Let’s talk about the time I almost got stabbed.
It was Monday night, September 7th, 2015- Labor Day. The time was approximately 2 am, the night air rife with excitement from the people milling out of bars and the potential for knife fights. I was closing up at the pizza place in West Hollywood when a man came in 2 minutes before closing. I told him that he only had a minute to order something, and he proceeded to dawdle around until 2 am, when I could no longer serve him.
When I told him as such, he responded angrily, “No, you have to serve me, I was in the building before 2 am, it’s the law!” (Not true).
However, I gave him the slice of pizza anyway, hoping he would go away and not pitch a fit, the thought of being stabbed nowhere near the forefront of my mind. He tried to leave through the front door, only to find it locked, as we lock it at 2 am. We leave the side door open in plain sight for people to exit through, but he wasn’t having any of that.
“Unlock this door now!” he shouted at the cook. “This is a safety hazard, you need to unlock this door!” (Not true).
“The side door is open, just go out that way,” the cook said.
“No, I want you to open this door now!” he yelled. I began to get nervous.
A man stood up to confront him. “Hey man, just go,” he said. The potential stabber was not pleased to have someone opposing him.
“Why are you trying to tell me what to do? You’re black too, don’t forget that,” said the stabber, diverging on a point that I don’t think any of us understood.
The opposer got in his face. “You think because we’re both black I won’t kick your ass?” he said. It was at this point that I began dialing security, afraid of a fight breaking out. I wasn’t paying close attention to what was being said at this point, but the two men were doing that strange homoerotic thing that straight men do when they’re fighting when they put their face right in the other person’s face as though they’re about to kiss them.
Finally the opposer’s female friend stood up and tried to get the potential stabber to leave, and he pushed her against the wall. I could tell a punch was about to be thrown, and it was. The opposer punched the potential stabber in the face, and he was down on the ground. Security was not answering the phone, so I immediately took out my cell phone and dialed 911. The opposer and his friend began kicking the potential stabber on the ground, and I heard someone shout, “He’s got a knife!” over and over again. I was terrified. I saw the opposer begin punching the man on the ground repeatedly. It was behind the counter, so I couldn’t see his hands, and I didn’t know who had the knife. I thought I was seeing a man get stabbed repeatedly to death. My heart stopped.
Finally a woman came up to me and handed me a knife. At first I thought it was one of our kitchen knives, then I realized it was the potential stabber’s knife. I realized that he was the one with the knife, and that he pulled it out and dropped it while he was being punched. I took the knife reluctantly from the woman and put it under the counter, detailing to the police what was happening.
“What do they look like?” the man on the phone asked me.
“Well,” I said, “they’re both black, and they’re both wearing black baseball hats.”
“The one with the knife has on a black shirt with colors on it, and the other one has on a white shirt.” For some reason I couldn’t identify the colors on the potential stabber’s shirt. Was it mauve? A burnt sienna? Did it really matter? To me it seemed like the most important thing in the world, as though the police would arrive and arrest the wrong man who just so happened to have a knife, a black hat, and a black shirt with cyan on it instead of turquoise.
Eventually the opposer and his friends left, and the potential stabber stood up. I was relieved to see that he was alright, but terrified of what he would do. I was still on the phone to the police. He began pacing around the store.
“I dropped something, where is it?” he asked us menacingly. I looked away and hoped he wouldn’t leap over the counter and attack me. Eventually he stole our bottle of olive oil, headed outside, broke it against the tree, and went after the opposer.
I’m told he got the crap beat out of him, and that no one else was injured.
Keep in mind, our store is literally across the street from the Sheriff’s station. Literally. The police are across the street, and this guy decides to pursue the other guy with a weapon instead of leaving and keeping himself out of jail. All this over a slice of pizza.
Needless to say, I was pretty shaken up. I had to stay and talk to the police, as well as clean up the broken glass. Pretty much everyone who I’ve told about what happened has said, “Oh man, that sounds so exciting! I wish I was there.”
Yeah, it was a real thrill.
At least I made it out without any knife wounds, but I’d still rather it not have happened at all. It’s times like this that I wish all of my customers were like Raven Symoné.
The next time I worked, a woman came in with several friends and ordered 2 slices of pizza and a drink. Ten minutes later she came up to me and asked to use the bathroom.
“I’m sorry, it’s closed after midnight,” I said. It was 12:30 am.
“What? Even though we got 2 slices of pizza and a drink? What the hell?”
“Yeah, I’m sorry, it’s closed.”
“I don’t think it’s legal to be running your business without an open bathroom,” she said. (Not true).
“I’m sorry, m’am, we don’t make the rules,” I said.
“This is unbelievable.” She and her friends began to leave. “Fuck you guys, and fuck your pizza!”
Ten minutes later she was back.
“I just wanna make this clear,” she said. “You don’t care that my friends and I ordered two slices of pizza and a drink? You still won’t let us use your bathroom? Even though we ordered two slices and a drink?”
“I would if I knew what you ordered,” I wanted to say.
“You don’t care, even if we talk so much shit about this place, even if we never come back, and we tell everyone not to come here, and we smear you all over Yelp, you don’t care? And we’re not even belligerently drunk?” She said, belligerently drunk.
“Would you like to speak to our manager?” I said.
“Yes I would,” she said. I gave her the menu with the number of the store on it.
“He should be working tomorrow,” I said. She took a picture of it with her phone.
“Fuck you guys,” she said, and left. A minute later, one of her friends came back in, set their empty pizza plates on the table, and left.
“That was actually kind of polite,” I said. “I would have just thrown it on the floor if I was that mad, not delicately placed it on the table.”
We thought we’d seen the last of her, but a minute later, we heard her shouting at a customer entering the store.
“HEY, HEY YOU, DON’T GO IN THERE!” She shouted at the startled Hispanic man entering our store. “COME HERE!” She yelled. I assume she told him about the harrowing incident she’d just been through where she’d been denied her First Amendment right to drunkenly pee in our store. However, it must have worked, because she successfully scared off several customers over the next five minutes. We would have called security, but we were laughing too hard.
The next night a drunk gay man was paying for his pizza when he said to me, “You are so nice, I am gonna write rave reviews about you on Yelp.”
“Great!” I said, “It’ll balance out the other lady!”
*Update*- Here’s the Yelp review: