Tony delivered all the pizza orders to the our neighborhood near the
ocean. No other place delivered this far from downtown, and Tony did
that for us, six nights a week, in his Tercel. His brother Richard had
recently died in a car wreck, and before that, Tony and Richard
tag-teamed. Tony's father owned the restaurant.
He'd hand me five extra takeout menus, and say, "For your lucky lovers."
The women at the dog park would hassle each other about him. The dog
park chicks called him 'Hotslice.'
One evening, after a delivery, he asked me if he could smoke on my
front steps, and I said, "You never need to ask, just light up and have
one, and can I join you?" I was eating delivered pizza every night,
just to see him.
After he left, I brought out a roll of paper towels and cleaned my
front steps of pollen, dust and disgusting little insects. I wondered
where my pride had been all these years, why I hadn't wanted my front
door to seem friendly and charming....
Another night, I invited him in to share the Vegetarian without onions,
and he said he had nothing else to do, no more deliveries to make. We
sat in the living room and didn't say a lot. What felt important was
enjoying the pizza, his pizza, my pizza. Pizza that had been delivered
to me by him and now eaten with him.
"I love the thicker crust," I said, taking a slice. He nodded his head.
"It's so, so gooey," I added, and he smiled at my face.
He told me I was pretty, and asked me if I liked green olives or black
I said "I hate green, but love black," which was absolutely true. He
kissed me, and I tasted black olives in his mouth. I imagined black
olive wreaths on his brother's casket. I wanted to taste them strongly,
and I knew what sad men needed.
He left the next morning. During the night, when he was asleep, and I should have been,
I walked around and
looked at his things. Leather jacket. His cell phone. It felt
Meg Pokrass is the author of the recently released Lost and Found. She lives in San
Francisco and is an editor for SmokeLong Quarterly.
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