A Trip to Hooters


Well, Saturday was a long day.  I had to help move my ex-duty partner Jeff down to Moss Point for his new job with the MPPD.  You have to understand, Jeff is perhaps one of the finest tactical officers around.  He's also about five foot eight.  It is a fact that if God had made Jeff just two inches taller, Jeff would have already taken over the world by now.  Thank goodness for small favors.  No pun intended.

Jeff didn't have much to his name, so after he retrieved his Nissan 4x4 pickup from his ex-wife, he and I hooked up my old motorcycle trailer to my Blazer and we made a small caravan over to his apartment.  An hour later, with a trailer full of furniture, and two vehicles full of smaller stuff and boxes, we set out for Moss Point, MS. (which you will find at the bottom of MS, near the Alabama border).  The trip was uneventful short of watching for parts falling off of a trailer, which thankfully didn't happen.

It took us two hours to unload his stuff, and he would have to get an apartment that was on the TOP floor, at the VERY END of the building, FARTHEST from the NARROW steps.  Somehow, we managed to chuck all of his stuff into his apartment and then decided to go out.  It was 5:30pm at night, dark, and I didn't know what could be done in Moss Point, MS on a Saturday night.  Hopping in the Blazer and unhooking the trailer, Jeff took me by the PD to show me where he would be working starting Monday.  We passed by the police impound yard and there was a police cruiser behind the fence.  Knowing that Jeff has already tossed one police interceptor off the road (after he tried to trip up an 18 wheeler and managed to put both him and the 18 wheeler in a ditch), I laughed and pointed out that the yard was probably where I would be seeing Jeff's new car very soon.

He laughed and said that was probably his car behind the fence right there, that they were having to add some extra equipment to his car before he started.  I looked at him and said:

"Yeah, must be a bitch to get the seat cover to fit over those two Biloxi phone books they had to install just so you could see over the steering wheel."

"You bastard!" Jeff said and we laughed.

NOTHING to eat in Moss Point, so we took highway 90 which runs along the beach and headed for HOOTERS, which had just opened in Gulfport, 45 miles away.   A quarter of the way there, Cindy called me on my cell phone to check up on what time I would be back in Columbia.  I gave her a rough estimate and then just out of the blue asked her "Hey, how much money can I spend on a hooker?"

Jeff squirmed in the passenger seat rolling with laughter saying "I KNOW you didn't just go THERE!  I KNOW you didn't just ask CINDY what I thought I heard you ask her!"

Cindy laughed and said "Jeff is free."

"What did she say?" Jeff asked.

I waved my hand for him to be quiet.

"I know that Jeff rides free with the purchase of an adult job, but how much can I pay?" I asked Cindy again.

"You're such a BASTARD!" Jeff shouted.

Cindy and I laughed, said goodbye, and hung up.

Then I hit Biloxi traffic.  Now it is my expert opinion that people from Harrison and Jackson county should never be allowed to drive on paved roads.  We were getting near Hooters, which Jeff said had just opened, and a restaurant which neither of us had ever been to before.  Expectations were quite high for an evening of Al Bundy-esque entertainment.  I looked behind me to make sure that the left lane was clear, put on my blinker, and moved over.  A woman immediately almost rear ended me and blew her horn.  I looked up and flipped her off nonchalantly.  Jeff laughed.  This woman rode my bumper for the next two blocks, and when I put my turn signal on and moved into the turn lane, she stomped her Dodge Omni K as hard as she could and sped past with her horn blowing.   I glanced at the tag.  Harrison county.  Jeff leaned out the window and shouted as she passed:

"Why don't you go blow a trucker!"

I had never heard that before and I almost wrecked we were laughing so hard.  So I make a U-turn and head back half a block to Hooters.  The place is packed, and there is a car coming out of the parking lot where I needed to turn in.   I stopped in traffic and used my hand and arm to motion for the two girls to come on out so I could get in.  They started acting like blondes, they wanted all the way OVER across three lanes of traffic and they were going to wait there until they could get out.  I stomped the Blazer and went up to the next entrance to the parking lot.  Harrison and Jackson county people really piss me off how they drive.

"You should go on up another block or two until you can do a U-turn!" I shouted to the girls, even though they couldn't hear me.  "You know, do a U-turn like your daddy should have done before he crawled on top of your mother!"

Jeff was rolling in the passenger seat laughing.  We were both pissed at the idiot snowbirds and teeny boppers out on the highway that night.

Pulling into Hooters, we found one parking spot and took it.  Locking the vehicle, Jeff and I quickly walked across the parking lot and a long dark haired Oriental girl in a Hooters outfit opened the door for us.

Her greeting contained no vowels, only consonants, and the word “Hooters” which we barely recognized.  As I looked around at what could only be described as a vision of Al Bundy’s personal slice of heaven, Jeff went to put our names on the waiting list.  He then found out that this Hooters, even though it was open, and people were inside, was hosting a private party for the investors only.  Since Jeff and my names were not on the list, and since we had no intention of investing in this franchise past the purchase price of our meal, we sadly left, making little mewling noises like spanked kittens who had their cream taken away.

Ten minutes later found us at our second choice for the evening, Outback Steakhouse, conveniently located inside a strip mall.  Taking our vibrator from the waitress, we were told we would have a 45 minute wait ahead of us.  We decided to go to the bar and have a drink.  As we were talking of the futility of our Hooter’s adventure, and of our past adventures, Jeff put his drink down and got solemn.

I put down my Amaretto Sour.

“You know what is sad?” Jeff asked.

“That we didn’t lie through our teeth to get put on that list at Hooters?” I asked.

Jeff shook his head.

"Because if you had been a little quicker thinking, we would be up to our eyebrows in orange shorts and white T-shirts packed with ta-ta's hand picked by God himself."

Jeff busted out laughing, shaking his head.

“No!” He said.  “No!  No!  No!   Now shut up and listen.  What is sad is that you and I have been friends for two years now, on the street and off.  We’ve been through fights, high speed chases, we’ve trusted each other with our lives, we’ve been like brothers.”

I took a drink and nodded.

“And the saddest thing is, in two years, this is the FIRST time you and I have been out to have a drink together.”

I thought about it and it was true.  Sure, Jeff and his wife and I and Cindy had been out many times to dinner, etc., and sometimes Jeff, Cindy and I went out to dinner and Jeff would have a drink or two, but he and I had never been out drinking in two years.  We'd never done 'the guy thing' of bar hopping until we were shit faced and whizzing on the sides of dumpsters.  It just wasn't my style, being the loner that I am.

It was pretty sad, in hindsight, to have been through so much and never had the time to slow down to sip some good whiskey and crack a few jokes.  The rest of the night was kind of somber after that.  I ordered a whiskey, neat and that was all for me as I had a long way to drive home.

I was saying ‘goodbye’ in a way to a friend of two years, a partner in uniform, and one of the best tactical officers I had ever had the pleasure and privilege of working with.

Cheers, Jeff Smith.  

Best of luck, bro!