A few years ago, I was travelling back home after spending a weekend in London, visiting some friends. The last leg of my journey involved me taking a connecting train from Birmingham New Street. A huge station, always bustling with commuters, this particular day was no different, even for a Sunday. My previous train from Euston had been crammed full of people, so I was thankful that when I boarded my train at Birmingham, it was relatively quiet. The seats were all unreserved so I chose the first pair of seats I came to, right near the exits. I popped my headphones on and stretched out, ready to just zone out for the 40 minute journey home.
About 5 minutes before we were due to depart, a large man carrying a huge duffle-bag walked into my carriage and sat in the seat next to mine, placing the bag across his knees. My initial thought was to be a little disgruntled. There were plenty of empty seats in the carriage, so why had he chosen the one seat which was next to somebody else? Also, why hadn’t be put his bag on the luggage rack? They were empty, and it would have made it easier for both of us as now, I was all squashed over next to the window, with his arms resting on top of his bag, elbows facing outwards.
Maybe he was only travelling for a stop or two. Maybe I was just overly grumpy and unreasonable from a day of hungover travelling. I decide to just continue my plan to listen to podcasts and zone out – albeit, in a more squished up manner than I had originally intended.
The train sets off, I am trying to ignore being jostled up against him as the train makes its natural jolts and movements. I don’t like strange people being in my personal space, but this is public transport so it happens and you just have to cope with it.
Seriously though, of all the places this enormous guy could have chosen to sit, why did he did next to me? What was in his bag that deemed it impossible for him to put it on an empty luggage rack? Was it my imagination or was his left elbow making uncomfortably regular contact with the side of my my right boob? No. don’t be silly. It was just due to the positioning of his arms, and the movement of the train. Ignore it.
I tried to anyway. But once I had this realisation, every single brush against that area of my body was amplified. At this stage, I was still convinced that I was imagining things, but as the train headed under a tunnel, the pitch black turned the window into a mirror, of sorts. I glanced at the reflection, and what I saw immediately made me feel sick and scared and helpless. The man was smiling, and moving his elbow in small but visible circular motions against my boob.
Immediately, I coughed, and shifted my weight so that I was further away from him, crossing my right leg over my left and folding my arms in-front of me to create a futile little barrier against him. This seemed to put him off his task, and he moved his hands underneath his bag instead.
A few minutes pass, a few more stops to small, local stations are made. I start to relax a little, convincing myself that it was all just a misunderstanding. However, part of me is still hyper aware of what he is doing, and so when his left hand starts to touch and tickle my right leg, I’m just filled with a kind of clammy, disgusted horror that this is happening.
I always imagined how I would cope if something like this happened to me. In my head, I would grab the guy’s hand and say something sassy and devastating and the guy would crumble and run off in shame, and everyone in the surrounding area would cheer and high-five me for being so assertive and ballsy. Yeah, this wasn’t happening now. As far as I could tell, we were alone in the carriage. I am a tiny girl, and I am crushed up against a train window while a physically intimidating guy is touching me up and having a lovely old time of it. What if he doesn’t let me off at my stop? What if he follows me? Please let somebody walk by and see what is happening and let them help me.
Eventually, I didn’t have to worry about either of those scenarios. His stop came, he removed his hand, lifted up his bag, stood up and smiled at me.
‘Thank you.’ Is all that he said before he exited the carriage.
I felt sickened and sad and angry and pathetic. This is the day when I realised I’m not as assertive or strong as I thought I was.
A couple years ago before I joined the military, I was a performer at a well known theme park/animal sanctuary/water park in the US. After a long hot day of dancing, I went back to my apartment to get cleaned up for a date with a guy I was interested in at the time. He came to pick me up and we went to the mall to go have dinner and a movie.
After the date, we got in his car and began to leave the parking lot. We pulled up to a stop light that just turned red and was notorious for taking an eternity to shift colors. So we sit and wait and he asks me about my day at work (he also worked at the theme park), and I did the same to him. While we were talking I saw some movement to my right outside the car and glanced in the direction and saw a tall lanky woman with wire like grey hair jumbled in a huge knot of nastiness. It was dark so I couldn’t see her face and just thought it was a homeless woman and felt sad for her.
I returned my attention to my date and started to say something when all of a sudden I heard my side’s door click open and the woman from outside was trying to get in. For being all skin and bones, she was quite strong and I struggled to pull the door in. She had one hand on the door and in her other hand was a medium sized kitchen knife whipping at me. She managed to cut my face, very minor, but nonetheless terrifying. As I struggled I looked at her face; It was the scariest part. She was obviously very malnourished, possibly struggling with drugs. Her face looked more like a pure bone skull than a flesh covered one. Her skin was wrinkly, making her appear elderly, but no way she could be with her strength. Her eyes were bloodshot to the point where her pupils blended with the rest of her eyes. But the weirdest part was the color of her skin. It was grey. It resembled the color of ash, but not in the dry skin kind of way. Her expression was a mixture of desperation, rage, and hunger. It was obvious she was seeing red, and my life could be in jeopardy.
Realizing this, my brain released even more adrenaline and I managed to finally pull the door shut. My date was frozen with fear and I had to scream at him to lock the doors and hit the gas, regardless of the stop light still being red (he had an older car, no automatic locks). So he hits the gas, and I kid you not, the crazy bitch held on to the door handle and was dragged along side us for maybe 30 or so feet. I told my date to make a left turn up ahead sharply to swing her off, and he did, and she went flying off. I looked in the mirror and saw her barrel roll to a stop. My date stopped the car for a moment, trying to compose himself. We both looked back and somehow she managed to get up within a few seconds and she just stood there staring at us. Finally, she slumped her shoulders in defeat, turned around, and slowly paced away from us, seemingly unharmed.
My date drove forward and we were both silent the entire way home. We ended up staying with each other because we were scared. It was completely terrifying, and really the first time I ever felt that scared. But I couldn’t help but feel bad because she was obviously desperate for some kind of nourishment or resource.
To add to the creepiness of the incident, the mall we went to had an urban myth that supposedly there are zombie like “people” that stalk the property. I doubt it was a zombie, but probably was a homeless woman in need of drugs, food, or money. Either way, her face and bloodshot eyes haunt me to this day.
My roommate and I were out on the town together. Something that happens about every 6 months or so. We were walking back to his car, debating on whether or not driving was a good idea. When suddenly, this tall “bro” looking guy kind of steps in between us. He asks, “Can I walk with you guys?” We’re like “Sure man, we were just thinkin we need to call a cab.” In complete odd stroke of coincidence, a cab then comes around the corner, and stops for us. Which was weird, because no one had called for one. The cab picks up another couple and we’re off to the races. The couple gets dropped off first, then our house is the next closest stop. Eric (the bro) gets out of the cab at our stop with us. He tells the driver that his house is just a couple blocks away and that he’ll walk. We pay the driver and I wander inside.
I take a leak, get out of my bathroom, and Eric is sitting in the giant bean bag in our living room about to pass out. I look at my roommate like “WTF”. He says that he just asked if he could have a glass of water, and when he turned around, Eric had made himself at home. Now keep in mind, although I’m calling him Eric now, I didn’t even know this dude’s name. I wrote it off and figured “Well, it’s just another party dude that partied a little too hard. We’ll just let him sleep then kick him out in the morning.” So we let him pass out.
I wake up early the next day, and am moving about the house getting ready for work. Eric wakes up like 2 hours later. Now normally, I’d expect someone in this situation to be like “OMG where am I? I was sooooo drunk last night. Thanks man, see ya later” But no. Not this fucking guy. Not Eric.
Eric gets up, uses my bathroom, grabs himself a glass of water and starts watching Netflix. I want to say something, but I have a long day ahead of me already taking up space in my mind. The audacity of this guy was something else. Not since I was like 8 have I seen someone make themselves at home like that in a strangers house.
My roommate then asks if I can give him a ride to his car. I say sure, and offer to take Eric home on the way. He says that he wants to go with my roommate. WAT…..ok “sure man.” My roommate says.
As I’m working that day, I get texts from my roommate that they ended up hanging out all day at a Country Club pool and drinking cocktails. My roommate doesn’t know a lot of people in this town so I figure it’s good for him to hang with someone, even if he is kind of a douche.
Well 5:45PM or so, I hear my roommate come home. And Eric’s still with him. They are going to a resort in a small town over an hour away and through the mountains. At this point I’m kind of wondering WTF my roommate is doing spending all day with some weird dude he just met but whatever. They go to the resort that night.
As the evening progresses, my roommate is sending me more and more text messages. He’s becoming more and more annoyed with his new buddy as the night goes on. He eventually ends up ditching him at like 3 in the morning and driving home. I was well asleep several hours before that.
I wake up the next day, and my roommate was telling me how much of an asshole this guy had turned into as the night went on. As he’s telling me this story, I hear the doorbell ring. It’s Eric.
“Whasup, brah?” he says to me somewhat giddy as he stands there with his Big Gulp.
This dude was abandoned 70 miles away and ended up right back on our doorstep 7 hours later. I was getting the “I think we fed a stray cat” feeling.
Thankfully, my roommate was getting ready to drive out of town to go work and I had to leave for work as well. Eric asks for a ride to the bank from my roommate. He says “Sure…” in a not so enthusiastic way and off they went.
About 7 hours later, I’m home alone and I hear my doorbell ring again. I open the door, and Eric just walks in and starts raving. He claims that he “forgot” about his drunken disorderly in public ticket he had gotten recently and he needed to pay the fine by midnight or else he’d have a warrant for his arrest issued. He asked if my roommate was coming back and I told him no. I knew what was going to happen next…. He asks me if he can borrow the money to pay the ticket until tomorrow. I tell him flat out no. I just don’t have it. He starts to kinda argue with me a bit more. I shut him down again and tell him ultimately that I don’t know him and it’s not my problem. He leaves in a huff with my roommates number. I had foolishly given it to him before I knew what the fucking problem was.
He blew up my roommates phone but my roommate never answered due to my warning him not to answer his phone tonight from any strange numbers. The roommate said he got at least 5 calls and a few text messages.
Fast forward even more. It’s midnight. DING DONG GUESS WHO? Fucking Eric. Again. This time, he claims he left his house keys in my roommates car and he just now noticed he didn’t have them. He needed a place to crash and that my roommate said it was ok. My roommate told me that he was full of shit and that he didn’t have any strange keys in his car.
I told him that I thought he was full of shit, but from the looks of him, he looked drunk and like he was going to tip over at any minute. I told him that I know these kinds of games and that he could stay one more night, but I was getting him up at seven AM and he wasn’t welcome back. Once I gave the ok to stay, he took off his shirt and was passed out again in the bean bag within minutes. I drug his ass out of bed around 7:30AM (I slept like complete shit with some strange weirdo in our house AGAIN) and took him to the bank. I told him “good luck” and drove off as he walked into the bank.
Here’s the kicker. My roommate called me this afternoon and said he had Googled this guy’s full name. I didn’t know it until he told me. The first two links that come up are forums where people describe this guy doing the same kind of shit all across the country. He’s apparently been abandoned by his family or some craziness and does this shit all the time.