I found the following short from my first year of college recently and thought the web was a better catalog for sharing the memory.
“Ring-a-ling, hear them ring,” the phone cries out as you clock in. So begins yet another day of tedium in a place that you have grown to hate in but a few short weeks of work. Only seconds after entering the fate of your clothes are sealed, as the heavy musk of the pizza parlor permeates your very being. With a heavy sigh you resign to what must be and answer the phone before any berating finds itself your way. Straining through the static on the line you manage to take the order. Hanging up the phone you coo painfully to yourself, “It’s time to make a pizza.”
Being that it was the first thing you learned to make; a pizza isn’t that difficult of an order. Yet you dread it because invariably things complicate themselves when you work. Shuffling off to the freezer you pry open the door that an army of midgets would have trouble budging and gather up the 18” crust. Primary ingredient in tow you amble over to the pizza counter and prepare for assembly. “Grab the oven,” exclaims the night shift manager, much to your dismay. Wishing to be the upright employee, you do as you’re told and take up the task of extracting finished goods and shoveling them hand-over-fist into their respective packages.
A chrome monolith set apart from everything else in the place by its sheer unsightly bulk, the oven is a necessary evil. Untamable, it is the source of the most injuries, as certain finesse is required when dealing with it. If caution is not used serious burns will magically find their way onto hands and arms; furthermore, none who interact with the behemoth retain any sibilance of hair on their extremities.
Such is the price one pays when working in the Parlor. It’s a far better job than others your age are able to find. There can be no doubt that you make substantially more than they do, you deliver.
Five minutes elapse before you’re able to return to your station and begin work on the assembly of the order. It’s a five topping deal, the daily special in fact, all for only $21.95. Taking the pan firmly in hand you roll out the globular mound of dough with practiced ease. It glides easily to the edges, the underside pre-coated in oil for malleability. From there you apply the sauce, an ingredient which must be used sparingly lest the pizza become a slide from which all of the delectable morsels careen after baking. Against what most people are taught about pizza manufacturing the next topping is pepperoni. The red circles go on in concentric rings completed by a center bull’s-eye slice. The next few topping you splatter on without a hitch: sausage, always a favorite; bacon, must be a meat lover; green peppers, nice accents for any pizza but they best keep some Tums around; however, the final item makes you stop cold where you stand. You stare transfixed in awe at order to assure yourself that your eyes are not deceiving you. Mushrooms, the fifth and final topping on what would have otherwise been an amazing pizza manages to turn your stomach. This disgusting change of pace notwithstanding, the pizza is already slightly behind schedule thanks to the all too regular diversion of the oven and must be completed posthaste. Resigning your fate you drop your hand into the substance which you both hate and fear. As the ooze overtakes your hand you shiver visibly, yet your resolve holds strong and in moments you emerge victorious with a dripping handful of nasty. Tossing them on with distain you lament the loss of a promising pizza, struck low in its prime by such a foul ingredient. With a deft flick of the wrist you free any remaining ooze from your hand and proceed to the final topping, the cheese goes on without a hitch. The fate of this poor pizza sealed you pop it into the cavernous oven and dart off to deal with the mounting pile of orders taken by others.
In what seems like only seconds the piece of artwork is completed. It is packaged and prepared for immediate delivery. Another job successful, you strut about gathering up your change pouch and a heat bag before exiting the building, pizza in hand. Pizza secure, car revving, you adjust your visor happily and check the order one last time. Suddenly it hits you, somewhere in making this pizza it would have been nice to know where it was heading.