The Time Mike’s Woody Was Full of Hookers
The following story is meant to be humorous, and is not intended to represent the real-life Mike Pence. As far as we know he did not, in fact, do this.
Sometimes Mike Pence’s trademark friendliness and humility would land us in some strange situations. A perfect example of this happened after we’d graduated from college. We’d joined an amateur rugby club called Peonies R.F.C. Mike was our fly-half and easily the best damn fly-half I’ve ever seen. It was almost unfair, our go-to play, the way he’d take the feed from Dick Richards, our scrum-half, bolt around the scrum and be over the try line before you could say, “Albert Pell”.
I was a barely passable full-back.
One warm Saturday afternoon we had a fixture against our greatest rival, Thrips. I think I will encounter no meaningful rebuttal if I suggest that Thrips were the meanest pack of goons and ruffians you could ever encounter on the rugby pitch. High tackling. Offsides by miles. Genitals grabbed at every opportunity. Fouls the like of which have not been seen on a rugby pitch before. These were the gentlemen, you understand, against whom we were called into action on that fateful Saturday.
Mike and myself arrived at the pitch in his sun-faded orange woody van—yclept Woody, naturally—ready in our togs and raring for the fight of our lives. We met up with Richards and our self-declared captain Romney and the rest of the squad, except there was a serious problem. Dick Swett, our number two, was sick with the mononucleosis and could in no way play. Please understand, we were a two-bit, bootstraps, sweat-off-the-old-brow outfit that couldn’t field a side with a player missing. We could field a substitute as soon as a submarine.
And—so importantly to the old spirit of the club—we weren’t about to be sidelined and forfeited by such a gang of ne’er do wells as Thrips. Many’s the side we might have reluctantly forfeited to, shaken hands and good on you for your success, but against these characters such was not an option.
Captain Romney gathered us together, scrum like.
“Now, Michael,” Romney said. “We all know you’re a reliable, resourceful man. I don’t think I’m mistaken in nominating you, Mr. Michael Pence, to find for us a replacement for a sadly absent member of this august body, Peonies R.F.C. No rugby team is complete without a number two, and Mr. Dick Swett has tucked his ears back and, boy howdy, served as our able hooker for as long as I can remember. He is, I understand, indisposed with a health concern. I am sure that you, Michael, can find a suitable replacement, and preferably within the next hour.”
So officiously it was intoned and so it was to be done.
Off we sped in the old woody, like men on fire, though men on fire who were driven by one who religiously adhered to the posted speed limit. Mike had some sermons of Pastor Dennis’s on 8-track at the time that we listened to which kept our minds engaged as he drove.
We were a long way from home and in parts unknown and Mike took the first off ramp once we hit a municipality of any size. He pulled into a parking lot likely enough and rolled down his window.
There was a wide expanse of parked long haul truckers, great fields of idle diesel and freight. A man of some considerable girth sat in a dilapidated lawn chair drinking out of a styrofoam cup like he was their king.
“Hello, friend. We’re from Peonies Rugby Club. We have a match today and I’m in need of the best hooker you can find,” Mike said.
I sank low in my seat in a vain attempt at invisibility.
“Wellsir, every man has his own, shall we say, interests. Disgustibus, as the old fella said. But there’s a fine selection down behind the lime green Peterbilt with the dry box, yonder,” quoth His Highness.
“Thank you so very much, sir,” Mike said.
“Catch you on the flip flop, Rubber Duckie,” the sweaty king said with a lazy salute in farewell.
Mike rolled up his window.
“Mike I don’t know that that man’s quite understood exactly what we were looking for,” I said.
“Well, there are other meanings of the word hooker, for starters,” I suggested.
“Oh no, Bryan,” Mike said. “While I understand the regrettable level of attention Rugby Union gets in this country—you know? I’ve considered running for political office to address this very problem—but I will not prejudge these men based simply on their profession and perceived lack of social standing.”
We found the Peterbilt, a loud lime green number festooned with a cross on its grill which appeared to be fashioned out of 100 Watt light bulbs.
“See?” he said. “A God-fearing truck driver. You must have more faith in your fellow man, Bryan!”
We stepped out of Woody and walked to the back of the trailer. We heard giggling. There was a smell of cigarettes and other combustibles. Coarse language seasoned the air. Somewhere, a glass bottle was rolling along the asphalt. We turned at the end of the trailer and there, in the back of the empty dry box, were a half dozen women who could only be prostitutes. Fishnets and bosom-flesh for days.
I confess I cleared my throat.
Mike turned to me.
“Bryan, I owe you the sincerest of my apologies,” he said.
A blonde at the front inquired as to what, you understand, services we required and briefly quoted us a price for the renderation of the various services aforesaid.
“Ladies,” said Mike. “There has been an enormous misunderstanding. My friend and I are members of an amateur rugby club. One of the key positions on the team is our number two, also known as a hooker. Ours is sick today and we needed a replacement—”
“I get it. I understand,” a dark beauty at the back said. “I think I can help you out.”
“No! We’re not looking for anything, er, untoward, we just—”
“Shut it, man! You’re wanting me brother, Paul. Paul!”she called.
I couldn’t help myself.
“What is going on?” I asked. “I don’t understand a damned thing going on here.”
From around the front end of the truck came a stout lad with long, curled black hair and muscles that challenged his shirt’s capacity to contain them.
“We’re in real danger now,” I thought, but Mike’s face was more inquisitive than fearful.
“Tell him what you’re looking for, man,” the dark beauty barked.
“We, sir,” Mike said, “are in need of a hooker.”
This man—Paul, it turned out—broke into a wide smile.
“You’ve found your lad, then! Where’s the match?”
Not five minutes later Paul, his sister Sheila and the other ladies—hookers, all— had piled into the back of Woody and we were on our way back to the match. Turns out Paul played for Saracens for a few years and even won two caps for Fiji. A brave, stout lad. Solid number two. No one complained about the sermons of Pastor Dennis on the 8-track.
Paul was a perfect fit for our system. Brilliant in the breakdown and a master of the line out. He was the key to our famous defeat of Thrips that day. The scoreline was an embarrassment, but the fact that we took our feet off the gas in the last third of the match just to be sporting made it even more so.
As for the ladies, I can report that all of them made their way to Jesus, each in their own way, after that day. Three of them became elementary school teachers, two run faith-based day care centers and, well, I won’t embarrass Sister Mary Michael by revealing her current location but, suffice it to say, she has changed her ways.
Some time I have to tell you about the time Mike shot the family dog in front of the children.