The Gas Man Creepeth
Hell, my darlings!
A few weeks ago, I had a thing happen. A creepy thing. And weeks later I’m still squinked out.
Usual disclaimer of a serious blog peppered with GIFs that make me laugh because this is how I deal with tension, okayyyyyyyy?
I’d gone to my very first Midwest Writer’s planning committee meeting (side note: MWW15 is going to be AWESOME.) and on my way home, I needed to stop for gas.
And to pee. Because…reasons.
I go into a gas station and of course the women’s restroom is occupied, so I sat down at a table that was hanging out in the far corner of the convenience mart bit to wait. I poked around on my phone, as one does.
A minute or so later, this fella comes and sits across from me at my table. He was older than me, and for reasons I still don’t understand, wearing a baseball cap, but also holding three other baseball caps.
Still tapping away on my phone, the guy randomly asked me, “Have you been getting any weird calls on your phone?”
I sort of blinked at him. “I’m sorry?”
“Have you been getting any dirty calls on your phone?” He asked again. “I’ve gotten a couple.”
“Uh, no?” I said. “Sounds like you might have someone’s old number, or some prank calls.”
I smiled at him and turned my attention back to my phone. See, I think back to that moment a lot and wonder if that’s what did it. Should I have not smiled? Not answered him at all? Waved a can of mace in his creepy face? Probably.
The man then launches into a tale detailing how one time he got a call from a girl he assumes is my age and how she left him a filthy voicemail, using foul and dirty language. He managed to trace the call and discovered this girl worked at Walmart and tracked her down one day at work.
And then, he proudly stated, HE FOLLOWED HER HOME.
“Yeah, I followed her right to her house. And then I knocked on the door and when she opened up I went right on in and told her she needed a talking to. And I told her what was what. Took about an hour and a half, but I talked to her all right. And it’s okay because after I took her to McDonald’s and got her a Big Mac.”
Let me assure you this is a very disconcerting thing to hear a man say when it’s just you and him in a lonely corner of a gas station.
He then explained how he got another filthy call from a different girl and tracked her down, too. But this girl lived with three other girls. And how he’d had to go talk to them for about two hours, and he was planning to go back that night to talk to them again. Figured it might take another two hours.
As this was happening, I shut down completely and focused on my phone. I thought about scurrying the hell out of there but I still had to pay for my gas.
I started texting my husband and turned the sound all the way up on my phone. I figured the loudly buzzing replies would show him I was obviously interacting with someone. Possibly someone who would notice if I’d gone missing or what the fuck ever because I was sure this guy was a lunatic.
Naturally, hubs wasn’t answering his phone. So, I took to Twitter. I started Tweeting about the creepy fella and my phone was blowing up satisfactorily with responses and for a moment, he was quiet. I was also trying to laugh this off as much as possible because I always worry about overreacting to things. I thought Twitter could laugh with me.
I dunno, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
“Do you ever leave filthy messages for people?” he asked me.
I muttered an “Excuse me.” and scrambled away from the table. I dead seriously scuttled through the quick mart aisles and hid behind a chip display hoping he would just get up and go away. After a minute, he got up and started looking down the rows for me.
By now, my phone was blowing up with notifications saying HOLY FUCK RUN OH MY GOD.
I calmly walked up to the line for the cashier, deciding I no longer had to pee and never would again, and stood behind at least ten people waiting to pay. I thought for sure I’d be all set with so many lovely witnesses.
He came out of nowhere, honestly. I was even looking for him but I didn’t see him pop up behind me at all. He very quietly said right behind me, “You look like you’d need talking to for two hours.”
I actually yelped that. Out loud. My immediate thought was he’d think that was “filthy” language and holy crap what had I done? I was scared to all hell.
I ran straight up to the register, past all the people, and said I needed a manager immediately, right now, SERIOUSLY GET A MANAGER.
A manager was right there and I sputtered through about creepy guy and help and seriously I think he wears women as skin suits and oh my fucking god. The manager was perfection and snapped right into action, grabbing two other employees. I whipped around to point the guy out, but…
He. Was. Gone.
We looked everywhere. Inside and outside the store, in cars in the parking lot, everywhere. The manager called county police. I stood there wondering what in the actual fucking fuck had just happened.
He had just POOFED right the crap away.
Eventually I paid for my gas and was escorted to my car to make sure he wasn’t hiding somewhere. And then I left.
Right when I was about to get on the highway, I looked in my rear-view mirror and saw a man driving a big truck wearing the same goddamn baseball cap that dude had been wearing. I legit panicked. Actual, icy blood panic.
I yanked my car over into a crowded parking lot and had my phone in hand to call 911 but the truck just drove right on by. Probably wasn’t the same guy, right? I really hope it wasn’t the same guy.
I have never fled an area faster in my life. I called the hubs and unloaded some quality hysterics as I drove. I was too scared to stop to take a moment to calm down. I put on my big girl laser focus and drove the almost two hours home.
The whole ride I kept checking my rear-view. I kept looking behind me and thinking every noise was some weirdo hiding in my back seat even though I and other people had in fact checked my car just to be extra safe.
And then I got really super pissed off. It was a two hour drive, I had time to think.
I kept thinking how I bet no man has ever gone into a gas station and followed around by someone asking if they make filthy phone calls or making them feel threatened. I doubt it’s a common occurrence for a guy to run a quick errand and have to genuinely wonder if they are about to be raped and turned into a skin-suit by creepy baseball cap hoarding dudes.
I had a moment where I thought about what I was wearing and wondered if it had ATTRACT A SERIAL KILLER written on it. No, just a t-shirt, jeans, and a long cardigan covered in cats because I’m a super cool person.
Then I got outrageously pissed that I’d even thought about what I was wearing because I SHOULD BE ABLE TO WEAR WHATEVER I’D LIKE WITHOUT BEING APPROACHED BY SCARY PEOPLE OH MY FUCKING DAMN.
I don’t really know how to process the whole situation. Part of me wants to brush it off thinking maybe I overreacted and this was just an awkward dude trying to make conversation. Part of me knows that’s probably bullshit because the hairs on my neck still stand up when I remember how he spoke.
All of me would just really like it if things like that didn’t happen so often it’s kind of a gut reaction to assume there’s a potential rapist within spitting distance at all times.
And that’s it. I don’t have a moral here. I don’t have a kooky, happy ending. I don’t have a wildly tragic ending. It just was. A completely bizarre Saturday afternoon that just happened.
The world is a crazy ass place, kids.
Now, here’s a CumberOtter because the internet is a wonderful provider of things you never knew you needed to see and I don’t want to leave you with a scary story and uncomfortable feels.
I hope you all are having wonderful weeks!
Until next time,
Peace, Love, and *SHUDDER*