Wind chimes ring out their welcoming song. Finally a customer on this wet and windy day found their way in. I glance up with a ready smile and saw a balding man in his 60s opening the door, his eyes seeming to be reading the “caution, step down” sign as he took a slow step on the bright yellow ramp that eased down to the creaky hardwood floor of my bookstore.
He went down in slow motion, legs wobbling, left hand on the doorknob, the other on the brick ledge just outside the door. He slowly tumbled down, the front half of his body in my store, his legs outside in the wind and rain, toes unable to get a grip. Eyes glazed, he smiled as though nothing was wrong, continuing to to wiggle as though each limb was a separate entity with a mind of its own. He seemed to be trying to make conversation as though nothing happened.
I race over to see if he is hurt, he makes eye contact, speaks, however I cannot make sense of what he is saying.
Oh my God! Call 911. Stroke? Head injury? Broken leg? Lawsuit? No blood. Breathe. Breathe. Holy crap!
“Are you hurt? Can you get up? Do you need help? Payton, go get a chair? Do you need a chair? Should I call someone?” My heart is racing!
“No, yea, no, hi, Seahawks?”
I stare at the man for a moment trying to make sense of these responses and try and remember if he actually hit is head, I don’t remember seeing or hearing that but now I am as confused as he appears to be.
I watch his legs move inhumanely. He must have broken something.
Six year old Payton arrives with a chair, setting it near him if he needs to sit. She stands close, staring, ever the observant one. She keeps her distance but not much. She hates missing out on anything.
Mr. Spaghetti Legs stands. Walks to the raised counter like nothing happened.
I decide to roll with it and go back on my side of the counter. I tell Payton to shush and send her to the back room. She just sits there. Watching this strange man.
“Are you sure you are OK?” I ask again.
“Hey baby, did you just wake up this cute?” the scent of alcohol overwhelms my senses. Crap.
As much as I hate confrontation, I snap “You here to buy a book or what? This is not a pickup joint.” I glance back at Payton giving her the “shut up and get back glare” she is so good at ignoring as she continues to stare at Mr. Spaghetti Legs.
“Oh, I can buy a book baby. Is that a yes?”
My eyes dart to Payton. Cell phone. Land line. Keyboard. Wasp spray. I decide best to keep them on this man. He is moving in slow motion, struggling for control. Yet he maintains eye contact and has the confidence that only the truly wasted can have. I realize he will not only be NOT be making any fast movements, he doesn’t seem to have a good grip on reality.
“Seahawks, yes. You met my granddaughter. You’re so cute. God I love you. Don’t you remember. She likes football. You are not here.”
I grab my cell phone. Send two texts. One to my friend Karen who I know will not be far from her her phone and if needed will call police for me. Second text to my son, also never far from his phone.
This man continues to ramble odd things with the occasional “so you wanna? Is that a yes baby?” Which makes me very uncomfortable. Just as I am wondering weather I should call 911 or grab the wasp spray or try and do both at the same time my son texts, asking if I need him. I text back “I think so.”
“Jose and I are on the way, see you in a few.”
I know I am not in an emergency situation. I don’t want to hurt someone, however after the comments he made to me I was on edge. My thoughts went to my son. I don’t want him in a fight and in trouble. Mr. Spaghettie Leg’s eyes found Payton. “Your daughter is so cute.” He smiled. That was it!
“You will leave now.” I said. You will walk to the door, I will open it for you and you will leave and never come back, understand?”
“Yes ma’am.” He stumbled to the door. SMACK! He weaves back and forth. How he stays standing I have no idea.
“Take two steps back, I will open the door. You will walk out and never come back. Got it?”
“Pretty eyes. You wanna? Yes?”
Holy hell. I roll my eyes.
“Step back now.” I make my way around him, holding my breath. “Go.”
He weaves up and out to the sidewalk. I watch his spaghetti legs wobble down the sidewalk, almost walking on the outsides of his ankles and not his feet. I have no idea how he stayed upright or moved so quickly.
I grab my cell phone and dial dispatch. Explain what happened. They ask if I want him permanently trespassed. “YES!” I say. “And please, send an officer, this man is headed to an area filled with kids and weaving into traffic. He will either hurt someone or get hurt.”
A few minutes later I get a call back from dispatch. They are confirming his description. A couple more minutes pass and I get a call from an officer confirming they found him and are very familiar with him. He is not only drunker than a skunk, he has a brain injury. He goes on to explain that the man is not capable of understanding he has been permanently trespassed from my store but if he ever does come back to call and they will take care of him for me.
Takes me hours to stop shaking.
My nature is to help others who need it. This was very hard, and hurt my heart to be so mean to him. However my family will always come first and he was way out of line. I do not care what his problem is if it puts me or mine in possible danger. There was no help I could give him and he needed to go.