Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Gregory

I managed an art supply shop for a while, and while there, got to know one of my customers, Gregory.

He was a large man in every sense of the word. He towered over the rest of the customers, had wide shoulders, and while he wasn't in shape, he still had hands like bowling balls. Gregory worked as a city bus driver, but was planning to start a company in some South American country, and was coming to learn more about some crafts so that he could take supplies and know how with him.
For this, Gregory would come to classes. Usually, he would be alone, sometimes he would bring his wife, a gorgeous woman also from South America. I thought they were a nice couple, friendly, and thought nothing more of it.

Then, one day, Gregory comes in the store. My employee on duty is busy behind the counter, and Gregory asks my help looking at books. Our book section was in the back corner, the only section of the store, I might add, not visible from the front desk.

I walk back and turn to ask him what he was looking for and he pins me to the wall. Again, this is a BIG man. He professes his love for me and tells me that he would leave his wife for me if I said so, and that he would THAT NIGHT fly us both to South America to "save me" from being here.
I bluster off the whole thing and somehow get away, and Gregory leaves the store.
A few days later I am working at the front desk, which was near the window, and heard some commotion outside. A city bus was sitting there. Now we were on the bus route, but there was no reason for a bus to stop outside. Puzzled, I glance at the driver. It's Gregory. He sees me looking and drives quickly off.

Over the next few days, I'd see the same bus slow down outside. Looking up the bus route, he was actually taking it a few blocks outside his run to do this, bringing his unwilling passengers along for the ride.

The next week, I am training a new employee. We are solo in the store, when in walks Gregory, looking like hell. I see him and, not thinking, run out the back door, leaving a brand spanking new employee there, confused and solo. I walk down to a thrift shop nearby and ask to hide in their back room for fifteen minutes, then call the shop. My employee, sounding lost and panicked, says that Gregory left. When I get back, he's left a message for me. He was fired from his job and his wife left him. This meant there was nothing holding us apart.

Soon afterwards, Gregory took to just sitting outside the shop in his car, staring in the window at me. He'd be there sometimes at close, and I started making sure I was never going out to my car alone. One night, my staff had all left and I looked out to see Gregory outside. Panicked, I asked a frequent customer to please stay, that my stalker was outside.

Said customer was in to buy tattoo supplies. He was a member of a bike gang and an overall sweet guy. I told him the whole story, and concerned he walked me out to my car that night. Then he told me that the next time Gregory was outside, I was to give him a call.
That weekend, I looked out to see Gregory staring in at me from my car. I got on the cell phone and called my biker friend. A half hour passes, then suddenly there's the roar of engines outside. Easily twenty motorcycles come pulling up, surrounding this guys car. Someone yanks open his door and I see heated words. Gregory is talking animatedly with his hands, no one looks happy. A second later, he tries to back up and everyone is back on their motorcyles, following him down the street.
An hour later my biker friend comes in and says that I shouldn't expect any more trouble from him. I baked him a few dozen cookies the next week as a thank you. Which, rough and tough image aside, no one says no to homemade cookies.

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