From The Pizza Chronicles
I used to work for a small, unnamed pizza manufacturing
and distribution franchise
in the Detroit
area. I didn't stay for too long, but long enough to develop and conclusively establish this sweeping axiom
: There are some real wackos out there
. One night I was almost mauled by a rabid rottweiler
, then robbed and/or killed by a cult-family of Children-of-the-Corn-ish
young hoodlums. Amid the terrifying lunacy of it all I was thinking, "well, at least I'll have a cool story
One of our drivers quit without notice the other day and everyone had to scramble to cover his shift. I got bumped from late to closing, which I didn't really mind because --hey-- what use have I for sleep? Anyway, I had to take a triple at around 11:30 pm that would reaffirm my lack of faith in humanity.
The first delivery was in a nice subdivision and went fine except for the $0.12 tip. The second was in a very large Ford factory complex several miles away. I'm still amazed that I managed to find the guy who ordered (or at least someone willing to pay the $13.67) in the small city of warehouses, hangars, large, nondescript buildings, and endless seas of parking lot. I spent 10 minutes navigating just one elephantine semi trailer parking lot. Not too different from a normal parking lot, really, except the spaces were like ten times larger. Now, I'm not usually self-conscience about driving a Neon
, but there in that semi parking lot, zooming past row after endless row of abandoned semi trailer, dwarfed even by the lines etched in three-foot-thick yellow paint, I must say I felt a little inadequate. I kept having visions of the "Lego scene" from Time Bandits.
The third delivery was among the strangest I've ever been on. It was just past midnight, and the house was in one of those rural slums where everyone but the residents and the pizza delivery drivers have the good sense to stay away from. Lucky for me, most of the addresses were obscured and/or they proceeded in a completely random order. 1765, 1837, 1233... who came up with this idea? Inching up this terrible dirt road I finally (about 40 minutes later) managed to find the house. The mailbox was right on the road and clearly marked, but the house was set back a few hundred feet and there was no driveway. I am not making this up. So I park on the road and start walking through the muddy grass and rotting wood. I had my trusty Maglight, but save for it's cone of harsh light I could see nothing else. There is a voice ahead of me and I just make out a form silhouetted against the shadows. It's a young man in drooping pants, about my height, and looking even more disheveled than I during my "grunge" phase.
"Yo, pizza dude," he slurred
. "You see me
I was kind enough to not point my flashlight in his face and walked slowly toward him. This kid is a mess. He looked like he'd been sleeping
or something. I explain that, because the delivery was so late the store threw in a 2-liter
and his pizza was half price. I figured it was best not to force him to do any math, so I offer, "your total will be $8.00 even."
"Hang on," he mumbled, and proceeded back up to the house.
I followed him and he leaves me on his "porch." I stood there admiring the filthy, shattered face of his home. Out in the yard and to the right of me I glimpse a very large, apparently very angry dog
. He began barking at me and appeared to be tugging at something, so I assumed he was tied down. There was almost no light coming from the house so I shined the flashlight on the dog. That was a mistake. It got really pissed off and started making all manner of loud
noises and I could see then that it was actually a small bear that happened to be shaped rather suspiciously like your common, every day 150-pound rottweiler. It was tethered to a cheap, chain-link fence
. At least, it probably was a cheap, chain-link fence once. The dog seemed to have slowly destroyed it over time. It fence not an enclosure, just a short divider that ran for a few dozen feet. Half of the vertical beams had been torn out of the ground. On one end the horizontal beam was drooping so far over it scraped the ground. Every time the dog lunged
at me the entire fence bent and shook and --as far as I was concerned-- almost came out of the damn ground. The dog was strong, and it didn't look like the fence would support too much weight. If it gave, there would have been nothing between me and him but a large pepperoni
. I had no problems with sacrificing the pie
to save my puny ass, but it was in a heat bag
and I didn't think I could get it out fast enough. Besides, the dog probably wanted to maim and kill me
, rather than the pizza. I stood there for about five minutes, nigh 10 feet from the demon dog
, as it barked and frothed and pulled at the fence. It looked like it ate scrawny, underpaid pizza delivery "dudes" on a regular basis, and I could just tell it was deciding which parts it was going to eat first.
Eventually the scary kid
came back out with a few bills and two handfuls of change. I didn't even bother counting it, just made haste for my car
As I walked back I glanced inside the house. There were lights on and I could see several teenage-sized bodies milling about. There were five or six of them so I guessed it was a party. But it was a Wednesday night. Odd time for a party if you ask me. I thought, "Well, maybe it's just a cult family or something. Like 'Children of the Corn
.'" Then: "Hmm... I better get out of here before they kill me and use my intestines for something I wouldn't normally approve of."
I was almost back to the car when I heard a voice yell from the house. I stopped and turned around.
"Hey!" someone called out to me. "Is that the pizza guy?!"
!" I yell back.
Oh good. Now they're going to come and kill me and preform some strange ritual with my blood
. I stood at the drivers side door with keys in hand to give whoever called a few minutes. I probably should have just left but I saw no reason to be rude to the cult children
. No one came so, slowly, cautiously, I get inside and start up the car. Still no one. I pulled away and went back to the store, all major organs and appendages accounted for.
So like I say: there are some real wackos out there