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Fast Times at Phillips 66: The Undercover Cop

By osm in Culture
Fri Apr 21, 2006 at 12:00:00 PM EST
Tags: etc (all tags)

I had a great time working with Vince. One of our favorite subjects was Christians. The station gave us plenty of entertainment in that respect; in addition to the Metro Baptist account, we had several customers who were of the flock. Usually, we'd just let them bless us or give us pamphlets or whatever they felt like doing. Sometimes, we'd argue with them if we were bored. One year, Vince and I went to a Halloween party dressed as Jesus and the Virgin Mary. I got to be Mary and Vince was Jesus. We made an umbilical chord out of a piece of Saran Wrap and strawberry jelly and ran it from under my gown to his stomach. I think it took every ounce of self-control Stacy had to not kill me.

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As much as Vince and I enjoyed Christians, our all-time favorite subject was Bryan; it didn't hurt that Bryan was a Christian. Vince had gone to high school with Bryan and his ex-girlfriend Wendy. It had ultimately fallen to Vince to inform Wendy of Bryan's indiscretions with a nasty hooker, thus causing their infamous breakup. I'm not really certain if Vince had narced on Bryan out of concern for Wendy or if he did it so we would have endless fodder for our evening conversations. Not that we needed any more reasons to laugh at Bryan - he was the constant target of our derision as it was.

Bryan would always come to work wearing khaki pants, a golf shirt and brown loafers and then complain when he got oil or gasoline on them. He constantly made up lies, usually about the most meaningless things. He was discharged from the Army. Nobody really knew the whole story behind that, but we did know that he hadn't even made it all the way through basic training. When he was working on the night shift, he would stand around the office and practice the proper way to salute an officer and other maneuvers. Maybe if he had spent that time concentrating on his homework, he would have made it through more than one semester of community college. His parents had given him a brand new convertible Mercedes just for passing his first semester.

After about a year of splitting the night shift with Vince, Bryan decided he wanted to move to the day shift; he got his wish when Jason moved to another state. The day shift was really a perfect fit for Bryan. He liked to drink as heavily as Frog and he had just dropped out of college, partly due to his depression over his breakup with Wendy and partly due to the fact he was basically an idiot. He was also the only person at the station, other than Frog, who actually looked at the giant stack of pornographic magazines sitting in the back room; though Justin would use them for making collages during pixie binges. Frog had one Playboy in particular that Bryan liked. It was the October 1994 issue and the girl on the cover could have been Stacy's twin, except Stacy never wore makeup, which was just as well - no work of man could have done anything but detract from her beauty.

"Yeah man, that chick looks just like Stacy," Bryan would say, his weaselly voice quivering and his forehead moistening with perspiration.

The scent of cologne from the magazine assaulted my nostrils and awoke the reptilian core of my brain. "Dude, you say that every fucking night. I'm going to light that goddamn magazine on fire and shove it up your fucking ass." I never bothered to be polite to Bryan.

"Sorry, man," his thin lips would twitch.

Personally, I liked to tease Stacy with the magazine cover myself. She'd just giggle and get a big grin on her face that she couldn't get rid of and say, "I don't look like that chick." But I'd had to sit through countless hours of detailed descriptions of Bryan's disturbing sexual fetishes. It was bad enough imagining Bryan engaged in such activities with Wendy or Angela the Gummy Hooker. But the thought of him violating Stacy made me entertain unspeakably violent notions.

Needless to say, I was happy to see Bryan go. I'd had to put up with his constant whining about Wendy leaving him for nearly a year. It would also mean that Vince would join me permanently on the night shift.

One day, I arrived at the station my usual fifteen minutes late and walked in and sat down on the safe. Bryan was sitting at the side of the desk drinking whiskey from a bottle wrapped in a brown paper bag and Frog was drinking his usual vodka and Mountain Dew cocktail. I immediately recognized that they were both extremely drunk. Vince was usually closer to being on time than I was, but he hadn't gotten there yet. I realized I had interrupted an especially poignant moment between Frog and Bryan and they ignored my entrance into the office.

Bryan took a swig from his brown paper bag, "...yeah man, there's something to that shit. Like those people who let snakes bite them and they don't get hurt. And people speaking in tongues."

Frog reddened, put his hands over his eyes and started bawling, "I've seen tongues!" He got out of his chair and wobbled into the restroom to yank a tissue off the roll. He dabbed at his teary eyes, "I've seen tongues!" Frog closed the door to the restroom and all I could hear were loud howls of emotion.

Bryan began to weep, evidently equally touched by the Holy Spirit. Goddamnit, where was Vince when I needed him? I just sat on the safe and watched this train wreck in quiet fascination.

One of our regulars pulled in. It was "Belly Boy" - so named because of his enormous gut which he proudly displayed by wearing his shirt completely unbuttoned. Frog called him "Belly Berdella," after Kansas City's notorious serial killer, Bob Berdella. Belly Boy was short and balding with blonde hair around the sides of his head that curled outward at the ends. He had a blonde mustache and wore glasses. He liked to flirt with us. I hadn't officially started my shift yet, as nobody had counted their money or read the pumps, but even Belly Boy was better than what was going on in the office and Belly always used a credit card, so I wouldn't have to make change.

Belly Boy got out of his car while I started his gas and cleaned his windshield. He was wearing his usual blue flip-flops and I determined he must be in high spirits, as his belly was round, firm and deeply tanned. He was telling me all about his wild weekend at the "Winnebago" which I guessed must have been some sort of gay dance club popular with the forty-plus crowd. Once I finished the windshield, I saw Vince getting out of his girlfriend's car. Vince always had a pretty girlfriend; he usually went for thin ones with long blonde hair and blue eyes - cheerleader types. He didn't seem to care much for relationships, so he was always going out with a different girl. As Andrea pulled out of the station she smiled and waved. I waved back and turned my attention to Vince. I smiled, knowing what he was about to walk into.

As I was finishing up Belly's gas, Vince came outside with a look of horror on his face, "what in the hell is going on in there?"

I just shook my head and shrugged; I'm sure Vince realized no halfway reasonable person could possibly be expected to answer that question. Belly gave me his credit card and, as I took it back inside, he tried to talk Vince into coming over Friday night for a beer. I wondered if there was any place on the planet that was free of psychotic enraptured drunks and serial killer homosexuals.

After several months on the day shift, Bryan befriended a largish man in his late 30s named Shannon. Shannon drove a brand new dark blue convertible. He seemed to have money flowing out of every pocket, which of course easily seduced Bryan. Shannon had steely blue eyes and dark hair that was buzzed close to his scalp. Whenever he came into the station, he always acted like he was everyone's best friend. We all hated him - except Bryan. Even Frog, who was usually pretty friendly to customers, didn't like the guy. Shannon would always leave us absurdly large tips for doing basically nothing. Shannon had a girlfriend who he frequently had with him. She was thin and had long blonde hair. She was cute but she was mentally handicapped and that was reflected somewhat in her appearance; it also effected her speech.

There had been much speculation about Shannon's career as, more and more, he seemed to be spending a lot of the day at the station with Bryan. We thought maybe he was in construction, but he didn't really dress like it. Eventually, Bryan discovered that Shannon was a coke dealer and was quick to whore himself out as Shannon's stooge. First it was hiding coke in the back room until Shannon could come and pick it up later. For that, Bryan would receive 60 bucks or so. Later, it was delivering the coke to other sketchy characters who would come by the station and Bryan got a cut of that too. Bryan was the man now. Shannon's increasing reliance on him was like a runaway helium tank filling up a balloon; I eagerly awaited the explosion.

Frog grew increasingly disgruntled by the situation. Shannon had co-opted the station and was coming and going as he pleased. He would freely walk into the back room to take care of his own business, completely ignoring Frog. As was Frog's wont, he complained incessantly about the circumstances to Vince and me, rather than tell Shannon to get lost.

Months went by with Bryan acting as a paid lap dog. He would run errands for Shannon and probably fetched his slippers and morning paper for him too. Some nights, Vince and I would be at work and see Shannon driving down the road with the roof off the convertible. His girlfriend would be in the passenger seat and Bryan would be sitting in the back seat like the family dog.

One afternoon Frog was doing the shift change while Vince and I waited in the office with Bryan. Shannon pulled in with his girlfriend and came inside. He pulled out his wallet and removed a wad of cash, "hey Bry, I have some business I need to take care of. You think you could take Mandy out tonight... you know, just have a good time... Keep an eye on her?"

"Yeah, man!" Bryan eagerly took the money.

"Wow, Bryan, usually you have to pay them." I smirked. Vince and I never wasted an opportunity to kick Bryan down a few notches. Vince tried not to, but couldn't help but to laugh heartily. I loved Vince's laugh.

Bryan had a look on his face like he'd just been kicked in the gut, "thanks man."

I smiled with satisfaction as Bryan quickly counted his wad and tossed it on the desk before scurrying out the door in a manner that reminded me of a rat.

A couple weeks later, I pulled into the gas station, late as usual. This time Vince was already there. The second I got out of my car, I heard Frog yelling at the top of his lungs. Vince must have seen me pull in, as he ran outside to meet me.

Vince put his hands on my chest as if to push me back, "you don't want to go in there, man."


"Frog is going off."

"What now?"

"Bryan just told Frog that Shannon guy is an undercover cop. He's been selling drugs that he's confiscated from people he's busted."

The balloon had burst. "You have got to be shitting me," I said with glee.


I smiled evilly and recited an improvised version of Bryan's Theme Song that Vince and I always repeated whenever we saw him, "Cut, cut, cut. Slash, slash, slash. I peel away Frog's flesh and feed on the organs. His flesh will fill this emptiness. If I can't have this job now I will have this job. Forever."

Vince and I stood outside snickering until Bryan slithered out the door, hopped in his car and left the station without saying a word. The next day, Chris filled in on the day shift and I never saw Bryan - or Shannon - again. I was never really clear if what Bryan had told Frog was true. But if it was a lie, I decided he probably deserved to get fired just for being stupid enough to say something like that to someone as paranoid as Frog.

A year or so later, a friend of ours had just gotten out of the Navy and stopped in the station. He asked Vince and I if we knew of Bryan's whereabouts. Neither of us did. Evidently, Bryan had been busted - no doubt God had told the cops where to find the drugs, as he had with Bryan's parents years ago. The cops had let Bryan off as long as he "cooperated." Bryan had narced on one of this guy's friends and they were both dying to have a word with him. To this day, I don't know if Bryan is alive or dead and I doubt there are many who would care.


01. The Pervert
02. The Night the Retards Came
03. The Paranoid Schizophrenic
04. The Art Institute
05. Frog's Restroom Misadventure
06. The Pixie Who Destroyed His VW Van
07. The Hooker
08. The Old Woman Who Drove Backward
09. The Brown Recluses


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Next Installment:
o The Asshole at L.C.'s Hamburgers, Etc. 12%
o The Melted Pen Cap 15%
o Access Denied 12%
o The Dog Lady 5%
o Homey the Pigeon 2%
o Bryan's Breakup and Breakdown 20%
o The OG 12%
o Poopie Gets a Date 17%

Votes: 39
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Bryan's indiscretions with a nasty hooker
o October 1994 issue
o 01. The Pervert
o 02. The Night the Retards Came
o 03. The Paranoid Schizophrenic
o 04. The Art Institute
o 05. Frog's Restroom Misadventure
o 06. The Pixie Who Destroyed His VW Van
o 07. The Hooker
o 08. The Old Woman Who Drove Backward
o 09. The Brown Recluses
o Also by osm

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Fast Times at Phillips 66: The Undercover Cop | 42 comments (21 topical, 21 editorial, 0 hidden)
-1, stupid song (1.50 / 2) (#12)
by r3u8rb on Fri Apr 21, 2006 at 06:17:22 AM EST

Join me on irc.slashnet.org #Kuro5hin.org - the official Kuro5hin IRC channel.
it is (none / 0) (#14)
by osm on Fri Apr 21, 2006 at 06:39:53 AM EST

but i couldn't explain why in this one. oh well.

[ Parent ]

I'k already beginning to miss this (none / 1) (#15)
by nostalgiphile on Fri Apr 21, 2006 at 06:41:42 AM EST

Even though we still have 8 installments to go. In future, could you please write a sex scene with this Andrea chick? My lascivious interest has been picqued.;.

"Depending on your perspective you are an optimist or a pessimist[,] and a hopeless one too." --trhurler
i can't do that - i'm sticking to the facts, sir (3.00 / 3) (#16)
by osm on Fri Apr 21, 2006 at 06:50:25 AM EST

but, i'll be damned if you didn't just remind me of something i'd forgotten about vince... so thanks for that!

[ Parent ]

You forgot one (3.00 / 8) (#18)
by Ace Jones on Fri Apr 21, 2006 at 08:45:58 AM EST

Fast Times at K5.org:  The Katana Wielding Emo Fag

ITS NOT A KATANA (3.00 / 2) (#20)
by desudesu on Fri Apr 21, 2006 at 11:30:18 AM EST


[ Parent ]
ITS NOT A TOOMAH (3.00 / 3) (#28)
by MMcP on Fri Apr 21, 2006 at 06:12:45 PM EST


[ Parent ]
That's spelled... (none / 1) (#31)
by BJH on Fri Apr 21, 2006 at 08:52:11 PM EST

Roses are red, violets are blue.
I'm schizophrenic, and so am I.
-- Oscar Levant

[ Parent ]
I see (3.00 / 2) (#26)
by loteck on Fri Apr 21, 2006 at 04:52:05 PM EST

that you took my advice literally and are busy positively modding all the comments in your story in hope that it will help tip the balance so that this pointless vomitous mass of ill-conceived verbage will make it to the front page.

well played, and im looking forward to my next 3. you may want to spam some comments under this topical thread, though.
"You're in tune to the musical sound of loteck hi-fi, the musical sound that moves right round. Keep on moving ya'll." -Mylakovich

i usually mod up top level replies to what i post (none / 1) (#27)
by osm on Fri Apr 21, 2006 at 04:59:13 PM EST

i know editorial comments don't count. i don't care.

[ Parent ]

bukowski did it better (3.00 / 4) (#32)
by thankyougustad on Fri Apr 21, 2006 at 10:51:48 PM EST

the only reason this shit flies is because K5 is populated my inexperienced nerds. I personally am sick of drug/slapstick lawlessness stories, but that's because I've spent so much time around junkies, drunks, and theives, so it's not funny or a novel experience.

No no thanks no
Je n'aime que le bourbon
no no thanks no
c'est une affaire de goût.

i would hope he would have done it better. (3.00 / 2) (#33)
by osm on Fri Apr 21, 2006 at 10:59:08 PM EST

[ Parent ]

C'mon... (3.00 / 3) (#34)
by Reverie on Fri Apr 21, 2006 at 10:59:42 PM EST

Bukowski belongs in a completely different category- His work was bleak- this is light and comedic- But on a side note...ever read any Jean Genet?

[ Parent ]
(He's French.....) $ (none / 1) (#35)
by lostArt on Fri Apr 21, 2006 at 11:03:49 PM EST

"Angry moody sexy = K5," yaksox
[ Parent ]
Jean Genet was the gaier Bukowski (3.00 / 3) (#36)
by thankyougustad on Sat Apr 22, 2006 at 12:13:18 AM EST

I don't mean to denigrate OSM's youth, he writes pretty well, it's just so boring. Call it envy if you want, but I've heard all of these stories so many times. In my opinion this website isn't the forum for anecdotes about adolescent hijinks.

No no thanks no
Je n'aime que le bourbon
no no thanks no
c'est une affaire de goût.

[ Parent ]
i wasn't offended (3.00 / 2) (#37)
by osm on Sat Apr 22, 2006 at 12:19:04 AM EST

i appreciate it when people respond - good or bad - it's better than nothing at all. i could do without the puzzling vitriol displayed by some. but i just take that as a personal issue of theirs. in the past i would have agreed with you about this not being the place, but i think the "flavor" of the site is changing (for the better). i know others disagree...

[ Parent ]

you are probably right (none / 1) (#40)
by thankyougustad on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 01:02:26 AM EST

the proof, your stories get voted to FP. more power to you. i don't mean to be a dick, in real life you and i'd probably get along.

No no thanks no
Je n'aime que le bourbon
no no thanks no
c'est une affaire de goût.

[ Parent ]
OSM--the new Bukowski! (3.00 / 4) (#38)
by nostalgiphile on Sat Apr 22, 2006 at 12:48:41 AM EST

Now, having read the trashy pointless comments below, let me add one of my own. OSM is writing a series of articles about a specific place and point in time that many of us can (judging from the speed with whihc they get voted up) relate to.

Personally, I think they're well-written, funny, and generally entertaining as hell. To be objective, his writing is sometimes patchy and uneven, but think about this--he's not a professional writer with his own editor and loads of time to do nothing but sit around improving them. If you have problems with his style, the or even with the content, I'm pretty sure you can all make suggestions or nasty quips to him about the piece while it's in the queue.

It's just beginning to piss me off that ppl don't bother to say shit while the article is in editing but then, when it goes to vote, they crawl out from under their desks and bitch that the piece isn't as good Bukowski of all friggin ppl.

"Depending on your perspective you are an optimist or a pessimist[,] and a hopeless one too." --trhurler
to be fair (3.00 / 2) (#39)
by osm on Sat Apr 22, 2006 at 01:04:54 AM EST

this was the first one i put in editing and i didn't leave it in there a long, long time. i will with the next one, though. and part of the point of this is give me some real practice and hopefully improve with the help of objective feedback.

it doesn't bother me - i've done my fair share of trolling. it's easy to ignore.

[ Parent ]

homey the pigeon (none / 0) (#41)
by osm on Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 04:11:31 AM EST

11. Homey the Pigeon


i am going to be too busy with work for a while (none / 0) (#42)
by osm on Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 12:09:22 AM EST

to worry about these, so i went ahead and did my four favorites from the poll + the last installment. Thanks to everyone who voted these up or otherwise had something helpful to say and helped me to pretty much finish it - i may do the missing 3 in the future.



Fast Times at Phillips 66: The Undercover Cop | 42 comments (21 topical, 21 editorial, 0 hidden)
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