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A Pizza Story

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burning stickman

Joined: 05 Jul 2005
Posts: 11
Location: Paris, TN
A Pizza Story  Reply with quote  

I listened without hearing anything that was said, my boss's words making a dull background noise. I was reminded about Charlie Brown's teacher from the cartoon and it made me smile. I watched him drone on about all the mistakes the employees were making and how we needed to do better because he liked us and wanted to keep us as workers. Sometimes he would look at me and say something in the same monotonous voice that he used with everyone else and I would nod and agree without knowing what was said.

At these “inspirational” talks I always entertained notions about my boss that were unfounded, just to pass the time mind you. I make it a point to try and like everyone, so I believe these notions sprung to life to give me reasons to hate him. I still think he was a closet homosexual. The wife and two kids were just a good cover. So we sat and watched his mouth open and close and I thought about how much I hated my job, and about how I just wanted to go crazy sometimes.

Ralph looked like he had a lot of money. I worked in one of his pizza restaurants as a manager, but he had a lot of business on the side. He also owned real estate (which I still believe was a cover for a child pornography operation, though I’ve never found any shred of evidence to prove the positive) and he had his own construction crew. He had the appearance of someone who was used to giving orders and people following those orders without question. Questions took time, and time was money. That is one of the reasons that I think Ralph hated me. I did my job better than anyone else, but I hardly listened to him at all and I wouldn't follow his orders. I also hated Ralph. It was an odd relationship but it suited me because, like I said, I hated my job and he was part of it.

Ralph was a very large man. His body took on the shape of a pine tree, small at the base and growing wide at the hips and ass before thinning once again to come to a point at his unusually small head. The balding pate shrank the head in appearance even more, making it look extremely odd atop the bulking frame. His stomach had long since thrown itself over his belt in an attempt at escape, which caused him to waddle like a penguin when he walked. Sometimes when he backed up I expected to hear a beeping noise.
Yet for some reason I often had the notion that Ralph could run fast if he had to. It was strange that a fat man could look both lethargic and ready to bolt at the sign of trouble. I always carried the thought that he could speed away if someone were to chase him with an upraised knife. Or a pizza cuter. I often wondered if he could run fast if chased. I often wanted to find out.

I'm not sure how long the lecture actually went on, but I soon started singing Jimmy Buffet songs to myself in my head. Somewhere in the second chorus of Margaritaville everyone started to get up from their chairs to shake Ralph's hand. Behind the maracas and steel drums I could hear some people make their promises of doing better and trying harder. I stayed in my seat and finished the song.

Post Wed Jul 06, 2005 4:02 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website MSN Messenger
burning stickman

Joined: 05 Jul 2005
Posts: 11
Location: Paris, TN
Next Chapter  Reply with quote  

Days went past without Ralph making another appearance at the store. The other manager, Benny, said that they were the happiest few days he had ever spent in the store. Benny hated Ralph as much as I hated the fat man, but Benny’s voice always took a serious when we talked of chasing Ralph with pizza cutters, where as I always ended up laughing at the thought of Ralph’s lard ass hauling across the parking lot. We were discussing such fine points as these the day that the shit hit the fan.

Ralph liked to surprise his employees and took great pains to conceal his approach until the last minute when he could walk in and catch whatever slacking off he could. We never saw his SUV through the storefront windows when he decided to make his visits, and that day was no exception. Benny and I were standing at the pizza topping station and talking about Led Zeppelin when the sky outside went dark. Was it an eclipse? Was it Ragnarok? No, it was Ralph's bulky frame in the doorway of the restaurant. I could tell that something was wrong because Ralph was breathing very hard and the lumpish mass of his stomach, which his over-taxed polo shirt somehow managed to keep confined, quivered with each racking breath. "My...*hugh**puff, wheeze, puff*....broke....*puff, cough, gurgle*.....down."

"So what your trying to say is that you car broke down?" Benny asked with a sneer on his lips that he fought to keep from blossoming into a full-blown, gleaming smile.

“Yes…*wheeze, wheeze, snort.*” Ralph managed before he collapsed into one of the uncomfortable metal chairs that detoured people from sitting in the lobby and eating. As his weight settled into it I expected the unprepared legs of the chair to suddenly give way and bend outward in four directions under the surprise bulk of the sperm whale that was our boss.

“Do you want something to drink?” I asked after I was sure that the chair, which had never dreamed of having such a heap of shit piled onto it, was going to actually support Ralph. "I can get the hose out of the back if you want some water,” I added to myself under my breath.

"What!?" Ralph asked as he looked up with a sweaty mask of anger and disbelief on his face. Even a footstep away from fainting he caught my verbal jab and was ready to waste the rest of his air yelling a warning at me. He breathed in sharply to raise his voice, but, realizing that air was more useful if kept in the lungs, changed his mind and let it out in a slow wheeze.

Benny kicked my shoe. He already knew that the day had started off bad with Ralph entering in his current state and was warning me not to push. He looked at me and in his eyes I saw the hope that Ralph would spend his time in the store yelling over the phone at car dealers and mechanics rather than at us. Poor guys. They couldn't help it if Ralph never checked the oil or water in his car and drove it an average of ten miles over any speed limit sign that he saw testing his bounds of freedom. I lent a slight nod to Benny’s unspoken hope and walked toward the back of the store to get a bottle of water out of the employee cooler.

When I returned Ralph’s breathing had become more regular, but his man-tits still swelled up and down with the heavy breaths that he took. Ralph looked up at me when I handed him the bottle and grunted, which was as close as he would come to a thanks. I watched as he opened the bottle, put it to his lips and turned back his head. I believe more water spilled through the corners of his mouth to run down his shirt than actually made it to his throat to be swallowed. When he had emptied the bottle I handed him the other one that I had held in reserve in my other hand just as Benny came up from behind me to give Ralph the cordless phone from the office and the phone book. We turned to let Ralph compose himself and went to the other side of the counter where he couldn’t hear what we were saying. Benny looked at me with worried eyes when we got close to the oven and said, “Jesse is driving today.”

I didn’t need much more explanation to realize what Benny was worried about. Jesse was the only woman driver that we had hired that didn’t meet with Ralph’s strict code of his female employees. Ralph insisted that the women that working in his stores be model quality beautiful so that he would have eye candy when he walked in for inspections. Our store was right beside the college and had lured some fine young co-eds to drive and answer phones, and Ralph had run into trouble more that once for handing out propositions. I think he has handed out more money to keep certain employees quiet that in payroll.

I hired Jesse because as soon as she entered the store I liked her. She was about 5’2” and wiry, her eyes were cobalt blue and her hair was whatever color she had decided on whim to make it. The day she came looking for a job her hair was bleach blond and she wore a black biker’s jacket. I instantly knew that I was going to give her a job because I had grown tired of the prissy good girls that worked there who only talked about sororities and who went to the football game last night. Benny agreed with me and he hired her. I was the best decision we had ever made.

She soon surpassed all the other female drivers due to her fast driving, as well as the fact that she surprisingly had an incredible body. Under the bulky black jacket she hid a nice, firm pair of breasts, which she confined only in a sports bra so that when she came out of the walk-in cooler her nipples were clearly visibly through the pale yellow company shirt. When she wore her khaki pants to work instead of her everyday baggy jeans she had a tight ass that saw a workout in the gym at least a couple of times a week. Yet despite her nice body the thing that truly made Jesse sexy was the fact that she didn’t try to make herself sexy. The other girls at work looked as if the spent hours in front of a mirror every morning, where Jesse just woke up looking sexy. I know that for a fact due to waking up next to her several times in the morning. As well as having a great body she was also limber. Very limber.

Jesse was the only person at work that Ralph had an open distaste for. With everyone else he tried to be nice to their faces while inwardly hating them, but he made no disguise of hating Jesse. She never hid her distaste of Ralph either.

I knew without having to ask Benny that there would be friction between the two when she walked in due to Ralph’s current mood and Jesse’s bright blue hair that she was sporting. I looked at Benny and raised my eyebrow as I said, “Should we let the sparks fly or try to defuse the situation before it hits?”

“I ain’t in the mood for shit today man,” Benny said. “I think we should get Ralph out of here as soon as possible, before Jesse comes in.”

“What do you propose we do? I’d like nothing better than to get Ralph out of here but he’s tired and he’s already plopped his fat ass down, and he probably won’t move until he’s caught his breath. Which will be sometime in the next ice age.”

“All right, so lets go outside to smoke and when Jesse pulls up we’ll catch her before she comes in.”

“That’ll work. Can I bum a smoke? My Camels are in my car around the corner.”

“Sure that’s cool. I want to get out of the store anyway,” Benny said, pulling out his own pack of Turkish Royals.

As we rounded the corner of the oven I knew that it was too late to put our plan into action as I heard a resounding “Fuck you” come from the front of the store in Jesse’s voice. Apparently in our conversation Benny and I had not noticed the transition from Ralph yelling over the phone at various unseen people to him yelling at Jesse. When the lobby was in view I could see that Ralph had hauled himself out of the thankful chair so that he could stand over Jesse as he scolded her. He was shaking one of his sausage fingers at Jesse and as he talked three of his four chins quivered like a bridge in an earthquake. Ralph’s shot at intimidation by standing didn’t seem to have much effect on Jesse as she one again uttered “Fuck you”.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw Benny shake his head. Ralph turned his head toward us so quickly that I thought for a minute that it would set the rest of his body in an avalanche of flesh that would wash over us. I was suddenly reminded of the mass of grape jam from the original Blob movie as it rolled down the streets.

“What the fuck are you two thinking letting her come in here and deliver with fucking blue hair?” Ralph’s voice had taken on a high pitched quality as he continued to weez more than breath. “You two are my fucking managers and you let her get away with blue hair? Jesus, Mother Mary, and Joseph on a bicycle! What do you think I pay you idiots for?”

Ralph always had a knack for uttering obscure phrases when he tried to curse, thinking that they added to the weight of his words when all they did were send your mind onto another train of thought as you wondered where the hell he came up with such phrases. I was wondering about the bicycle when I heard Benny begin what I knew was going to be a losing battle.

“You pay us to run this store, and we do a good job,” Benny said in a restrained voice. He was trying not to yell.

“You call this a good job?” Ralph shot back. “ What do you think it says to the customers when this fruit rolls up and delivers their pizza?”

“Hey, fuck you Ralph,” I yelled before I could stop myself. “You don’t have to call fucking names.”

My anger had been rising since I saw Ralph yelling at Jesse, but it boiled over upon hearing him insult her. Since I was, in a way, dating her I felt I had to defend her somehow. Benny reached out and grabbed my arm, either in a warning to calm down or to stay me from throwing a punch should I decide to. I looked at Jesse and though her anger at Ralph shone in her eyes I also saw a hint of thanks for my coming to her aid.

“What,” Ralph yelled, the word more a statement than a question. “It’s my god damned store! I believe I can say any god damned thing I want to! You shut your damn hole before you get too deep in this too!”

Benny worked his way in between Ralph and myself, raising his hands in a gesture of peace. “The customers are probably surprised and delighted when Jesse delivers their pizza fast and hot,” Benny said a little more tersely than I think he wanted. “She is our best driver, and if her having blue hair doesn’t effect the way she works then I say she can keep it.”

I could tell that Benny was upset about Ralph questioning his abilities as a manager. Benny, like myself, prided himself on the fact that we managed the highest grossing store that Ralph owned. We kept cost down and revenues up, and this is one of the main reasons that Ralph hated us as well. Because he knew that he couldn’t fire us, despite our inability to follow his orders, and still run the store with as much efficiency. “You two guys are a piece of work,” he said shaking his head at us. “Which one of you is fucking this little…”

I didn’t let him finish as I swung over Benny’s shoulder, aiming a punch at Ralph’s mound of flesh he called a face. My fist only caught air as Ralph bobbed out of reach and Benny held me back at the same time. The back of Ralph’s legs hit the table behind him and for a moment he teetered in slow motion, arms akimbo and one leg in the air like some grotesquely obese stork, fighting gravity. I expected to see the table turned to a pile of sticks with the wrecking ball of Ralph’s body on top of it, but amazingly he regained his balance. He turned on me with all the fires of hell in his eyes, which only mirrored my own. I could see the want and need to attack me and take out his anger on me, for which I was fully ready. Then I saw the realization that he couldn’t because he needed us and was impotent at the moment because of that fact. The same grace was not extended to Jesse however.

“You’re fired,” he bellowed at her, turning with all the swift gracefulness of a water buffalo to stare at her. His anger at us immediately erupted in this final statement, directed solely at Jesse. “Get out of my fucking store.”

“Fuck you,” she shouted back at him in retort. She turned much more gracefully than Ralph and walked away toward the entrance. As she neared the double glass doors she raised her boot-clad foot and planted it on the right panel and pushed outward. It swung out and time seemed to slow down as it hit the glass storefront window. I cringed, expecting a shower of broken glass but the door bounced off with just a loud bang. I exhaled the breath I had sucked in and held as Jesse swept through the open portal, grabbing the closing door on the way through and slamming it closed. Failing to achieve breakage in the first attempt Jesse succeeded in slamming the door hard enough to put a spider web of cracks through the glass. I hadn’t seen that coming.

Post Wed Jul 06, 2005 4:26 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website MSN Messenger
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