World Travel
New Original Fiction
Books & Movies

Film Space
Movies in depth
Dreamscapes Two
More Fiction
Lifestyles Archive
Politics & Living
Sam Hawksmoor
New fiction


25 Years Online
••• The International Writers Magazine -
Underage Buyers Wanted

My Stint as a Spy
• Morgan Kelly
I was a bored teenager looking for a way to make some cash ...

Umbrella drinks

I’m descended from a long line of spies. Well, that’s not entirely true—you can find my family’s equipment at the Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. from our entanglement in the Watergate scandal, but none of them were actually spies. I was, though, for about a year.

I’ve always sought adrenaline; most kids go for roller coasters, and don’t get me wrong, I did, but I looked elsewhere, too. Surprisingly, that wasn’t how I found the job. I was a bored teenager looking for a way to make some cash, and I found myself scrolling through the monotonous, identical, ugly pages of Indeed, my least favorite online job listing service. Ghost tour guide and English tutor and…underage buyer? “Well,” I thought, “I’m underage, and I buy things: my interest is piqued!”

The requirements for the job were simple. You had to be under 21. That’s it. After getting the job, you would ride around town with a law enforcement officer to various smoke and vape shops, liquor stores, bars, and restaurants, and you would try to buy alcohol or cigarettes. I, personally, was itching to say, “Can I get a pack of Marlboro Red 100s?” a phrase which I practiced incessantly in my head.

Much to my dismay, I never put this phrase to use; the officers preferred I buy alcohol instead. So, all I had to do was bring a Bud Lite up to the counter or ask for one at the bar, show them my authentic ID if they asked for it, and, if they sold to me, text the officer or go out to the car with the goods. The officers would handle everything else.

Getting the job was easier than I could have imagined. At the time, my dad was working for the local sheriff’s office, and he worked closely with a state agency that enforces drug and alcohol laws. I told him about the job I found on Indeed, to which he replied: “Oh. Well, I’ll talk to the agency and see what they can do.” The next week, I was riding around the county in the back seat of a big, black truck, sandwiched between two law enforcement officers.

My first job wasn’t the regular stop at a mom-and-pop shop, dingy gas station, or suspicious liquor store. Not that day—not my first day. Instead, I’d be going into bars and restaurants. It felt as if there were a rock in my throat. Below that, all the organs in my body seemed to disappear, leaving a wormhole in their place, sucking in all the oxygen and selfishly storing it there. What remained was my heart, which was hammering against my ribcage.

I was probably shaking vigorously as I walked straight past the hostess and up to the bar, where I took a seat not too close to the end but not too close to the middle—because my position at the bar would give away my inexperience with alcohol in general and scream to everyone in the restaurant, “HEY LOOK EVERYONE I’M WORKING FOR THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE.”

 I asked for a Bud Lite (instead of something that came with a tiny pink umbrella), and I know I was shaking when he asked for my ID. Of course, I wasn’t doing anything illegal. I was literally employed for this by the law. I had signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). I’d get my payment in cash by the end of the day. Still, I was vibrating.

The bartender looked down at my ID, slowly up at me, then back down at my picture. He handed it back and placed my Bud Lite in front of me. I told him I’d like to close my tab, paid with the cash the officers had given me, and sent them the update. A minute later, they were walking through the door. When I saw the bartender slam his towel on the counter and steam out the door, everything went white.

I say white because that’s what happens when I get an adrenaline rush. Things don’t go black—I don’t faint—it’s more like everything shifts to third person, and I don’t see through my own eyes. It feels like someone else is controlling me, like I’m a character in a video game.

I got my first buy on my first job. I did great! So why did I feel so guilty as I returned to the truck? I collapsed in the seat, grabbed the reporting forms, and filled them in as the officers had instructed. I had been waiting in the backseat for what felt like the entirety of the Ice Age when the officers finally came back. They told me the bartender hadn’t been fired, just sent home for the day. The restaurant would have to pay a small fine, but their alcohol license wouldn’t be revoked for a first offense. I felt a little better and prepped myself for the next few hours of work.

I received two more buys that day, which, they told me, was above average for just one day. I wasn’t celebrating, though. I remember the last stop clearly. I went into the bar and ordered my beer and received it, like usual. I went back out to the car. Except, when the officers came back this time, they were arguing.
“I’m going to call ICE.”
“Don’t call ICE.” The defending officer was apathetic. It seemed to him more of an inconvenience to report the bartender who sold me the drink than a desire to “protect and serve.”
“I have to. She didn’t have a valid U.S. ID.”
“It’s not that big of a deal.” Meanwhile, I’m in the back seat ripping my hair out.
“I’m going to call ICE.”
“Holy shit,” I thought. “Holy shit.” ICE. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Did I just ruin this woman’s life? Is she going to get deported because I ordered a beer at her bar when I wasn’t 21? My dad tried to calm me down when I got home, telling me that they don’t make ICE reports for just one person. He said that the officers would be laughed at for reporting her for a nonviolent crime. Still, I worried about the reporting officer’s tone; it almost felt like she was going to report the bartender to ICE just because she wanted to.
That guilt stayed with me for every job I had working as an underage buyer. And that eventually ended my short stint as a spy.

Villon American Bar I know it wasn’t my fault that she was going to be reported. I was working a job to get paid. And I was good at it. Even so, that guilt is still with me, because my morals aren’t compatible with those of the spy profession’s. I have morals, and the spy profession has none.

© Kelly Morgan 3.1.24
Kelly is a junior at the College of Charleston majoring in English (with a concentration in Writing, Rhetoric, and Publication).

More lifestyles

Share |


© Hackwriters 1999-2024 all rights reserved - all comments are the individual writer's own responsibility -
no liability accepted by or affiliates.