacted to Nick’s comment with, “We know that look.” 
            Luck equals lessons learned, looks honed.  It just has to.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Blind Luck (Part 3)

    An old saying goes: you have to be good to be lucky.  Am I good or bad?  That is a question I have
pondered for a lifetime.  If you ask Ma, I have never been good, always a troublemaker, always the truthsayer to the dismay of the entire close-lipped family, always a big mouth.  I must admit, I do have a big mouth.  It has gotten me into trouble, but it has also saved my life.

     It saved me from being taken across state lines 31years ago when I told my abductor, with the big knives, that I couldn’t go with him to Wisconsin because I had a final exam the next day.  He actually laughed and released me a short time later on a quiet residential street, leaving me to go home to an angry mother who couldn’t believe I had let the man take her car.

                  But I’m safe, Ma.  I got away from him unharmed.
                 “Yeah, I can see that.  But you let him take my car!”

     Thirty-one years after that fateful incident, my big mouth came in handy again.  I should have seen it coming, considering the practice I have had with crazy abductors.  He had been casing my store.  That is what a neighboring merchant told the police.  Why, pray tell, did they never call the police with this information?

     Someone should have told this goon a lingerie boutique is not a cash business, although that day I had a large cash sale in the drawer; it was the luck of the draw that he chose that particular day to visit me and prove his manhood.

Why the hairs on the back of my neck stayed flat against the nape, why my stomach didn’t turn over a few times, why my fight or flight instinct didn’t announce itself that afternoon, I will never know.  Maybe it was the 31 years in between my un-luck that slowed my memory; maybe the many years of living: school, illnesses, debilitating depression —was that actually a breakdown I had?—crazy loon family, two kids, close call on the marriage ending, two parents dead and one thieving sister stealing the inheritance; maybe these and more were enough to dull the memory and the connection awful experiences have to the gut, making it extremely sensitive to pretty much everything; maybe this was enough to slow down the synapses connecting the — hmmm, why is this customer giving me such a hard time?—experiential induced warning,  with the— you better get the fuck outta here—reality that you are now entering a soon-to-be crime scene.

     That is why I was so mad at myself when he quietly said, “I’m going to rob you.  I have a gun.”  After all the honing of the past 31 years, I should have seen the small details; the tiny beads of swear gathering on his forehead, the canvassing of the entire store, eyes scanning the dressing rooms, the nooks and crannies for signs of life, the barrage of inane questions.  I kicked myself later for succumbing to his last question and finding myself in the back corner, the blind spot of the store.  (Just thinking about the blind spot brings my hand to the back of my head for a big whack!) So clueless was I to the obvious, that my response to his quiet utterance of intention was, Say what?
He grabbed my arm hard.
               “I have a gun.  Tell me how to get into the cash register.”

      I stepped out of the present and found myself operating out of the 18-year-old mind from the Walgreen’s parking lot, staring at my horror in the reflection of a seven inch blade; it’s funny how you can calmly watch yourself in present and past simultaneously and it not seem odd that you are now speaking from the view a brand new persona, just birthed out of chaos.

       The lone alarm button was under the register and I was on the opposite side of the store.
        You can’t get into the register.  There is a special code for access.
       “Give it to me.”
        You won’t be able to get in.  Only I can get into the register. be continued......