The stuff of my nightmares…

Before I started my journey into the land of print, I had a brief stint at a place called Rent-A-Center. I got shuttled from one location to another but ended up at one in Joliet.  Joliet is a small city here in Illinois, mixed everything.  Rich areas, poor areas, nice neighborhoods, bad ones and a lot of everything in between.

For those that don’t know how a Rent-A-Center works, they pretty much rip off people who need to rent things because they can’t save enough cash to buy them outright and have shitty credit so they can’t use a credit card.  Things like TVs cost them $40+ a month.  Our job there was a little of everything.  We manned the store and rented things out to various people, we delivered the same items, we did collection calls when the people inevitably were late and repossessed the merchandise when it became clear that they weren’t going to pay. There were two managers, one in charge of out-going (renting) and the other in charge of collections (in-coming).  They were always at odds with each other because their bonuses depended on different goals.  If the one could get 10 rentals out the door, he didn’t care if they sucked, he got his money and the other guy got stuck with bad accounts.  If the other recovered 8 past due items he got his money and the other guy loses rentals.  It made for an interesting dynamic.

So when I first got to this location, they told me of an account that both managers just wanted picked up.  The guy apparently had a couch and for 6 months hasn’t paid and nobody can get to him to recover the couch.  So standing orders were that if we were ever out on a delivery/pick-up and were anywhere near that guy’s place that we were to make an attempt to get the couch.  Over the next few weeks I had made several stops there while out with no success.  It was an apartment building with security doors, so you couldn’t just get in, you had to be buzzed in twice.

Well one day I am out with our driver and we stop by there as usual.  Occasionally I have just started mashing the buttons to see if I can get anyone to let us in and that is just what I did today. Once in a while someone will let us in the first door  but not the second one.  They come on the little intercom and ask who it is and we can’t seem to make anything up to get by them.  However THIS time someone just buzzed the second door before we even got there.  Cool!  We can at least go knock on his actual door and leave a message that we were there.  So, in we go! We walk down the hallway to find his door at the far end.  We get to the door and just as I raise my hand to knock, the door opens up and out falls a guy with his pants around his ankles. I look down at him, then at my driver, then back at him, not quite believing what I am seeing.  There is this guy in his underwear, no shirt or shoes and pants around his knees frantically trying to put them on while looking at us with a horrified look on his face.

“Are you John Jones?” I ask?  He starts to get up, all the while trying to pull his pants up.  He then replies in a shaky voice “No, that ain’t me, but his wife is inside.”  Oh boy, what the hell did we just step into?  The driver and myself just look at each other when the door swings open. There standing before me is what had to be the UGLIEST woman I have ever seen (not trying to be mean, but seriously!), naked except for an opened dress shirt that concealed nothing.  The image is forever burned into my brain and no amount of alcohol has made it go away.

After a few seconds of shock I look away and get about my job of getting that couch back.  “I’m from Rent-A-Center and we’re looking for Mr. Jones and here to take back the couch he hasn’t paid on.”  “What!!!!” she screamed at me.  She then grabs me by the shirt and drags me into the apartment.  I don’t know WHAT the hell is going on now.  Am I about to be killed?  Raped?  Shown more naked ugly people?  She stops by the kitchen counter and grabs the phone. Meanwhile the formerly mostly naked guy now has his pants on and it sitting on the couch, trying to get his shoes on and my driver is trying not to laugh at my obvious distress and to not look at this woman.  “John!  There is someone here who wants to talk to you!” and she shoves the phone at me, still taking no notice of her almost complete nakedness.  I gingerly take the receiver, not knowing where her hands have been, and talk to our elusive target. “Hi John.  We’re from Rent-A-Center here to pick up the couch you haven’t paid on for the last 6 months”. This elicited more yells from the wife about how he said he took care of that and so on.  On the phone, he begged me not to take the couch and that he would be in that night to pay all the back rent. My driver lets out a ‘Maybe we can get the money from the naked guy on the couch”, thankfully not loud enough for him to hear, but I heard it.  I can’t leave it (although we was told that if we ever got him and he had CASH for the past due and next 3 months he could keep it), so we take it.  I just kept thinking that I was glad I had gloves with me, not knowing who or what had been done on that couch recently.

The wife took it in stride, continuing to yell at her man on the phone while we removed the couch.  As we were leaving the doorway I saw the guy start taking his clothes off again.  The lady closed the door behind us, but not before we heard her say ” You got an hour to fuck me silly, get that dick over here now…”.  me and the driver stopped off at the bar and had a few beers before heading back to work.  Like I said, no amount of alcohol is ever getting that image out of my head.

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