The Time I Broke Up A Prostitution Ring In The Gas Station I Worked At
Before I launch headfirst into this story, I want to hash out a few excuses for my involvement with it.
I graduated from college around the time the American economy was doused with bad mortgages and set ablaze. There weren’t many jobs for freshly-picked liberal art college graduates at the time.
In the months that followed me getting my diploma, I ended up working a few retail jobs to start hacking away at my forest of debt. Most of these jobs were fairly boring. Stocking shelves, using a cash register, playing traffic-cop on black Friday…not too many stories there, save for the one where this 70-year old co-worker of mine bought me a vial of Paris Hilton brand cologne as a profession of his love for me.
I did eventually leave retail world for something more exhilarating than the advances of geriatric men: Closing a gas station.
Now, the main duties of being a retail soldier are mostly the same as being a slinger of gas. Stocking shelves, using a cash register, playing traffic-cop when people drive away from the pump with the nozzle still in their gas tanks. However, closing a gas station adds variabilities of unpredictability.
To help better paint the scene, I should probably mention that this gas station was at the foot of a hill that had a Walmart. Since this particular Walmart didn’t sell gas, we ended up getting a lot of the same clientele. You don’t have to be a Doctor of Sociology to grasp the sort of riff-raff that infiltrates a Walmart late at night. Sure, all walks of life were represented, but they often walk in stained sweatpants.
I feel bad admitting this, because I know, you know, and everyone knows that Walmart is a terrible monolith of a company that treats its workers unfairly and drives other more reputable establishments out of business, but I often would just send people I didn’t want to deal with to the Walmart. It had a big parking lot for nefarious behavior and a lot of money to pay for damages from aforementioned nefarious behavior, so I had to pass the buck for the gas station’s, but mostly my own, well-being.
I was closing one summer night, and it was D-E-A-D. I was mostly playing around on Twitter and half-paying attention to what was going on in the parking lot. There was a 95’ Ford Explorer with as many rust spots as miles parked at pump 2. There was no gas pumping, and the car wasn’t running, so I just assumed whoever was driving was on the phone or something. The correct answer was ‘or something.’
The Walden-esque solitude my Twitter feed was providing me was shattered by this large man with dumpy looking cargo shorts and a Tapout t-shirt, which is the unofficial uniform of Hooksett, New Hampshire. This guy burst through the front doors of my store with a booming voice that yelled, “DUUUUUDE!”
As a fellow dude, this got my attention.
“Hey, how’s it going, man?”
“Dude, there are two chicks in the Explorer out there giving out blowjobs for gas money.”
“Uhhh, excuse me?”
“Seriously. This girl popped her head out the window and asked me if I wanted my dick sucked for five dollars.”
I was curious. “You didn’t do it, did you?”
“YEAH, DUDE! They needed gas money, so I gave the cuter one five dollars while the other girl was texting other guys she knew who might be down.”
I couldn’t have asked for a better detective even if I put an ad out.
“Alright man, I can’t be having you do that stuff on store property. You need to leave the store while I go deal with this. Have a good night.”
I was expecting him to flip out, but he more or less said, “Got it. Have a good night!,” and left.
My job had very little responsibility, but one of those responsibilities was to break-up prostitution rings that may pop-up in my line of work. Of course, I was nervous. To this point, I had never had any interactions with women who were actively doing this sort of work, so I didn’t know what to expect.
I approached the passenger side window, and like a cop who detected something fishy, I tapped on the glass lightly and bellowed out, “Good evening.” I must have done a good job impersonating a cop because these women were startled. There was a dude sitting in the back as well. He was definitely the most startled of all.
A bespeckled woman with an amazingly elaborate zipper-like scar running from above her left eye all the way across to her right cheek was the first to address me. As she nervously acknowledged my existence, her breath punched me in the nose. It smelled like burnt chemicals mixed with alcohol. Her eyes were glassy and droopy. She was “the cute one.”
The other woman was rather large, had an ICP sweatshirt on, several different colors in her hair, and a glass pipe on her lap that she was trying to hide with her very large hands. The bottom of the pipe appeared burnt and her blackened teeth were chattering a bit, which didn’t make sense to me since it was the summer. I later wikipedia’d crystal meth, and that explained everything.
“So, what’s going on? What are you all doing tonight?
The woman with the scar said, “Trying to make it to Warner.” To those wondering, Warner is a very small rural town north of Concord. Nothing wholesome happens there, but I hear they have this well-run bison farm.
“Very nice, and I guess you need gas money to get there?”
“Yeah dude, we’re broke,” the jugalette chimed in.
“And is this gentleman in the back was helping you make it to Warner?”
“No, he’s just a friend.”
This guy was a treat. I can best describe him as a Trevor from Grand Theft Auto 5 that let himself go. He was wearing sweatpants and was sitting cross-legged trying to hide an erection, which is usually how I roll when I head out to parties in the woods.
“Alright, how much money do you have now?”
“Okay, hand me the five, I’ll throw it on this pump for you, but you’re gonna have to start your car and then head up to the Walmart because you can’t be doing this here.”
“What do you mean!?,” howled the jugalette.
“Look, I’m not an idiot. Pump your gas and leave, or I’ll call the cops.”
The woman with the glasses handed me the money, which I grabbed with my latex gloved hand. “Please don’t call the cops,” she says.
“I won’t. Just please be safe. Go to Walmart. Do whatever. Just don’t do it here.”
I then walked away and proceeded to put the five on pump 2. After they finished, they left without incident. I then called my boss to tell her that I just broke up a prostitution ring. It is still, to this day, the greatest phone call I have ever placed in my life.
The best part of this story, though. Was the next night. The woman with the glasses and the scar came in. Same SUV. Same pump. And she asked…”DO YOU TAKE CHECKS FOR GAS?!”
“No, our machines are down. Try cashing it at Walmart.”