"Ummm....someone else, someone else, someone else...I meant someone else. No no no.. no . no. Not.. no." clapping his hands together and shaking them at head level.
He hurredly mumbled his way to the checkered cab ID#91 that awaited across the street as I stood and walked straight to the window. Sitting in the back seat, the door slammed shut as he shook his head so hard the black cap almost fell off. He reached to right it as the cab pulled away.
"So are you calling the cops?"
"No, I'm calling Anthony (the landlord) so he knows to watch out for him."
"There are two cops down the street about 4 blocks, and two units I saw on foot as I came in. They'd be here in plenty of time. Although technically, all he did was walk towards the building."
"Yeah. He's never seen anyone in here with me though. I think you scared the sh*t out of him."
"Well, I'll stick around for awhile. He's in stalker mode...invested in a cab ride over here at 12:30am for the sole reason of seeing you. He'll be back."
"Either way I'm damn sure glad you were here. No one freaks me out like that man. I swear he's actually the devil. And if he's not, something is just not right with him. The problem with semi-homeless cracked out war vets is that they've seen it all and have nothing to lose. You know they still haven't cleaned out his apartment? Everyone's too scared to open the door. God knows waht's behind it. He used to sit in his bedroom with an orange light on in the middle of the night and scream to himself. But not a scared scream...one of those haunting maniacal plan kind of screams."
"Yup. I'm sticking around for awhile."
35 minutes passed before we decided to leave. I was going to walk her next door to Anthony's and then go home. Out the front door, down the steps, and just turning to the left I saw Cab91 pull up again. Turning fully around, I looked the Fare straight in the eye. He pulled the black cap down over his face to try and obstruct my view in time...but you don't forget a face like his. Cab91 never slowed below 20mph before pulling away.
I took Gracie next door, put my ridiculously small bluetooth headset in my ear, my black jacket on, and walked down the intersecting street immediately across from her building. It's a row of houses on either side, with street lamps, not streetlights, but old school lamps every 4 houses. There are trees twice as often casting enough shadows that it's difficult to be seen if you don't want to be. I tapped the button and pulled my hat over the little blue flashing light. Gracie came on line.
"Can you see your front door?" "Yes."
"Can you see both directions down the street?" "Yes."
"Good, now keep the lights off. We don't want him knowing that you have friends in the building next door and that you spend time there. I give him 15 minutes before he comes back and when he does, I want to see what he does when he thinks no one's watching."
"Where the hell are you?"
"Turn your head left. Looks straight up German St. about 5 houses. Left side. Just right of the sidewalk."
"I see nothing at all. Wait, are you waving your cell phone?"
"Yes." "Yeah, I don't see you, but I see your cell phone. Wait, it's gone."
"That's why I'm using my HandsFree. Less light, and free hands."
"OK. Now you're
creeping me out a bit."
"Yeah, well...now we've got eyes. Hit me if you see him."
15 minutes passed and nothing. Tapped the button again..."Gracie, I'm heading home, but I'll be up for a bit. Call me if anything happens."
I live about 1.5 miles due East on the same main street as Gracie, so I hopped in my car, and drove home. I parked in the back and decided to walk to the front of the building to enter the front door. As I hit my sidewalk, Cab91 passed me, Westbound. Through the back window, I could clearly make out the black cap and the collar of his brown leather jacket. He did not see me, for the cab passed while I was turned with my back to it and in shadow. I felt like I was in a teen horror film.
Tapping the button as I ran down my driveway, "Gracie! He's coming your way. He'll be there in 45seconds. I'm on my way!"
I dove in my car and peeled out of my parking lot. I didn't want more than 5 blocks between us. I saw the tail lights three traffic lights down, 2 blocks from Gracie's building.
"You see him? You see HIM?!" "Not yet. Nope....wait. Now I do. He's slowing down...stopped. But he's not getting out of the car."
"He's seen your lights out. He thinks you went somewhere with me because we were both outside when he passed last. I can see his taillights driving still westbound. I'm on him. I want to see what he's doing and why he's still sticking with this cabby."
Maintaining a distance of about 100 yards it was easy to track the cab. It sticks out in traffic. I wasn't worried about the Fare seeing me because he had to be dictating directions to the driver. The Driver was haphazardly turning down streets, turning around, stopping in parking lots. At first I thought he was trying to ditch me and then I realized they were drug-hunting. The area they were in isn't known for its stellar reputation, but it's not a bad section of town that I would refrain from walking through alone at night. This strip, lined with sports bars, pubs, McDonalds, 711, and a Dunkin Donuts is a haven for people who don't sleep. Therefore it's perfect for people looking to score a little something. I was wondering if the fare planned on paying in dope.
Finally, Cab91, still holding his original Fare, pulled a random U-turn and headed back Eastbound. Neither the cabby, nor the Fare looked at me as they passed...I didn't look directly at them either, but their heads didn't turn. I took this as a good sign.
I caught a light, made a turn and kept an eye on his tail lights the whole time in my mirrors. He was heading back to my neighborhood. Here's where I became very
eager to know why he was going my way. I hung back about 3 lights length because I knew this stretch is one dimensional, no reason to turn off the main drag this far down.
Now well passed city limits and into the highclass suburbs, Cab91 continued on its easterly course and sped towards a village that has a canal cutting through it. A quaint, New England-feeling village lined with county sheriffs. Right before the bridge over the canal, I pulled off and down a street that parallels the waterway for 2 miles. I killed time, turned around, finding Cab91 going back the way we came. Half a mile's distance, I pulled behind him. I saw his lights take a right into a plaza.
This plaza closes down around 9pm. It's the East side, so they're money conscious. Lights out by 11. All of them. As I passed the plaza, I saw the cab pulling behind one of the stores, catching the tail lights trailing away in the pitch black, then going dark themselves.
Here's where I decided to lay off. I'm not stupid, and not suicidal. Why did this cabby act like this? Did he know the Stalker Fare? Perhaps by this point it was just drug related. Either way, I wasn't about to stroll up and ask. I had intended to find out where this guy lived, what he was up to, or who he was staying with. Having gained none of this while chasing the goose, I headed home, watching my back. In the parking lot of a bank was a local black and white. I pulled up next to him, rolling my window down.
"Hey, I don't know what it's doing, but as I passed that plaza back there, I saw a cab pull behind the paint store."
"You been drinking sir?"
"No sir, not at all. You want my ID to run my license?"
"Nah. But I'll go check out that cab."
I went home with a wary eye. I came in, locked the doors, and posted part 1. I didn't receive a call from Gracie that night. I went to bed.
I feel a bit bad for not keeping up my writing end of the deal. Basically the Trattoria has been on the slow side and uneventful, or so busy and insane that I have zero desire to recall the events. But this story I was sure you'd be interested in, despite the fact it has nothing to do with the restaurant biz.
I was doing my faithful evening of practicing tonight and came near the end when I received a phone call from my friend Gracie here in town. She recently swapped apartments and I had yet to see the new place, so I stopped by somewhat on the later side.
We were sitting in her living room, enjoying a nice cigar. She started talking about the fact that her stalker had returned.
When she lived in her basement apartment, a gentleman in his late 50s knocked on her door one day. He looked a little cracked out and asked for food. About 5'10" and dressed with clothes that hadn't left his back since the 80s, his thin frame appeared fragile. Gracie is quite the generous person so she got some bumblebee tuna and carrots. He then followed it up with asking for money. She was wise enough there to deny him cash and shut the door. His apartment was across the hall from hers. When she would come home, she could tell he was peaking at her with his door cracked open just a hair. She was always a little too afraid to look directly at him while he did this.
As time passed she heard him attempt opening her door late at night or tapping on her door or pacing back and forth in front of it. When she would leave for class in the morning, a small scattering of cigarette butts would be strewn about the hall immediately before her door. Meanwhile, as things got creapier and he wouldn't leave her alone, she went to the landlord who gave him a warning: Stop, or eviction will ensue.
A few weeks passed with no confrontations or bizarre scenarios until one morning she woke up to find a sample digital photo menu sheet shoved under her door. If you get digital photos printed, they give you a table of contents page as an overview of each image. This particualr sheet was composed entirely of images of his penis. Reasonably disturbed, she took this to the landlord who promptly evicted the strange man. Before he left he stood outside her door screaming profanity and uttering words of future harm.
Some time passed before he returned to hassle her again. This one came with still more threats. It was at this time that police interaction seemed to have no effect, so a friend of hers paid him a visit when he arrived outside her window. It was more than a month before she saw him again.
She moved apartments from the basement to upstairs in the front. Quite the upgrade. Gracie was hoping to dodge the delusional with the move. It was a failure. He showed up ranting and raving and being lewd. He had arrived in a cab specifically to let her know he was planning on cutting off her fingers and toes followed by a hit to the temple with a hammer. She showed me this screaming session. Thank God for videos on cell phones.
So she caught me up on the info and at the perfectly flawless moment in the conversation, he arrived outside the building in a cab, came up to the window, looked in, saw me, and said, "Ummm...."