“Can I help you out with anything?”
It was a normal enough way to start an interaction with a customer in the world of retail, or even in the world of being a human. The response was normal enough, too.
“I just need a kickstand for this bike, but this make doesn’t fit the frame because of disk brakes, and the other doesn’t fit because the frame is too wide where it’s supposed to go!”
The entire scenario is incredibly mundane, and it just goes to show that you can never know what to expect. After a few more questions to assess the situation, things started to go off-track.
“The other day I was riding the bike and I looked back and the wheel was shakin’ like crazy, like it wanted to fly off the frame!”
“Well that’s not good! What caused it?” I asked, figuring it was a pothole or something.
“Well I knew somethin’ was up, and I started looking around to see who was doing it.”
I raised an eyebrow.
“…and then I saw the guy! You know who it was?”
I smirked, thinking he was joking. “No, who was it?”
“It was one of those guys in the UFOs!”
I should have known to stop him there, because what followed was a series of talking points that I couldn’t seem to disentangle myself from. To save you the utter nightmarish ramble that was the strangest half-hour of my life, I’ll just list some things he said that stuck out in my mind.
“…since I’m an angel, I can do all that transfiguration, even though I’m not a Superior…”
“…Because, with the planet I’m from and the race I am, we just have long penises by nature.”
“…you know, the world is broken up into 40 or 50 factions of ETs…”
“…you’ve seen those guys kneeling on the ground, praying, and what they’re really doing is dreaming, and the earth is what they’re dreaming, which is where we are!”
“You know those guys in India, the ones who live on the humidity in the air and the nutrients in the dust, I think they’re called dust-eaters…”
“I’m taking a risk even telling you all this, but when I come into a place and I know what I want if I’m going to talk I want it to be about MY stuff!”
Now I was in trouble. He was taking a risk telling me this. If I broke and ran, he’d assume I was telling on him and he’d kill me.
This went on for something like a half hour, before I heard a voice I usually don’t care for over the headset: “Nick, do you need to be rescued?”
Without hesitation I pressed the mic and said as cheerfully as I could, “Yep!” In what seemed like an eternity, my manager showed up by my side and I held up a finger to rant-man, which he completely ignored. “Do you need me for something?” I asked.
“I do, could you come with me?” she asked in her managerial tone. I politely excused myself and followed her to the stock room, but the man didn’t stop.
“Ohhhhh, you’re going to get punished now! Remember what I told you!” he called as I refrained from sprinting away.
I wish I could forget.