Touch of Evil

It’s ten o’clock in the morning. I’m spread out in the booth by the window perusing the papers sipping espresso. The staff bustles about readying the bistro for business.

This is my favorite part of the day. The busgirls’ soft voices rise and fall, blending with the rough hewn timbre of guys arguing in the kitchen, producing a comforting harmony. A pot crashes. A door slams. Somebody laughs.

Delivery men come and go. Young women jog past the window and wave. The owner of the dress shop next door sweeps her stoop. Sunlight streams through the window, glinting of the tableware, providing gentle warmth. I savor my coffee and remember why I like working here.

The door chimes. I get up and walk over to the entrance. A man is waiting.

He’s in his late forties, tanned and well dressed, with blow-dried hair, manicured nails, and in excellent shape. He smiles winningly. His teeth are perfect.

“Hi. I’m looking for a job.” he says.

“As a waiter sir?” I inquire.

“Waiter, cook, busperson, dishwasher – anything,” he replies.

I find that odd. He doesn’t look like the dishwasher type. “Do you have any experience?” I ask.

“No but I’m a fast learner,” he replies smoothly. He may be smiling but his eyes watch me intently.

I hand the man an application and he gets busy filling it out. We talk some more.

As we chat I get the feeling this guy is dangerous. I have no evidence to support my gut reaction – just a sense honed from years working in psychiatric hospitals and waiting tables. There’s something predatory about him. I can’t put my finger on it but it makes me nervous. I decide in an instant he will never work here.

He hands me back the application. I read it over. I’m surprised to read he attended an Ivy League school. I go through his list of former employers. His work history stops abruptly in 1990. What has he been doing the past fourteen years? I don’t know and I don’t care. I just want him to leave.

“Well to be honest we aren’t looking for anyone right now. I’ll keep your application on file and if a job opens we’ll call you in for an interview,” I say

Mr. Smooth’s face is good natured but his eyes are like a cat’s regarding a mouse.

“When do you think something will open up?” he purrs.

“Can’t ever know sir. “ I reply.

“Ok. Thank you,” he says flashing a smile. He looks around a moment then exits.

I mark the application “NEVER EVER HIRE” and put it in a drawer. Call me crazy but there was something nutty about the guy. I go back to my paper.

A few hours later I discover we’ve run out of Triple Sec. I run to the liquor store to get more. Can’t deprive Yuppies of their goddamn Cosmopolitans.

Walking back to the bistro I see Mr. Smooth standing on the corner talking to a young woman. It’s obvious she likes him.

Before I get close enough to hear their conversation two police cruisers roll up. Four cops jump out. In a flash Mr. Smooth is facedown on the ground being handcuffed.

“This is bullshit guys.” he protests calmly. I’ll bet he’s still smiling.

“Oh yeah we’ll see about that,” one cop retorts caustically. They dump Smooth in the squad car and drive off. The young woman he was talking with stands open mouthed on the corner.

I look at her. She looks at me. I shake my head. She walks away – her world a little more diminished.

I know the cops in my neighborhood. A few hours later I have the whole story.

Turns out Mr. Smooth fancied himself a porn producer back in the Eighties. He would talk up strippers and prostitutes with promises to put them in the movies. Under the pretense of getting some “sample pictures” he lured them back into his hotel room. He was convicted for raping one of them.

Smooth just finished a fourteen year prison term. That explains the gap in his work history and his buff physique. He’s now on parole looking for work.

So what does Smooth do when he gets out of jail? He walks around my neighborhood posing as a photographer propositioning young women to pose for him. He becomes infatuated with one girl. He stalks her. She calls the cops. It’s a violation of his parole so the police pick him up.

“We’ve been watching him for weeks.” the cops tell me. I shudder.

Smooth, however, beats the rap. In a few days he’s back on the streets. Everyone in the neighborhood, however, is wise to him now. We watch him warily. Occasionally Smooth talks to a new face on the street. When that happens there is a discrete conversation, his history is made known, and that’s the last time that person talks to him. Smooth has trouble finding work. No one wants to hire a convicted rapist.

Several months pass and it’s another morning at the Bistro. I’m outside putting rock salt on the sidewalk. Delivery men unload their trucks, proprietors open their doors, the young girls still jog by and wave hello.

Mr. Smooth walks around the corner. His tan has faded, his face is haggard, his physique less chiseled. He’s wearing a tired looking overcoat over a suit. His tie is undone and his shoes are dirty. He looks like an unkempt downsized Wall Street trader. He sees me and says hello. I return the greeting. He’s still smiling.

I watch him travel down the street. He’s one of the hollow men now. I believe in redemption and wonder if it’s possible for Smooth. Probably not. I wonder what it must be like to be him. I feel stirrings of pity but quickly extinguish them. If Smooth was a simple felon or even a murderer maybe I could muster up some compassion. I can’t. Sexual crimes cut to the bone. God may be merciful but I’m not him. I thank the heavens for the millionth time that I don’t have His job.

Smooth disappears from view. The wind blows cold. I shiver. There’s a touch of evil in the air.

I head back inside where it’s warm.


Comments

Touch of Evil — 41 Comments

  1. Pingback: Waiter Rant » Blog Archive » Flat Vacant Stare

  2. Gee, I wonder why he was sent to prison at all, seeing as he’s gonna be punished by your society for the rest of his life. Shame on you.

  3. The guy is still stalking women. He wasn’t punsihed enough. He’s lucky to jush be shunned by society, he deserves much more.

    Or perhaps you’d like us to give him a high five for such behavior like they do in some parts of the world?

  4. Because I can see that the Waiter tends to write stuff for draumatic effect I am torn. I actually work with sex offenders to re-habilitate them. I do know that there are some that just don’t care and will be offenders for the rest of their lives, but the majority of them (70% for adults and 85-95% for teens) don’t re-offend after treatment. They are still people and still need a chance to make a living. But I have worked with those that I think should be dropped on an island somewhere to live the rest of their lives where the only people they can hurt is people like themselves.

  5. While it may be true that many sex offenders can be released without worry of re-offending, many of them view the world as something that owes them a living. The rest of us are simply there to provide them with the things they need and amuse them at will.

    I’ve worked, and managed, retail and food service, and I’ve met the people that you just don’t hire, the ones don’t carry their smiles to their eyes, who look at you like you’re the next meal ticket. Hiring them is writing your own nightmare.

  6. I would like to echo Pittsburgh Remodeling Kitchen and say “Useful site! Thank you!”

    I used to manage a bookstore, did a lot of hiring. Couple weeks after 9-11, this guy comes in to fill out an application. He’s wearing thrift store camo and an angry face that scared the shit our of me. He was sweating and super curt.

    He fills out the application and all his references are from Saudi Arabian engineering schools. He’s very well educated but . . . angry.

    We sit down to a table in the cafe and people are openly staring at the guy which, normally, I’d be pissed about. In fact, I’d usually move the interview because no one can give a halfway decent interview–even for retail–surrounded by gaping jagoffs. But he starts talking.

    He starts telling me he just arrived from the middle east after his previous employer abruptly transferred him to a stateside job that didn’t exist. He’s literally wiping sweat off his forehead (this is in Chicago in Spring so believe, it’s not hot, just weird) and casting glances over his shoulders and sometimes grabbing his face in his hand like he’s REALLY really exhausted.

    I got him some water and I’m listening but he’s just ragging on American management and how he can’t get a decent job in America because he’s an Arab and AMERICA and AMERICA and ARAB ARAB!

    One of the other middle managers pokes his head over the magazine rack and gives me the universal raised eyebrow semiphore meaning “Dude, gimme a sign and I’ll fake-page your ass out of this” but I give him the universal grab your earlobe signal for “No fucking way, this is too TOO weird to stop” and press on.

    I tell the guy that we aren’t hiring–because we aren’t hiring–and he leans back in his chair, crosses his arms, pegs me with a perfectly still rock-hard gaze replete with the universal gas-face glyph for: “You pathetic American bastard,of course you aren’t going to hire me–you think I’m a terrorist!”

    Of course I didn’t think he was a terrorist, I thought maybe he was an improv comedian or an undercover journalist or maybe just Ali G or some shit. I actually looked over his shoulder through our plate windows during one of his rants and scanned the parking lot for a nondescript white production van.

    I still have no idea what was going on. It was like a comedy sketch. He could NOT have been for real.

    I’m looking at this guy

  7. You don’t know the situation at all. For one, he could have been framed for the rape. Girls often lie about being raped and have been caught before. Second of all, even if he were guilty, you don’t know he hasn’t changed. He doesn’t deserve to be shunned for the rest of his life because of something he did fourteen years go. IF he’s guilty, then he paid his time, but no one in your neighborhood will even accept him or talk to him. That’s disgusting and pathetic. The people where I live would give him another chance; and again, you don’t even know for sure that he’s guilty! I hope never to go to your town.

  8. @wow

    1) Riiiight… He didn’t do the crime and standing outside talking to girls is just because he is lonely. Never mind he KNOWS he is on parole.

    2) He IS guilty! He hasn’t changed! Read before you write!

    He has done the time and it has taught him NOTHING. YOU talk to him if you want, but you better get off your high horse, stop judging people and accept that others probably won’t want to. Nothing wrong with that.

    You come off as taking the high road, telling people not to judge, when it is you judging.

    Whatever YOUR story is, this is not the same. Stop being a hypocrite. Actually, never mind. People like you never change. (=Feels bad to be labeled huh?)

  9. Hey “wow”, it’s actually you that doesn’t know the situation, considering YOU WEREN’T THERE.

    For one thing, no, girls do not often lie about rape. Some girls do, but the majority of girls do not. In fact, girls that are raped often get no justice, as it’s extremely difficult to convict someone for rape without physical evidence (DNA from semen, usually). So if he was convicted and sent to jail for it, most likely he is, in fact, a rapist. Even if he isn’t, he’s still a creepy stalker.

    For another, he got out of jail and tried to do it again. While on parole at that. Parole IS a second chance and he blew it, once again.

    You obviously have no idea the trauma people suffer when raped. You’re ragging on about how he’s being treated, yet you seem to forget about his victim. Saying “If he is guilty, he served his time” is insensitive. Fourteen years is nothing–his victim has to live with what happened to her for the rest of her life, and she was innocent. No one ever deserves that. He did wrong, so he’s being punished, and you’ll just have to deal with that.

  10. you all are a disgrace.You are judging and shunning a man who does not deserve it.Women do lie about being raped about half the time.Think of it this way.You believe you have been wronged by another person, and have a way to get revenge on that person.You are hysterical and can’t think clearly.Would you choose the smart decision of telling the truth?Or would you take revenge and say the man raped you?We all know women would chose the latter option.Your entire town is a disgusting cesspit waiter.Everyone there, including you, should be judged for what you have done, and what lies have been spread about you.Your entire town has made a concentrated effort to destroy a persons life because of what may or may not be true.you should all be ashamed.There is no evidence the man has done anything wrong, and you viciously attack him repeatedly.I hope you all can be proud of yourselves

  11. Christopher Garlington, thank you so much for that fantastic addition to this story; I thoroughly enjoyed it! Shame the whole story didn’t fit though, I would’ve loved to see how it ended..

  12. @ All the asshats defending the ex-con who walked into the Cafe-

    I am a fucking attorney and I and anyone else in my field who is worth anything can tell you two things:

    A. If someone convicted of a crime, THERE IS A 99% CHANCE THAT HE/SHE IS GUILTY AS HELL!

    B. Even if you were not convicted, IF A TRIAL ACTUALLY MAKES IT TO A COURT WITH A JURY, IN THE MAJORITY OF CASES THE PLAINTIFF IS GUILTY AS HELL REGARDLESS.

    I am very proud of the Machiavellian waiter and his friends for protecting the women and residents of his neighborhood. I remember while living in NY that there are still places you can go where the citizens protect each other. Pull your goddamn heads out of your liberal assholes and discover the idiocy of your statements. You are defending scum, as usual, not some harmless drug user who fell on hard times or a pickpocket or something. Our justice system is bankrupt and dying. All good men must stand up and take responsibility for their neighborhoods and family.

  13. Amen, Commoner! I was reading through the nearly 50% (ASTOUNDING!) of replies in this thread defending Mr. Smooth and I could not believe the naivete of people these days. So a known convicted rapist was being monitored by the police (thank goodness) who tagged him for violating parole, and people want to DEFEND him?? That’s…disgusting! When you f*** up that badly and prove 14 years later that you really haven’t changed your tune, you don’t DESERVE a second chance.

    The real problem is that these people get even MORE hardened, cruel and antisocial in prison, and then after 5, 15 or 20 years, they’re LET GO to wander the streets again. As if, defying all logic and reason, they were going to do it better this time. There is no way this can end well. This idea of putting “ex”-criminals out on the street after years of prison life is absolutely insane. Rehabilitation and reintegration is a nice (read: naive) idea, but not, in my opinion, a possibility. Not for that type, anyway.

    As a woman, knowing there are people like “fahrenheit” and “wow” and “anonymous” out there who would defend my rapist and who would accuse ME of falsely crying “rape” (is this the Middle East or America???), I will have to make it my solemn duty to try to kill any would-be attacker in self defense (of course I would then be subjected to the courts myself because somehow, that’s wrong). I will have to exact street justice myself since it’s obvious I can’t expect true justice to be served either in the courts or from society, because the sympathies of limpid bleeding hearts will be aroused for that attacker, even if he’d succeeded in his attempt.

    Thank heaven for conscientious, fair, and TRULY compassionate people like Waiter, because he cares about the REAL victims – people subjected to people like Mr. Smooth. Waiter really knows how to read people. I’d trust his discernment over an impartial jury’s any day.

  14. Hey Waiter, I want to thank you, and the people in your town, for working together to ensure safety of the place. You probably wouldn’t remember but like said in a comment I made long ago, you always make me believe in humanity more. Really appreciate that. (=

  15. If your neighborhood coffee shop was robbed, the barista shot, and the offenders captured, convicted, and sentanced, no one in their RIGHT MIND would say “oh, well, that barista really was just asking for it” and no one would say “well, 50 percent of all baristas robbed on the job are lying about it.”

    Rape is the only crime for which the victim is consistently blamed.

  16. Yes. Yes women lie. I’ve seen it three times, already.

    When I was 10, a woman came to visit our roommate (mom was renting the upstairs to him.) I was there the whole time, I saw her leave with a big kiss. The next week, he was arrested for raping her that night. I was not allowed to testify because his lawyer sucked and I was underage. As far as I know, that man is still in jail.

    When I was 17, a friend of mine was charged with rape. Everyone involved knew it was a lie to make her ex-boyfriend happy, and she eventually dropped the charges; but he spent two weeks in the clink. He got off lucky.

    When I was 22, it was my turn to own a house and rent a room. I rented it to a 17 year old kid we called ‘Red.’ He was big, clumsy, ugly, and socially inept; but at that party, there was a girl that was willing to help him lose his virginity. They went to his room, came back out and joined the group; went back AGAIN, came back, and she sat in his lap until it was time for her to go home. Later, she started rumors that she was raped, that she was too drunk to have been consenting, etc. He was never arrested, but he fell into such a depression that he tried to kill himself with a bottle of pills.

    Those of you that judge EEEEEEVVVVIIIILLLL sex crimes harshly… I hate you. I really do. You have no idea how damaged that a LOT of lives of GOOD people have become because of our cultural taboos against sex. Jail is far, far more damaging and destructive than most of the crimes that get people sent there. And that doesn’t count the LARGE amount of people that are NOT guilty. Mr. Lawyer? You can bite my ass, you are totally wrong. I’ve seen it firsthand.

  17. “Witness,” you didn’t witness any of these crimes, so you don’t know what happened. Even if someone is drunk and sitting in your lap, that does NOT give you the right to rape that person. Even if someone is drunk and naked and making out with you in your bed, that does NOT give you the right to rape that person. There is never, ever, ever an excuse for rape.

    People rarely lie about rape–in fact, most rapes go unreported, because the victims fear exactly the type of disgusting abuse and disbelief that have been demonstrated in these comments.

    No one deserves to be raped. Ever.

  18. Okay, Witness, let’s suppose all of your stories are true. Let’s suppose that the three women you’ve mentioned really did lie and say that they were raped when they weren’t. That’s three women.

    Now, let’s consider all of the women in your life who really have been raped. Assuming you live in America, statistics say that number is one in six. A sixth of the women you pass on the street, see in the mall, sit next to in a movie theater, have been raped. A sixth of the women you’re close to and love have probably been raped. A sixth of the women whose names you know have been raped.

    That’s hundreds of women you know who have been raped. How many women do you know who have lied about it? Three.

  19. I’m confused by all the folks who say that Mr Smooth’s defenders are bleeding-heart liberals. Last I checked liberals included people who think that women should be treated like human beings, not people who think that raping women isn’t the problem but lying about being raped is. They’re not saying criminals can be changed and should be treated with mercy, they’re saying he wasn’t a criminal in the first place. That’s pretty standard patriarchal bullshit and thus lies firmly in the conservative camp.

  20. Why are people throwing random statistics out there on what they believe or do not believe rape victims/perpetrators do? Show some evidence (statistics that can be backed and tracked anyone?) and be credible, otherwise your opinion won’t be taken seriously.

  21. fahrenheit: “Would you choose the smart decision of telling the truth?Or would you take revenge and say the man raped you?We all know women would chose the latter option.”

    Wow, that’s one of the most sexist statements I’ve ever read. I know plenty of women who are in the end very rational even about relationships and sex.

    Sure some drama-whore women lie about rape sometimes. And that’s wrong and fucked up of them to do.

    But a guy who just got out of jail for rape/pornography related charges and is immediately chatting up another woman? That’s a pretty obvious guilty right there.

  22. Fuck you, witness. I’ll judge sex offenders as I damn well fucking please.

    Murder? I can abide by. If it was deserved. Rape? No. Absolutely fucking never, and if you’d like to disagree, you can piss on an electric fence.

  23. Waiter,

    First, have the book, love it and the site.

    2nd, you seem to have a lot of oddly named people that relate to services rendered leaving comments…..:-)

  24. Was it your “merciful god” who gave you this incredible ability to discern an “evil” person at first glance?

    I thought I liked this blog. Now I can clearly see you are just another clueless minion of the great lie – running on superstition and hysteria.

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  26. I know you posted this story years ago, but I just found your blog. It’s a breath of fresh air to know waitstaff of all levels of formality in the restaurant business have the same thoughts I do about things. (being a waitress myself.)

    I’ve had several encounters with customers that give me the heebie jeebies. We had a guy that lived on disability (that could get a job, I assure you) that would take pictures of the waitresses bums (with his mobile phone) when they’d bend over near him, ask the ages of all the new girls, and single me out every single time, no joke, and ask me personal questions. He even had the cutsey dog that he personalized his license plate on his brand spanking new car for.

    Then there was cigarette guy. When he came around regularly he would stand on the corner near the front door of the store and chain smoke. I’d have one of the cooks walk me out to my car when I was leaving. He never did anything wrong, there was just something about him that felt off to me.

    Theres an younger man that likes to tell me the fact I’m going to school to be a nurse is intriguing to him, and that he’s always had a thing for nurses. He tries to get me to meet him after work all the time.

    There’ve been male coworkers that have tried to assault the female staff- one of them trained me when I first started. I never took him up on his dinner date offers and only found out after he left for boot camp that he’d tried twice (in the same night) to assault one of the girls I hung out regularly, after a night of heavy partying.

    People take sexual assault lightly. I say we let them have a taste of it and see how they feel. I had an ex pressure me into intimacy all the time, its not something that just goes away and feel all better after a while. Time doesn’t heal THAT wound.

    Bravo on your intuition- the restaurant business sharpens the senses better than anything else (except, maybe, working in a psyche ward. yikes.)

  27. I know this was posted a while ago. But here’s another story.

    In college, my two best friends B and C both hung out with a certain guy called Chris. I never liked him, he seemed overall nice, had never done anything or said anything, but I didn’t like him at all. No-one understood it at all. I just didn’t…

    Then one day B phones me to tell me C is a nervous wreck because of something that has happened. Turns out, Chris and C were walking and talking when all of a sudden, he grabs her, forces her into a darkened spot, down to the ground and rapes her. This happened at night and with someone she considered a friend and trusted to walk her home. We’ve since had nights out where she got drunk and ended up remembering and having a panic attack, being taken to A+E and ending up at square one.

    She’s scared of men, cant go back to college because he is there and because she has a restraining order cant return until he decides to go.

    The only male she trusts happens to be my ex, who is also my friend and the friend of B. He has since repeatedly sworn revenge and recently Chris moved. She is free to return to college now but her life is a shambles.
    Not only does she not trust men enough to date, her education has been delayed by several years, she has panic attacks, she cant walk home alone because she is scared of what will happen to her. Even in broad daylight.

    If any of you people who try to defend Mr Smooth have ever seen an actual rape victim, constantly afraid, unable to breathe simply at the memory of the attack and the anger and frustration it causes her friends to see this scum walk freely amongst girls who have no idea of his past and with no retribution.

    Have you any idea how devastating it is? How defenceless and powerless this poor naive girl feels every day of her life and regrets the day she ever trusted a man who turned out to be a fucking lowlife (there honestly isn’t a strong enough word that exists to describe him so lowlife will do until one is invented)

    He displays no remorse, sneers openly at her, belittles her and runs like a coward from justice.

    It is disgusting that people like him, or those that defend him (he has none). It has been made public in our town what he is and those who are decent try to spread word about him before some other girls life is ruined. The waiter is doing what any honest, law-abiding citizen would do by helping to defend women who are seemingly clueless about what WILL happen.

    Mr Smooth and defenders of him. You disgust me.

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