Pizza

I like pizza. It’s easy and if the people making it aren’t cretins, it can taste between very good and delicious. I have a place I go to regularly enough that the food (particularly good in its own right) is only part of the whole experience. The other part is the clientele. Probably my ‘favorite’ is Paolo, who claims to have been a stage hand at ‘La Scala’ for twenty years. Before he retired. To Brooklyn.

Unsurprisingly, I ran into Tommy there last week. He looked a little better than the time before, like at least he’d gotten some sun.

-Well, I was down there.

-Down where?

-Where do you think?

-Right, looking after Bern? I thought you said January. I was wondering, is that why I haven’t seen you ’round.

-I wasn’t sure he was gonna make it, from what I was hearing. So, yeah, I went down.

-And?

-He’s fine. I mean, he’s all fucked up. But he’s fine. Or will be.

-So, good.

-Yeah. And it was nice to get a little sun.

-I’m sure. Hey, how’s that thing coming?

-Oh. Man. I should have picked a different book.

-What’s wrong with Daisy Miller?

-She went off. Jesus. I sent her a copy and she was like ‘She’s a fucking Whoor!’ and like an idiot I didn’t understand her, I was like, ‘A what?’ ‘A WHOOR!’ I was like, what the hell is she saying? ‘A professional. You gave me a book where my daughter is a street-walker! What kind of asshole are you!’
I was like, damn, it’s literature. I didn’t say it was gonna be easy.
But she wasn’t having it, wanted her money back! I was like, no, Lady, I did the work. You bought it. It’s yours.
I don’t want this trash! How could you do this to my daughter! You’re a monster!
What a pain in the ass.

-So you finished?

-Sure. And she’s pretty much right. Daisy’s kind of a tramp. Mostly she’s just in over her head. But still, I get her point. Hey, I’m going out to watch the ponies. What are you doing, you busy?

-Well.

-Come on. I’m gonna throw a hundred bucks at ’em, see if I can’t win the money I gotta pay to Malinovskiya. I fucking hate having to go into my own pocket for that.

-Sure, what the hell. Sounds like a winning plan.

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Found on a scrap of paper.

This was what did it for her: after seeing the wolf around her property for a couple months, one afternoon as she was getting out of her car the wolf came out of the forest and started towards her – its eyes fixed on hers. Like the last time she froze for a second, wondering if it was coming to say hello, or maybe to beg for something, but this time when she looked into its eyes she saw how intent it was to simply close the distance between them. It just wanted to get to her and it was staring at her simply to make sure she didn’t escape.

Panic whispering at her, she climbed back into the car and without thinking, started it up. The wolf kept coming, it seemed to take her vanishing into the car as merely something else to be figured out. When it was maybe a yard away from her door it took a sniff and looked up at her. Then turned and started to walk around the back of the car, clearly with the intent of checking for some other way to get at her. When it was directly behind her she put the car in gear and floored it, feeling a combined nausea and relief when she heard the wolf get knocked down, and then felt the car bump over its body. The wolf made no sound. She put the car back into forward and drove over it again, then backed over it one more time, now really feeling sick, and then a little further down the drive so she could see its corpse. It was certainly dead. She called the local wildlife control office and within the hour an officer came out and took the dead animal away.

She waited for his arrival inside the car and even after he’d gone, she didn’t feel safe. Throughout the night she kept waking up and going to the living room to look out at the stain on the driveway, as though it could come to life and turn into yet another.