The Immortal Gas Pumper Boy
by Lothar Tuppan
In the desolate heart of California's forgotten desert, 'Gas Pumper Boy' Brian's mundane life takes a chilling turn when he encounters a wealthy, sadistic couple on a road trip to explore ghost towns. As the sun sets over Malum, a small town that time seems to have abandoned, Brian becomes an unwitting participant in a macabre theater of violence, where life and death hang by a thread.
“Fuck you,” Brian said under his breath as he slapped his palm against his forehead, killing the mosquito that had just bit him. “Mother fucking skeeters. You may have tasted my blood bitch, but you’re dead now!” The afternoon was turning into evening and all the bugs were coming out to play.
Brian sat outside of the service station he worked at, waiting for his shift to end. A fucking dead-end job in a fucking dead-end shithole, off a fucking nearly forgotten highway, in the middle of the fucking California desert.
People think of California in all sorts of ways. Stereotypes about hippies, liberals, homosexuals, and other “fruits and nuts” of the counter-culture; or Silicon Valley tech geeks; or Hollywood greed and glamour; or endless summer days and beaches filled with beautiful people. The truth is that the majority of the central part of the state is like something out of a David Lynch film—a really boring David Lynch film.
Brian did time for some penny-ante burglary charges and after a number of failed jobs and lost weekends, he found himself in Malum, California working at a filling station and living in a cast-off trailer. “Life sure is sweet,” he venomously spat out to no one in particular.
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Avery would arrive soon to take over the next shift and then Brian would go back to his trailer, drink some Old No. 7, eat a couple microwave burritos, and watch some shitty TV. Same as every night. He realized he still had a dead mosquito stuck to his forehead when he noticed a silver car approaching from the distance. Wiping his forehead with his work cloth, he got up to get a better look.
The silver car (a Mercedes of some kind he thought… Brian never cared about European cars) slowed and pulled into the gas station. Brian walked over to the car. The driver was young, blond, handsome, had muscles that came out of a gym, and was obviously rich. The passenger, also blond, looked like some sort of actress or supermodel. The two got out of the car as Brian approached.
“You need a fill up mister?”
“Quaint.” The young man said looking around like the station was an attraction at Disneyland. “I haven’t seen a station where you don’t have to pump your own gas, except in old movies.”
“That’s not true Brett,” said the beautiful, tall, goddess who was getting out of the car as well. “Remember that road trip through Oregon? The whole state is like that.”
“But that’s fucking Oregon babe! That state’s a horrible shit-hole.” He turned and spat onto the ground. “Portland was such a bust.”
“I know,” she sighed. “I was hoping for something more than the hippies that time forgot.”
“Rachel,” he said dryly. “I think they refer to them as ‘crusties’ now or something.”
The two of them laughed at Brett’s joke.
“Um, I’m sorry mister,” Brian said trying to refrain from pulling his dick out and pissing on their car. “Did you need a fill up or something else?”
“Hmm? Oh, yeah. Sorry Bro, I’m still flying from a bit of coke, know what I mean?” Brett smiled at Brian from behind mirrored aviator sunglasses and Brian wanted to smash his shark-like teeth in with a crowbar.
“Where you folks headed?” Brian began pumping the gas. “Not much around here except for Malum just down the highway a mile or so.
“Malum! That’s where we’re headed!” Rachel danced around the car, her summer dress revealing more than she probably realized and it was clear that she was high on something too.
“Not too many people visit Malum.”
Brett’s face was expressionless and the mirrored shades seemed ominous as Brian waited for him to respond. Brett finally broke the uncomfortable silence, “Yeah Bro, probably not. But this hot babe over here—”
“That’s me!” Rachel sing-songed back.
“She, has a thing about ghost towns that don’t know they’re ghost towns yet. She likes to visit and see them in their near-final death throes.”
“I don’t know anything about that mister,” Brian tried to quickly finish up and get these crazy, rich motherfuckers back on the road.
“She used to volunteer at a hospital in Beverly Hills as a Candy Striper and I think that’s where she realized she had a thing for watching the old and decrepit die.”
“Uh huh,” Brian put the nozzle back on the pump. “That’ll be 30 bucks.”
“Nice,” said Brett pulling out some cash. “Pumped right to the dollar mark.”
As he was walking away Brian heard Brett call from behind him, “Hey! Where do you recommend we eat?”
“Only food worth eating is at ‘Nachos and More’ which is a block down from your motel. Stupid name but good carne asada and cheap sangria.”
“How do you know where we’re staying?” Brett wasn’t smiling as he asked this.
“Shit—’Bro’—there’s only one motel in Malum.” Brian decided he really and truly hated both of these people.
“Fuck!” Brett burst out laughing. “Of course! What a shit stain this town is!”
“Bye gas pumper boy!” Rachel called sweetly as she slid back into the passenger seat.
As the two douche-bag rich kids drove off Brian heard Avery’s ancient Toyota Corolla pull into the station.
“Hi Avery. Been a shit day. You’ll probably have a shit night.”
“Well,” Avery said smirking. “As long as it’s something different for a change.”
Brian went to the restroom and washed his face. He stared hard at the ugly loser looking back at him. Time for a fucking change all right.
“You heading to your trailer?” Avery asked as Brian walked to his barely running 1978 Mustang II.
“Nah, I think I’m going into town for a bit.”
Brian watched the two rich fucks eating and laughing through the window at “Nachos and More.” It looked like they had just gotten their first pitcher of sangria and hadn’t even had any chips and salsa yet. Their car wasn’t there so they must have walked to the restaurant.
Good, thought Brian as he quickly walked back toward the motel. They should be busy for a while. The light was quickly fading and Brian felt comfortable walking toward the motel in the growing darkness. He saw the Mercedes and figured they probably parked right in front of their room.
He walked to the door quickly and saw that the “Do Not Disturb” sign was on the door. That’s weird, he thought. Maybe this isn’t their room. He knocked on the door and waited. When it was clear that no one was going to answer he pulled out his old lock picks from his burglary days, quickly opened the door, entered, and closed it behind him.
Fucking rich assholes. They gotta have something worth something in here.
Brian started searching through their two small pieces of luggage. C’mon the bitch has to have a jewelry kit or some shit.
Brian, stopped cold, stayed very quiet, and listened.
It was coming from the bathroom.
Brian carefully walked into the bathroom and saw an old man tied up and gagged lying in the bathtub wearing nothing but a French maid’s outfit.
“What the fuck!?!” Brian exclaimed just as he heard the sound of a gun clicking behind him.
“You were right babe,” Brett said. “Something was feeling a bit off.”
“I know, right?” Rachel said. “My astrologer told me I’ve got psychic gifts and I should just trust my instincts.”
“Hey!” Brian said. “I ain’t gonna say nothing.” He knew, as it was coming out of his mouth, that this was about the stupidest thing he had ever said.
“No shit dipshit.” Brett smiled as he said this.
“That’s funny baby! ‘No shit dipshit’!” Rachel started laughing uncontrollably.
“What were you doing here gas pumper boy?” Brett’s smile never wavered as Brian slowly turned around.
“I… I just wanted to…”
“Rob us? Maybe rape Rachel? Teach me a lesson of some sort because I have a life and you are a bug waiting to meet the windshield of your shitty existence?” He pushed the barrel of the gun into Brian’s forehead. “Is that what you were going to do?”
Rachel started digging through her purse as her laughing fit started to slow down.
Brian knew he was fucked. Caught again. He always got caught. He couldn’t handle more time in prison. He just couldn’t. It would kill him this time.
“Fuck, gas pumper boy,” Brett said with disgust. “Did you just piss yourself?”
“Don’t worry baby,” Rachel said tossing Brett a new Boston leather sap. “Time to move this to the main attraction.” She bit her bottom lip and did her best to look cute, “I bought you an early birthday present sweetie.”
“Righteous Babe, you always get the best presents.” Brett said admiring the sap. “Let’s get ready to roll.”
Brett stood perfectly still for a few seconds before rapidly hitting Brian in the head, again and again, with his new present until Brian blacked out completely.
Brian woke up in the desert sun, head throbbing, stomach nauseous, seeing double, hogtied, and covered in his own piss and shit.
His vision was blurred, he was pretty sure he had a concussion if not a fractured skull, and from the clouds of dust, he knew they had been driving off-road to get to wherever they were.
He heard a car door open and saw blurry images of people getting out of the Mercedes which was parked right next to his old beater.
“Gas pumper boy’s finally awake.” Brett said.
“Thanks for not letting him stay in the car Boo,” Rachel cooed. “He fucking stinks! Worse than that crappy car of his I had to drive out here.”
Brett laughed, “No problem babe. And thanks for doing that, I know you probably really want a shower after sitting in that seat.”
“Wha… why… uuuuuuhhhh…” Brian groaned out.
“Shit man,” Brett laughed again, smiling broadly. It seemed he was having a very good morning. “Don’t worry. It’ll all be over soon. You see, normally we just do these old fuckers, Rachel gets off on it, then I get off on my part, and we bury the fuckers.”
“Thas… thas fucked up man.” Brian wasn’t sure why he said this. He knew he was dead already.
“Yes. Yes it is.” Brett squatted down next to him and cocked his head. “That’s why we do it. It’s fun to do fucked up shit when you can get away with it. And we can get away with a lot.”
Rachel pulled a folding camping chair out of the car, set it up a few feet away from Brian, and sat down in it.
“Yeah, gas pumper boy, I learned years ago that I loved watching people die. Especially really crappy people who should be dead already. It makes me feel fully alive.” Rachel said this as if she was explaining why she loved her favorite band.
“More than alive Babe, you’re never as beautiful as right after we kill these wastes of flesh. And we probably are doing these old fucks a favor.”
“You are so sweet!” Rachel smiled demurely. “And you’re so correct. We’re actually doing good if you think about it right.”
She stood up excitedly and started pacing, “But we normally don’t get the opportunity to do something more theatrical! That’s what’s so exciting about you coming into the play during this third act!”
Brett pulled Brian up and sat him against the side of the Mercedes. Brian’s vision was clearing a little. He could see that he was far away from anything and anybody except the old man in the maid’s costume (who was tied up in front of Brian’s Mustang II), scrub brush, and his sadistic captors.
“We’re going to not only kill a decrepit old fuck,” Brett said. “We’re also going to have some fun with a decrepit gas pumper boy who’s life is fucking worthless.”
“It’ll be Shakespearean!” Rachel yelled.
“You can’t get away with this.” Brian mumbled.
“What do you mean?” Brett asked.
“They’ll catch you.”
“No.” Brett laughed. “No one will think a goddamn thing except what we will lead them to think.”
“You fuckers think you can buy anything don’t you?” Brian spat.
“Sure,” Brett replied. “But the only money coming into this is going to be the lack of budget for serious investigation.”
Rachel cackled, “Yeah gas pumper boy! It’s not about what we can buy, it’s about what you shitheads can’t even begin to afford!”
“Enough of this shit,” Brett stretched. “You want to do the honors Babe?”
“Oh fuck yeah!” Rachel jumped up from the chair and almost skipped over to Brett.
“Here ya go Rach,” Brett said as he handed her a somewhat rusty folding knife. “I found this in his glove box. It’s the perfect tool.”
“It’s not only rusty but pretty dull,” Rachel mused at the blade before looking at Brett and smiling broadly. “I love it!!!”
“I know you like it when it’s not so smooth of a cut sweetie.”
Rachel’s face became serious as she steadily walked toward the old man, kneeled behind him, and slit his throat with two harsh slashes, expertly keeping the blood splatter off her white dress.
Brian watched horrified as Rachel then cut the gag and ropes away from the twitching corpse before tossing the knife into the old man body while exclaiming, “Mumbley-peg!”
Brett had removed something from the trunk of the Mercedes and walked over to the body.
“Now for my fun part,” Brett said as he poured gasoline over the body. “You see, I really like fire.”
Rachel walked back to her chair and sat down in anticipation for the show. Brett flicked a lit match and the man’s body began to burn. After watching the fire burn down, as if it were a holy fire that needed to be respected until it had burned itself out, Brett walked back over to Brian.
“Now for you.” Brett looked sadly at Brian. “You know I’m doing you a favor right? I’m going to end your shitty painful existence and I’m also going to ensure it that your name is recorded in the annals of history. You’ll still be a footnote, but that’s better than nothing right? Some sort of immortality is better than oblivion.”
“Come on Boo,” Rachel was now bored. “Let’s get back to L.A. and I’ll show you how much I appreciated this weekend getaway!”
“Righteous Babe,” Brett tossed the keys of the Mercedes to Rachel. “Go ahead and start her up and get out of the heat. I’ll be right there.”
Brett put gloves on, took out a pistol, from behind his back, that Brian hadn’t seen before, wiped any prints off of it and placed it on the hood of the Brian’s car. He walked back to Brian, holding his own pistol on him with one hand while cutting the ropes with a utility knife.
“Please, you don’t have to do this.” Brian moaned as Brett dragged him closer to the charred remains of the old man.
“Shut up.” Brett said. “You’re just being pathetic now.”
Brett took the 2nd pistol, put it under Brian’s chin and looked directly in his eyes. Brian wanted to run, fight back, do something, but he felt all urges for life drain away as he thought, “What’s the fucking use?”
“That’s it,” Brett smiled. “I love it when you maggots realize you’re broken and always have been.” Brett leaned Brian away from him a bit before pulling the trigger, so he wouldn’t end up covered in blood, and with an “Uhp… Buh bye!” pulled the trigger.
Brett put the pistol into Brian’s hand, walked over to the Mercedes, and then he and Rachel drove back to their everyday lives. They had classes at USC to attend tomorrow.
Residents of Malum, California were shocked today to hear that local resident Brian Meurger was found dead in the desert five miles outside of town. Meurger, a known felon, had apparently kidnapped an old man, slit his throat, and then set him on fire, before killing himself with a single gunshot to the head. The family of the elderly victim declined to make a statement but the parents of Meurger said, “Please, he’s no son of ours. Just leave us alone.” Police detective Murphy stated, “It was a horrible scene but it was a pretty open-and-shut case. These meth head losers are a plague on our society.” Now for the weather…
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