Undercover Cop Never Knew Selling Drugs Was Such Hard Work

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Issue 3908

White History Year Resumes

WASHINGTON, DC—Scholars say there is a remarkable wealth of documented white history to explore this coming March through December.

Moral Tacked Onto End Of Man's Life

NORTH PLATTE, NE—Immediately following his death Tuesday, a moral was hastily tacked onto the life of North Platte resident Roy Brooks. "As Roy's life plainly illustrated, you'll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar," said Rev. Paul Winters, speaking from Brooks' death bed at St. Augustus Memorial Hospital. "If there's anything this man taught us, it is surely that." Responding to the statement, Brooks' loved ones agreed that they had learned a valuable lesson.

U.S. Capitol Cleaning Turns Up Long-Lost Constitution

WASHINGTON, DC—Lost for nearly two years, the U.S. Constitution was found Tuesday behind a couch in the Governor's Reception Room. "Wow, I forgot all about that thing," said U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), who found the historic document while vacuuming. "Nobody knew what happened to it. Guess it must've fallen back there during a meeting." After making the find, Dodd spent several minutes rereading some of his favorite old amendments.

Rich First-Grader Buys Whole Sheet Of Gold Stars

BREMERTON, WA—Lakeside Elementary first-grader Max Carr, son of Boeing CEO Robert Carr, used a small portion of his $100 weekly allowance Monday to buy himself a sheet of the gold stars used to reward academic achievement. "I don't get why all the kids work so hard to get good grades just for a sticker," Carr said. "I only got a C-minus on my phonics homework, but Mommy took me to the mall, and now I have 10 gold stars—more than anybody in the whole class." Carr said his "dumb classmates have no idea" that students can simply purchase a sheet of "Great Job!" Mickey Mouse stickers at a store.

After 10 Months Of Bitter Struggle, Downstairs Neighbor Masters 'Jumpin' Jack Flash'

GAINESVILLE, FL—After 10 months of bitter, around-the-clock struggle, pizza-delivery driver and aspiring guitarist Darren Lowell, 23, has finally mastered The Rolling Stones' "Jumpin' Jack Flash," his upstairs neighbor reported Tuesday. "I'm glad he finally nailed it," neighbor Jeremy Quinlan said. "From what I could hear through my living-room floor these past 10 months, he was really locked in an epic battle with that elusive 'dunh-dunh, da-da-da da-da-da da-da-da' riff. It was truly like Ahab and the whale." Next week, Lowell is slated to embark on his next ambitious project, Van Halen's "Eruption," which is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2004.

Movie Marketed As Six Different Genres

NEW YORK—Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind, the Miramax film based on the memoirs of Gong Show creator Chuck Barris, is being marketed as six different genres, sources reported Tuesday. "So far, I've seen TV ads making it look like a romantic comedy, a spy thriller, a Hollywood satire, a straightforward biopic, and a strange, Being John Malkovich-esque mind-bender," said Daniel Taubman, 24, of Chapel Hill, NC. "I heard there's also one that makes it look like a chick flick, playing up the whole Drew Barrymore/Julia Roberts angle, but I haven't seen it. It probably runs on Lifetime or Oxygen or something."

Why Can't We Live In Enlightened Topless Europe?

I realize that speaking out in favor of Europe is not a wise thing to do these days, but I must give credit where credit is due. My tour of Europe last summer opened my eyes to a rich culture where people place a premium on conversations about philosophy and ideas rather than last night's episode of Friends. Food is prepared and savored, not popped in the microwave and inhaled. And women are free to expose their breasts, not forced to hide them behind layers of constricting fabric. Why, oh, why, can't we live in enlightened topless Europe?
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Undercover Cop Never Knew Selling Drugs Was Such Hard Work

PHILADELPHIA—Rick Bastone, 31, an officer with Philadelphia's 23rd Precinct, has gained newfound respect for America's hard-working drug dealers ever since going undercover to sell narcotics.

The worn-out Bastone.

"I had no idea how tough this was," said Bastone, standing on a dilapidated corner in 20-degree weather while awaiting a cocaine drop-off Monday. "I guess I imagined it being like in the movies: drinking champagne, hot-tubbing with honeys, and cruising in customized Escalades while watching the cash roll in. But here I am, freezing my ass off. I've got to say, these drug-dealing scumbags really earn their pay."

Assigned to the PPD's undercover narcotics division on Feb. 22, Bastone said he expected his life as a drug dealer to be glamorous and hedonistic. His preconceptions were shattered after just a few days of grueling, firsthand experience.

"I thought being a cop was hard, but it's not half as hard as being a pusher," Bastone said. "You're hustling on the streets all day, then going to parties at night to build up clientele. And it's not like you can enjoy yourself at these parties. When you're there, you're networking and sizing up competitors and setting up deals. There's hardly a second to breathe, much less get your swerve on."

Unlike law enforcement, Bastone said drug-dealing is a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week job.

"My best customer knocks on my door at all hours whenever he's in need of a heroin fix," Bastone said. "I'd love to tell him to get lost, but he'd probably just go to someone else's corner and take his contacts with him. Then there's the constant pressure to sell: I've got to keep upping my purchases from my distributor, or else they'll give my corner to someone else. Christ, I need a vacation."

Dealing drugs, Bastone said, also demands a tremendous amount of knowledge and expertise.

"First, I had to have the metric system down cold," Bastone said. "Then, I spent almost two weeks learning the weight of a gram of coke by feel. Plus, you have to always stay on top of the current street lingo, which is constantly changing—and not just the drug slang, but slang for everything from currency to getting a drink. Cops don't have to know any of that."

Contributing to Bastone's stress level is his growing distrust of Gary "Muffinhead" Yarbo, a small-time, oft-incarcerated dealer used by the PPD as a means to help undercover officers enter the drug scene.

"I've always got to keep one eye on what I'm doing and one eye on Muffinhead," Bastone said. "I know he won't rat me out on purpose, but he's not the brightest guy. Just one slip-up, and I've either ruined months of backbreaking work on the street or I'm a dead man. Man, all this, and you don't even get health insurance."

Heidi Bastone, the officer's wife, has noticed the change in her husband's view toward those on the other side of the drug war.

"Rick always used to talk about 'the lazy drug dealers,'" Heidi said. "Not anymore. He's always talking about how amazed he is that guys like [local cocaine kingpin] Dean 'Powder' Edwards have been doing this for 20 years. I really don't think Rick can last another six months, so hopefully he'll have a solid case built by then. I sure hope so. I don't think I can stand much more of his bitching about how he spent all day hauling around kilos of uncut Colombian."