Three Hookers on Highway 60 – a story by Ron Persaud

THREE HOOKERS ON HIGHWAY 60 –

By Ron Persaud – rpersaud7@tampabay.rr.com

For my birthday last year, my cousin Marcia, treated me and Rita to a Benise concert at Ruth Eckerd Hall. Marcia lives in Brandon and is a bit unfamiliar with the area so we agreed to keep in touch by cell phone to make sure that we all got there in good time.

I am not embarrassed or ashamed of my age but I made a special effort to dress and look my best for the occasion because both Rita and Marcia are very pretty and they look about half their true age. I wore a snazzy silk shirt and my best blazer. Rita chose to wear a pantsuit with an informal top instead of a jacket. A row of sequins around the neckline gave the ensemble a rather festive appearance.  

We arrived at Ruth Eckerd in good time, found a convenient parking spot in Aisle ‘A’ and as we walked toward the Hall, Rita started a call to Marcia. In a very short time we discovered that the cell phone was completely discharged. “Not good!”, I thought as I returned the useless instrument to the glove-box in Rita’s car. I visualized us wandering around in circles trying to spot Marcia or hoping that she would sight us; but as we approached the main entrance there she was: Resplendent in a white outfit that somehow reminded me of an old magazine photo of Elvis Presley on stage.

We had very good seats and I thoroughly enjoyed the show – magnificently staged with scintillating lighting effects and marvelous sounds. Benise was at his versatile best and his supporting cast performed delightfully. Sitting there, between Rita and Marcia the line about ‘a thorn between two roses’ crossed my mind.

After the two-hour show we decided to go somewhere to eat. I remembered a “Ruby Tuesday” among a group of restaurants on ‘Gulf to Bay’ between Bayside Bridge and US19; and we agreed to meet there. Since Rita and I had been there previously, we agreed that she would ride with Marcia and I would meet them with the car.

As I approached the meeting area, I realized that things had changed since our last visit; there was no “Ruby Tuesday”.  I parked nearby and considered my situation. I badly needed to get in touch with the girls but I did not have a functioning phone and I could not recall Marcia’s cell phone number even if I did have one. I retraced my steps to the sidewalk and stood in the light of a street lamp hoping that the girls would spot me easily. It did strike me as funny that I should be standing thus across from a “Hooters” restaurant and bathed in the glow of its neon lights. After a while I walked towards US19, all the time looking for Marcia’s “Infinity” SUV. When I reached the “Village Inn” across the street, I scanned their parking lot but no SUV.

And then a thought struck me! Rita has a habit of writing things on any old piece of paper and keeping them all in an unsorted mass; sometimes bundled by a rubber band.

Might she have Marcia’s phone number in her car? I returned to the car and found the mass of notes tightly pressed into a slot that “Toyota” designers had thoughtfully placed on the transmission console of the “Corolla”. I quickly found Marcia’s phone number and went in search of a public telephone.  No luck with that; but here was a bar, open for business – which must be thriving.

The inside lights seemed to be forcibly flashing their way through the smoky interior and heavily tinted glass exterior, while the muffled sounds of a dance band seemed to pulsate on the sidewalk under my feet. I would go in there and ask to use their phone. But at the door with its “OPEN” sign flashing rhythmically I paused. I remembered admonishing those who would listen, “Bad things happen to people in bars after midnight. At that hour all good citizens should be at home – safe!” The headline of a newspaper flashed urgently in my mind; “Man shot in Clearwater Night Club”. Even worse would be the smirks and sarcasm of a group of young people who call me ‘uncle’. Anil, Ernie, Ramona, Teeka and… No! They would not allow me to live it down. As I turned away, I saw a young lady talking on (Yesss!!!) a cell phone. I approached her as openly as I could and heard her say into the phone, “Hang on a sec’; there’s a guy coming up to me”.  She then gave me her full and focused attention. I stopped and clearly, slowly, explained my plight and asked if she could call the girls for me.  “You know where I am. I will call you back in two minutes”, she said loudly and clearly before she hung up. She then offered to dial Marcia’s number and after she made contact she relayed my position and plight. Apparently Marcia had returned to Eckerd Hall to see if I was stuck there and they were at the “Perkins” restaurant right next door. I thanked the young lady profusely, got into the car and sped to the restaurant next door to Eckerd …only to find out that it was an “Applebee’s”. The cleaning guy directed me to the “Perkins” at US19 and Gulf to Bay. Of course! I raced back to “Perkins” and there they were – Rita and Marcia – hungry and frustrated over the turn of events. As we were waiting to be seated, Marcia laughingly remarked that they must have looked like two hookers on the sidewalk.

“Do you know we drove all the way up to Keene Road looking for “Ruby Tuesday”? You would confuse a nation!” commented Rita, as we were comfortably seated and eating at Perkins.

“What took you so long to get here, Ronald? You’re sure you were not inside “Hooters”? The girl on the phone sounded really, really friendly.” Marcia observed.

“Well she told me that you went back to Eckerd Hall and that you were at the “Perkins” next door. I went all the way back there only to find not a “Perkins”, but an “Applebee’s” next door. There are too many restaurants around here.” I tried to sound contrite; even blameless.

“It’s OK!” they chorused, “Happy Birthday! Cheers!”

As we left the building, two Sheriff’s  Deputies appeared out of nowhere, formally identified themselves and asked for our ID’s. None of us had even a drop of alcohol so we were feeling quite smug about how this would turn out. While the one Deputy went to the Cruiser, the other engaged us in small talk. We mentioned the Benise concert and our separation after. I even showed him the ticket stubs which Marcia had told me to keep as a memento of the occasion. The two Deputies held a quiet conference and returned our ID’s with the explanation:

They had received no less than six reports within the last half-hour about three hookers on Highway 60 -two females near “Perkins”; and one male – near “Hooters”. The descriptions matched us.

And yes, I will keep those ticket stubs as a memento of a memorable Birthday occasion

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Comments

  • Pat-C  On May 6, 2012 at 4:40 am

    I just loved 3 Hookers on Highway 60. After reading it, I sat back to turn over the page to continue this saga and lo and behold that was the end. It was good though. More like this and you have a large following.

  • Ron. Persaud  On July 15, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Thanks Pat-C!
    Did you read ‘Graduation’ & ‘Odd Odyssey’?
    “You are an OLD GUYANESE if”
    “How do People know you?”
    I looked to see if you had written something yourself; but found nothing.
    Ron.

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