Adventures at the Pump
by Stefi Sparer

Please don’t come over here, please don’t come over here, please don’t come over here.

deebo.jpgA man, twice the size of myself, is zigging around on a bicycle in front of the Shell station I’m at. And I’m nervous. It’s one AM and I had the feeling I was going to get raped tonight. I also desperately needed gas, so I took the chance. He is dressed like a homeless man trying not to look homeless. Or like a college student trying to be artsy. He slowly rides over to the pump I’m at and eyes my car up and down like he’s giving a beautiful woman the once over. That’s it. I’m toast. I silently pray to any god or demigod who will listen; Don’t let me die tonight. Not like this. My legs aren’t even shaven. I am careful to avoid eye contact as his eyes move from my car to me. I wonder if he notices that my shirt matches the color of my car? I wonder if he knows I planned that?

Hola,” he says.

I ignore the man and instead pretend to be focused on the digital numbers telling me how much money the government is taking from me: $2.46, $14.72, $32.56, the figures move so quickly it makes me dizzy.

He clears his throat and peddles a little closer to me, “Hola!” he says louder.

Oh crap. He circles the pump and waits for me to respond, mouthing off something else in Spanish that two years in high school couldn’t help me decipher. I debate whether or not I should respond. Then decide to respond as to humanize myself. I learned that on CSI or Law and Order or maybe Oprah. I also decide to play dumb. And in a split second decision- Russian.

Previet,” I say v Russki. He breaks and cocks his head to the side like a dog listening to their master. He tries English instead.

“Do you have money?” he wants to know. Now I’m nervous. I don’t have cash on me or any identification. My purse is at home. I have one credit card in my pocket. When he kidnaps me, steals my credit card, and takes me deep into the desert to rape me, then finally kills me, the police will have to get my dental records to identify my body, which has decomposed by this time.

panic_button.jpgI shake my head and answer him simply, “Niet, no.”

He takes another look at my car, then back at me. “None?”

Jesus, I think, it’s just a Dodge.

Nol, pagalstah.” I give my sorriest look to show I might be sincere.

He reaches out to touch the hood of my car and I press my panic button, causing my headlights to flash and my horn to screech, which sends the man scurrying away, “Lo siento! Gracias!” he shouts as he peddles as fast as his legs can manage.

I am so frightened that I get back into my car so quickly that I don’t bother getting a receipt for the 90 dollars I spent on gas and I forget to close the fuel door. It isn’t until I am almost to my house that I realize I was listening to bad pop music the entire way home.

Stefi luckily managed to not get knocked the fuck out.

Obscene and Heard Archives


Mom used to say "nothing good happens after midnight".

To this day my wife and daughters will roll their eyes at me after 10pm when they need whatever the hell it is they need right now that they couldn't remember to get in broad daylight, and as they are moving to the door I insist "no, it's ok. I'll do it".

They don't like it. But they let me do it.


If it happens again try to remember you can always hose him down with the gas if things get to close for comfort...


I love using Russian when I don't want to be bothered. Good thinkin'.


Ernie's got the right idea. As a bodyguard, I took all sorts of combat and improvised defensive weapons classes. A gas pump and a lighter make for a formidable weapon, not to mention the entertainment value of watching a flaming bad guy running around like a headless chicken.

A squeegy sponge full of dirty washer fluid also has an interesting effect when jammed into someone's eyes.


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