From The Pizza Chronicles
I really enjoy getting all sweaty and disgusting, so I look forward with great anticipation to summertime and the above-ninety treasures it always has in store. Standing around a 480 degree pizza
oven in a small, non air conditioned building for six hours a day is great for that, but occasionally I have to go out and deliver a pie. Darn air conditioned car!
Summer time being what it is (you know, hot
), two things always happen: people continue ordering pizzas, and their bastard children pull their arsenals of water weaponry
out of storage. These two immutable dimensions of the summer season came together one afternoon in a swirling nexus of pepperoni
, advanced guerrilla warfare
teenage babysitters, and high pressure streams of water emanating from phallic
-shaped pieces of injection-molded plastic
Weaving and twisting about the subdivision, I came to the house. I pulled into the driveway and checked quickly that I had taken the correct pizza when I left the store. Satisfied, I waddled to the door, pants sticking to my damp skin in unstrategic places. The sun blazed down on me and my pale skin. Even behind a pair of dark sunglasses, I squinted (but that mostly comes from spending my entire life in front of a computer monitor).
The door opened and a young woman] and a small dog stepped onto the porch. The young woman stayed pretty much stationary, while the small dog ran off, barking excitedly at its new-found freedom. The young woman chased after it. I just stood there, trying to act as helpful and empathetic
while not actually doing anything. She grabbed the small dog and tossed it back into the house. Pizza
was exchanged for money
, and I turned to leave.
I started walking back and, like a cross between Rambo
and Lord of the Flies
, there stood a young boy --six or seven or five-- pointing the most unlikely water weapon at me. It was huge. It looked like the kid was carrying a garishly adorned bazooka
made of fluorescent plastic. I just stood there, stupidly, while he cradled his cannon. He was grinning like a customs officer who had just snapped a pair of rubber gloves on his hands. I smiled sheepishly and made a desperate plea for dryness: "You wouldn't want to get your pizzas all wet, would you?" Not that I still had them with me --I was speaking more in the metaphorical sense.
Then something up and to the left caught my eye. I turned and saw another kid, similarly armed, perched up in a tree. Terror possessed me. The young woman began yelling something, and the dog started barking, but they were muffled and washed out. I concentrated on the two guerrillas
before me. The first cannon
fired, and I raised the heat bag
as a shield and ducked for the car. A high-pressure stream of water ricocheted off the nylon with a low ripping sound. But even as I dodged and weaved my back was exposed to the sniper
in the tree, and he took the shot. The Marine sniper school should remember to give him a call in a few years. He hit my leg and ribs before I could take a running dive for the car. I quickly put the windows up, locked the doors, and banged my head against the steering wheel a few times. I pulled the document titled "List of Things to do When Delivering Pizzas Gets to Harrowing" out of the glove box and crossed off "become a hired killer/professional hit man." I realized then that I just didn't have what it takes.
Reaching into my pocket, I pulled out the mass of bills the girl had given me. After the price of the pizza, there was about $1.50 left. That was my "tip
" for being ambushed by those bastard kids. Shameful.
The whole incident motivated me to better arm myself, and a few days later I scouted the isles of the local Meijer
in search of water weaponry. I must say, things have gotten a lot more complicated since I was a lad. In my day, squirt guns were squirt guns. They were simple and straight-forward. You filled them up with water and squeezed the trigger. When they were empty, you hurled
them at your adversary. But now kids arm themselves with these more-than-vaguely-phallic-looking shoulder-mounted bazookas with pressurization chambers, laser sights, and a printed copy of the Geneva Convention Guidelines for Ethical Conflicts
. One hyperactively
designed box screamed, "Shoots water hard enough to punch a dime-sized hole through tank armor!" Yay!
So I bought a smallish pistol (only 3,000 psi
), and now keep it stowed in my driver's side door. Damn kids. If it's a fight they want, it's a fight they'll get! I began to consider keeping it filled with pizza sauce
My quest to stay dry has taken an odd turn of late, though. Shawn, our trailer-dwelling teenage store manager touched off an ever-escalating conflict waged in water balloons and other hydromunitions. Ian the Donkey Boy stopped by the store one day with his hot-ass girlfriend
. Shawn thought it would be funny to peg him with a water balloon, and so he did. Shamed and soaking before his woman, Ian vowed, "This ain't over Shawn!" And it wasn't.
The conflict quickly pulled hapless bystanders in, and a few days later Ian and Justin the Arabian Stallion could be seen trying to squirt each other with spray bottles filled with various lethal chemicals.
I had taken to keeping my squirt gun on my person, as I never know what to expect when I'm in the store, plus I'm just the paranoid sort. It was mostly empty, so I tossed it on the counter while I got some more pizza sauce.
Justin, apparently wrapped up in the ongoing water war, grabbed the device and aimed for Ian's bulbous head. Ian ducked and weaved around the strings of water, made a lunge for a cabinet, and came up with a squirt bottle full of Windex
. He stayed low, then sprang up and fired. Acrid blue liquid pierced the air. Justin bopped and grabbed for a more powerful weapon: industrial bleach
. He aimed and fired, the slippery toxin hitting Ian in a pungent splatter. Ian recoiled and withdrew to the sinks in back. He crouched, waiting for his foe, clutching a spray bottle of oven cleaner
. They chased about the building for several minutes, blasting at each other. One with a concentrated alkaline
, the other with a class four carcinogen
. For reasons I can't begin to understand, they were both still alive the next day.
So now I keep my squirt gun filled with benzine
. Damn kids. It's all fun and games until someone receives third degree burns to their neck and face.