Lizzie is a working girl.
Correction, Lizzie WAS a working girl. (And if you are unsure of the meaning of the term “Working girl”, take a second and google it. Otherwise, a lot of this makes no sense.)
I was sitting in one of my favorite Starbucks near my house.
It’s one of the larger Starbucks. About a dozen small tables, and about another dozen barstool with a long shelf spots.
But the busiest section is a 15’ long chain of tables. Holds about 20 people and is always full.
I am at the big table and the crowd is perfect.
A few odd personalities to write about, but everyone being quiet and doing their own thing.
And then Lizzie sat down.
“My name is Lizzie.” She looked straight ahead as she spoke smiling. (Typically, when someone says anything beyond “Are you in line?” Or “Are you using that chair?”, there is usually a pitch for money not far behind.)
Lizzie was one a very pretty young lady. Emphasis on the word WAS. Life and it appears to be drugs have aged her fast. There is a tweaker vibe that surrounds her like one of those weighted blankets. Heavy, constricting.
No one said anything.
“I used to do drugs and escort, but I don’t do any of that anymore. I am sober and trying to get my life together.”
And, no one said anything. (Basically the same protocol as a bear coming into camp but without the falling to the ground to play dead. We all just sat there, playing dead and avoiding eye contact.)
She went on to tell all of us everything she is up to in her efforts to stay sober.
It suddenly occurred to me that Lizzie is full of shit and tweaking as we speak.
Finally, she wound down and got to the point.
“Could you gentlemen spare a few dollars to help someone trying to do better?” (When I begin guessing, I am shockingly correct most of the time.)
As far as lines go, its a strong one. I haven’t seen this pitch before. (You could fill an old school set of encyclopedias with the amount of cheap pitch’s for money that are out there.)
I ponied up a couple of dollars, just in case karma is paying attention on a Saturday.
The guy next to me had been scowling the whole time and his scowl only deepened.
Finally, he sighed and reached into his wallet, pulling out a few bills.
One of them that I could see was a twenty dollar bill. (Now I feel bad for giving just a few dollars.)
He held them up for Lizzie to see.
“My van is right outside.” (Now I don’t feel bad for giving just a few dollars.)
“Yeah, ok.” Lizzie smiled and pretty much bolted for the door, followed by her “John”.
Huh, go figure.
The guy who had been sitting next to “John” reached into his jacket and pulled out a buzzing cell phone.
“Hey Lonnie, what’s up?” Even quiet speech carries indoors.
“Naw, just me, Kennie is in his van screwing Lizzie again.” (Switching gears, “John” is now Kennie.)
Lonnie must have asked about Kennie.
“Nope, they always get high after, he’s useless for the rest of the day.”
More conversation I can’t hear.
“I’m leaving here, I’ll meet you there.”
With that, he was up and out the door. Maybe not as quickly as Lizzie abandoned her sobriety and rejoined the working class, but fast enough.
I heard on the news that the economy is booming and people are going back to work.
In more ways than one.