Peppers ordeal came to mind while doing my Sunday scribbling. For five years now she’s worked part time for a DJ company during the Christmas and wedding seasons. A real go getter like my mother was, she’s always willing to work a six day week if the money is right.
Her job title is production assistant, where she oversees the Dee-jays at a facility housing six to eight wedding parties at a time. She makes sure all the wedding music is timed for the first dances, speeches, and bride’s entrance. As a people reader she’s able to predict what music is needed to get the party rolling. She also relieves Deejays for bathroom breaks, finds them appropriate music, and brings them non alcoholic drinks during their shift. Part of her job is to be the eyes, ears and voice for the owner of the company, dealing with prospective problems as they occur. Things need to be somewhat perfect during the wedding season; otherwise brides requisition a discount on services.
Last December, short on deejays for the Christmas season she was needed to actually take the place of a Deejay in the separate dinning hall from the weddings. So the company owner hired a young woman to be the production assistant for the one night.
Wearing a conservative black skirt, lime green sweater and knee high black pointed boots. I remember thinking how particularly stunning Pepper looked that night when I dropped her at work. She played music the whole night; random people came in off the street to have dinner. The dance floor was packed. Her replacement went from room to room, while Pepper coached her from the deejay booth in the dinning room.
Around ten p.m. Pepper fell ill. Approximately twelve thirty a.m. she packed up her Dee jay equipment then landed in the bathroom. Her whole body felt poorly, as though she may vomit. By the time I arrived to pick her up, at one thirty am, she was hanging onto the glass doors waiting for me. She struggled to the car, and was barely coherent. Bryan was patiently waiting for her in the office; he had been a Deejay that night in a separate part of the building. He too was concerned and surprised to see her hanging at the door waiting for me. He’d assumed she was still in the ladies room.
Bryan and I chatted in the car about a television we’d all picked out earlier in the day; Pepper threw a few garbled words into our conversation. Then she immediately fell asleep the rest of the drive home. It was a slight struggle to get her out of the car. She then slipped into her pajamas, took a pillow and slept on the bathroom floor afraid that she may vomit.
I woke her four hours later. She tried to call some of her staff to cover her shift at work, but no one was available. Still nauseous, she managed to get herself together, showered, shaved and shined. Couldn’t eat anything and still hadn’t vomited, but her stomach was extremely sore. She attended work, each hour she progressively felt better and better. Especially after she had something to eat.
Pepper is not a drinker. On occasion she’ll have one and sometimes two if coaxed. It was so odd that she was so out of it, when I picked her up. It played on my mind all day long. When she arrived home she ate a surprisingly huge supper, and felt even better, but still slightly woozy. I questioned her about the night before, asking if she had eaten anything out of the ordinary, or if someone had slipped liquor into her drink. I even asked her if she felt drunk. She answered no to all of it.
After much thought, I asked her if any men were hanging around her Deejay table. She said there were two, but none that gave her the no no feeling. She was pretty firm with them when they tried to touch the CD’s. Then I questioned who got her drinks, she told me the new young girl got them.
It dawned on me that the girl who took Peppers place for the night may not have been quite as attentive as Pepper was. Bryan and the other deejays were frustrated with her incessant talking and bad perfume. Then I had an intuition, I wondered if Pepper may have been drugged. I continued with more questions. Asking Pepper if she had watched the girl get her drink, she said she had. I inquired whether she was able to physically see the girl the whole entire time she was at the bar. She said no, because the counter was slightly around a corner. So for a few minutes that girl and the drink were out of site.
By the next day Pepper was perfectly normal and also questioning whether she had been drugged. She queried co workers who she thought may have information on others who've being drugged. One person explained their experience. It was a similar story in a different setting. Throughout the day she spoke to many people until she concluded that perhaps she too had been a victim of rohypnol, the date rape drug.
After other conversations, we narrowed our suspicions down to a creepy bartender. Pepper had witnessed the guy covertly chugging drinks behind the bar the previous night, grounds for dismissal if he’d been caught. The perpetrator may have assumed Pepper was on her own as an independent Dee jay. What better victim than a sedated, young innocent woman, appearing older than her nineteen years, possibly driving home alone after her late shift.
After a few days of pondering the situation and discussing it with others, I decided to consult her boss in a non accusatory way. It was more of an inquiry, and I was sure not to slander anyone. Peppers female boss, was horrified, yet felt it was more than possible. The male in question gave the boss the creeps long before this incident. Hairs on the back of her neck stand up every time he’s in her presence. She professes to have excellent radar for devious males. She’s always felt this man had deviant tendencies. Could we prove it? NO! Could we suggest he drugged Pepper? NO! Do we know for sure? NO! Are we almost certain? ABSOLUTELY! Does all the evidence add up? YES! Is he still working at that facility? YES! Does he still give the girls the creeps? YES!
In retrospect I should have taken her right to the hospital. It was too abnormal, that she could barely walk, how she digressed for a few hours and then improved after twelve hours. How she couldn’t recall getting in the car, or any of the conversation during the ride home. Thankfully I was there to pick her up, and get her home safe that night. I can only imagine what the prospects would have been had she been driving alone.
For any of the few times that I have resented driving late as night, this incident erased all of that. For all the times I have pleaded with Pepper to get her drivers license, this was the one time I was glad she didn’t have it.
I have heard many stories in the last few years. A few bars in Vancouver have the reputation of being a place where women are commonly drugged. I even know of a couple of girls who were drugged at a popular restaurant while drinking regular cokes. They got up to use the washroom. Left the table with their pizza and cokes, never imagining anyone would touch their drinks. One of girls could barely make it to her car; some guys just happened by and asked the young ladies if they needed help. Thankfully the girls had called a mom because the one girl had fallen ill so fast. That too, was a near miss, of what may have been a tragic situation.
My friends co-worker said her daughter was drugged, the girl and her friend drank the same shooters that everyone else drank. Apparently it is common for the men to take small doses of the drug before hand, to build a tolerance to it. So when the whole tray was served, everyone indulged, assuming it was safe coming from the waitress. The girls would be drugged, but the men were not affected. That information was supplied by an attending officer. After a few hours some drugs are non traceable in the blood. The police had been trying to catch a certain group of men that were party to that incident. Apparently it was regular occurrence at the one particular bar. The officers were privy to many women who had been assaulted using that method. There were traces of the drugs in the girls blood, the young ladies have no recollection of the sexual assault. Although they do know it occurred.
Another acquaintance had been drugged one night and then drove her car off the road into a farm field and was unable to remember anything that occurred after she entered her car. She did however recall only having two drinks early that evening. Another girl had her purse and identification stolen and didn’t recall the last moments of the night…..These are people I have met, all in their late twenties, early thirties.
You can’t make an accusation or assumption without proof. So many of these cases go unreported for whatever reason, some women feel ashamed for being duped, or perplexed about what transpired, some even doubt themselves, while others feel to blame because they drank too much. My daughter doesn’t care for nightclubs or bars. If she enters a bar it’s solely to watch Bryan’s band. She is always aware of her surroundings, rarely drinks, and has excellent intuition. History repeats itself. Many young people don’t really believe that cliché. It’s been happening since the age of my grandmother, and will continue to happen. I caution everyone to be safe and beware!