I've always enjoyed the companionship of oddball characters because there are times when spending an hour or so with normal people can be boring.
Take my old friend Gerry for example. You might say that Gerry was uninhibited. One night after visiting a tavern or two he was driving home when hit by a sudden urge. He stopped at the house of perfect strangers, knocked on the door and asked if he might use their bathroom. They weren't too keen on the idea but decided to let him in. After fifteen minutes or so they began to feel a little uneasy so the man went upstairs to see what was going on.
Gerry was taking a bath.
I have never been odd myself, of course, but I have been present when people did some odd things. This happened quite often when I worked for Pinkerton's. Late one afternoon my friend John, who had shared some unusual happenings with me, was handed a routine assignment so I decided to ride along with him. When a woman answered his knocking on the door of a house, John flashed one of the various business cards that private eyes collect to use at proper times. He was slow in doing so and the woman grabbed the card from his hand.
We were sitting on a living room couch while John asked a few pertinent but deceptive questions. Then the husband arrived home. The woman said, "Honey, this is mister. . .uh, I forget your name."
So did John. He mumbled something and then we beat a hasty retreat. When we were back in the car I burst out laughing. John didn't think it was funny. He said, "That was one of my best cards and that dame kept it."
I was ready to head home after a long day when the manager called me into his office and said, "Go out to the airport. You're supposed to be arriving on a ten o'clock flight from Detroit. When it arrives, call the ____ hotel and have their van pick you up. When you get to your room ask the bellhop if he can bring you a bottle of whiskey. Then ask if he can send up a woman."
I said, "Look, I know what to do if he brings me the whiskey but what do I do if he sends up a woman?"
The manager leaned back in his chair, laughing. "Well, if you don't know by now it's probably too late to learn."