The problem with hookers is that they don’t always look like hookers. They don’t always dress like the over-the-top hussies you see on old episodes of Starsky and Hutch or Beretta. Unfortunately for me, television is the extent of my training about dealing with hookers. There really needs to be a life manual for these sorts of things.
The other day I had just parked my car on the street downtown when a woman approached me asking for help. She was older (fifty?), petite, and thin. She had blonde hair, big glasses, and was wearing a lavender jogging suit. She said her car had broken down about a mile away, and needed a ride. She didn’t have any money so she couldn’t take a cab.
She spoke with a near-spastic intensity that reminded me of one of my aunts, so I decided to help.
During the ride, she elaborated on her story. Her daughter had a problem at college, and she had driven there and given her daughter all of her money, and then broken down on the way home. She still had an hour of driving to complete, and had no friends in this city, but some friends from home had wired her money so that she could get her car fixed.
When we got to where she had said the car was broken down, she asked me to take her a little farther, into one of the neighborhoods near the highway, to a party store where she was expecting the money. I became suspicious: the car was not where she had said it would be.
She asked if she could have a couple of bucks, because she had driven that whole way from the college without money, and was thirsty, and really needed a coke. Just a couple of bucks was all she needed. She’d be really thankful, and she knew I was already doing plenty, and I didn’t have to give her anything, but she really wanted a coke if I could spare a couple of bucks.
As we pulled into the party store parking lot, she looked at a man leaving the parking lot in a pickup truck, and he waved at her. She waved back. I saw recognition in the man’s face. Not joy; just recognition.
Nothing of her story was playing out. The car wasn’t where she said it was; she needed a ride to somewhere else, she knew someone in town, and if she was being wired money, why did she need two bucks from me?
I thought she’s either the neighborhood whacko, a crack head, or a hooker. Somehow, hooker seemed right. It’s one of those instinctual things.
I gave her the two bucks and bid her adieu.