I was challenged the other day to write a personal narrative about a recent event in my life. This is a bit tough because my life has been rather dull for the past few months, but I figured I’d give it a shot. I’ve never done a personal narrative, or any sort of memoir, before so this was tougher than it otherwise may have been, but I think this worked out pretty well. You guys tell me what you think?
Can I pretend I know you?
I was at work the other day, striding around the crowded casino floor and watching everything happen. I’m one of the guys you see at the casino, but never quite know what they do. I’m the guy in the black suit. The guy with the Secret Service style earpiece. Maybe I’m armed, maybe I’m not. No one knows, and none of us will tell because, really, is there a more suspicious question?
Most people ignore us. The people who do see us usually think we’re some kind of management or secret security force. We can answer most of your questions, but none of will actually do anything for you besides point you in the direction of someone who actually will do things for you. We have the full run of the casino and we’re always there. We can be intimidating, but we can be the good guys too.
Anyway, I walked slowly around the floor of the casino, nodding at the few regulars I knew and trying to be polite to everyone else. The place was packed. It was a fight night and every Television screen in the place was showing the fight in High Definition. Time was passing quickly and, so far, everything had been handled pretty well.
I passed the main bar area on my way toward the back when a light hand fell on my shoulder. I turned to see a woman I’d never seen before smiling up at me with worried eyes. This is a look I know very well. Before working at the casino I’d had years and years of security experience and I’ve seen this look on people’s faces dozens of times. I can even predict what she’s going to say. She smiles up at me, begging me with her eyes and whispers, “Can I pretend I know you?”
I smile. It’s a smile I’ve developed over years of practice: warm, friendly, and reassuring. It comes complete with it’s own head movement, cocking my head slightly to the side and raising my chin. The head movement not only mimics recognition, but it’s relaxing, friendly, and gives me the benefit of being able to scan the room around me without looking suspicious. “Hi,” I beam at her. “It’s good to see you.”
I watch her shoulders relax and she breathes, maybe the first relaxing breath in a while. I keep looking around the area. As nervous as she is, there’s only a few possibilities and within seconds I narrow it to one. Three men had been behind her when she walked up and they’re still there. Milling around a slot machine a few dozen feet away. They’re easy to spot. They’re a few of the only people not watching the fight. “How have you been?” I ask, turning my body slightly and taking a step to put me between her and the men.
“I’m good,” she says. “I’ve had a really good night here. I’ve won almost three thousand dollars.”
I nod slowly, still smiling. Now it makes sense. I hide my hand in front of my chest and point to the uniformed security desk across the main room. “Can I show you around?” I ask.
She follows my finger and shakes her head. “No, I think I just want to go home and get some sleep.”
I nod. “Let me walk you to your car,” I say. “It’s been too long.”
I part the crowd with a wave of my hand, which is one of the benefits of being the man in the black suit and lead her toward the main entrance and away from the men watching her. As soon as we pass the door I radio uniformed security and describe the three men, asking them to make sure we’re not followed out of the building.
The woman sags against me with relief and sighs. “Thanks,” she says. “Those three were making me nervous. I can’t prove they were really following me, but every time I turned around they were there.”
“It’s okay,” I say. “We don’t need proof. We’ll walk you to your car anytime. It’s what friends are for.”
She laughs, shaking off the tension as she climbs into her car. “Thanks,” she says and drives away.
Is it really in my job description? Maybe. Maybe not. Would I do it again?