Shell Gas Station 


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When we purchased our house, we made a substantial down payment, and had a mortgage of about $6,000. I figured it wouldn't be too hard for me to get a job and support my wife and myself and pay off the mortgage. The payments would be about $65 per month.

I couldn't collect unemployment because I had quit my last job, at A&P Bush Haulage in New Jersey, and wasn't eligible for unemployment compensation.

But I got a job fairly quickly at the Shell Gas Station at 30th Avenue and 34th street. The station is still there, but under different owners. It was a pretty good job. I had a good boss. Working conditions weren't bad. All I had to do was some tune-ups and odd jobs like fix generators and things like that. No major repairs like transmission work or motor work. Mostly just fuel pumps. Odds and ends. It was pretty good. I worked there a year, and they treated me well.

But there was something fishy about the place, that I could never understand. I was given three raises in one year's time, and I never asked for them. The boss would come up to me and say "Well, we're going to give you more money. We're going to give you more money. We're going to give you more money."

I was pleased. I wouldn't turn it down. But I saw no reason for it. It wasn't a question that I was terribly busy and swamped with work and that I was producing. I was working my eight hours a day, and once in a while if I didn't have anything to do I would clean up around the station, just to keep myself busy.

But anyway I got three raises in that first year, and I was pleased, and I guess they were too. But there was something funny that I couldn't understand.

After about a year and a month, they suddenly told me that they had gotten someone else for the job. I don't know why. They didn't give me an explanation. They decided they were going to try somebody else. They said they were satisfied with my work but they were going to try someone else.

So, I thought maybe they got someone for less money or something like that. I really felt bad because I liked the place and I liked the people. But there was a mysterious thing about the place that I couldn't quite make out. One guy seemed to have control of the station, and it wasn't the boss. It was one of the workers. Whenever anything was done, or was done wrong, or done on the qt., nobody was supposed to know about it. But somehow he would find out. He was sort of the informer for the main boss. But he was awfully quiet about it. You would never see him talk to anybody. He would stay by himself all the time. It was mysterious.