The pizza place close to my house

I went over my brother’s place to hang out and watch some basketball. We drank some beers and ordered some pizzas, we played some cards and I then I got tired and called it a night. “Take the rest of the pizza with you,” my brother told me. “You sure? You don’t want any?” I always feel bad going over somebody else’s apartment and taking anything home, but I really did want that pizza, so I didn’t put up much more of a fight when my brother told me he didn’t want it.

I love pizza so much. It’s been a constant in my life and, as I’ve grown up, as my love for pizza has grown up, so has my appetite for pizza. It’s one of those foods that I could eat continuously without having to stop because I’m too full. If I’m eating pizza for dinner, I need a minimum of four slices just to be satisfied. But I could easily throw back a full pie. And I’m not talking any of those weenie personal pizzas. I’m talking eight real slices.

It was just my brother and me, but it’s always better to get more pizza than less pizza, and so we ordered two whole pies, knowing that there would be a few slices left over. I headed back to my place, only like five blocks away, but when I got to where I was maybe one block away, I saw my pizza place, right on the corner. I didn’t think about this. I’ve never had to think about this, because I’ve never walked back from my brother’s place holding a pizza box.

And so I thought to myself, what if my pizza guy sees me walking past his pizza place and I’m holding a different pizza box? You might think this a little egocentric of me, just assuming that these guys have nothing better to do than stare out the window all night and watching what I’m up to. But that’s exactly how it is.

This pizza place has been there forever. It’s one of these restaurants that changes owners like once every six months. And so something’s not right, not with the business, I mean, the pizza’s good, that’s where I always buy my pizza when I’m home, but maybe the location? I really don’t know what it could be. They have an A rating stamped on the door. They’re all really nice. Like I said, yeah, the pizza’s good.

But there’s never a line. They’re never too busy so as not to notice people walking by. I thought to myself, I’m being crazy, they’re not going to see me, I’ll just hold the box to my side and walk by as fast as possible without …

“Hey! You!” the pizza guy came outside, “Yeah, I see you. I can see the pizza box behind you. What the hell man?”

So I was like, “Hey! Oh, sorry, yeah I didn’t see you. Listen, I’m coming back from my brother’s. We ordered way too much pizza so I’m bringing back the extras. I love your pizza, we were just …”

“Well, why didn’t get pizza from us? Come on man!”

“No, it’s just that, you know, he lives a little that way, so we just …”

“So you what? Why didn’t you just give us a call? We’ll deliver! We deliver anywhere. Or on the Internet. You could have ordered on the Internet.”

And I didn’t know what to say. I shouldn’t have said anything. I don’t owe this guy anything. Look, I get it, you thought, I’ll buy this pizza place, I’ll turn it around. Where five or six owners before me couldn’t get the business right, I’ll somehow make it right. But whatever, maybe the oven’s cursed or something. Like the pizza comes out all right, but nobody ever walks by. I don’t know. I have no idea. But I couldn’t let it go and I kept running my mouth.

“No, it’s just, the pizza place by my brother’s, they do the brick oven style, and it was closer, so you know, we just …”

“Brick oven? Come on man. We have a great oven. Look, just next time, call us up, all right?”

“Yeah, definitely, you got it.”

And I went home and felt like shit, like man, do I have to have pizza again tomorrow? The next day? Like do I have to show up at this guy’s pizza place, like a penance? I didn’t go the next day, or the next day. I had so much leftover pizza that I didn’t need to, and the day after that I wanted Chinese food. And then I worked a couple of night shifts and all of the sudden it was the next week.

That’s when I was like, yeah, maybe I can go for some pizza. So I walked down the block and there was this big sign, “New! Brick Oven Pizza!” and I was like, fuck, I should have just kept my mouth shut. I walked in and the guy was like, “Where’ve you been? Look, I got one of those brick ovens.”

I had to order brick oven pizza. I didn’t even want brick oven pizza. I made the whole thing up about brick oven pizza. Nobody in New York wants brick over pizza, we all just eat regular pizza. It’s the best. And I felt bad, like the guy made me buy a whole pie, like he didn’t make me, but that’s what I always get, a whole pie, and so right away he was like, “A whole pie, right?” all smiling, and I was like, “Yeah! All right! A whole pie!”

And it was terrible, way overcooked. The cheese was all squeaky from, I don’t know what from, the oven, the brick? It was terrible. I never went back. The place was out of business in like two weeks. Every time I left my house I’d be looking over my shoulder, expecting to see this guy, the pizza guy, screaming a big, “Thanks a lot for ruining my business, asshole!”