A man in a robe walked into the pizza place.
“This is a hold up!” He yelled. “Nah, I’m just kidding. Can I get a slice of pizza?”
I rang him up, afraid.
“Can I try the anchovy salad dressing?” A woman asked at healthy chipotle. “I’m allergic to fish.”
My coworker paused midway through squeezing the bottle.
“I’m sure it’ll be fine,” the woman said. “I’m allergic to all sorts of things, and I’m convinced that they’ll go away sooner or later. Go ahead and give me a second salad dressing on the side though in case I get sick.”
“Would you like an epipen with your salad?” I wanted to ask her.
“How big is the pizza?” A man asked.
“Extra large,” I said.
“Does it have sausage? I want a nice thick sausage,” he said.
“It’s sausage mushroom,” I said.
“Is it cut, or uncut?” He asked.
“They’re in slices, sir,” I said.
“You’re no fun,” he said. I began to wonder if I was turning into somebody’s prudish mother.
“Can I get a new cup?” A man asked me. “Your finger touched the rim.”
You know what else my finger has touched sir? Your salad, your hand, your money, every inch of this store and, if you’re not careful, your throat while I strangle you.
“Is there pork in your pepperoni?” A man asked me.
“Pork? In our pepperoni? Which comes from a pig? Yes, sadly,” I said.
“Is there a tip jar?” Mena Suvari asked me at healthy chipotle.
“We don’t accept tips, just keep coming back!” I said, like they told me to say.
She glared at me. “Why?” she snapped at me.
“I-I… I don’t know, we just don’t,” I stammered.
She scoffed. “Well i hope they treat you well,” she said.
“They do!” I said, like they told me to say.
My boss at the pizza place, Benji, is a tall, thin Creole gay man with a soft, high voice. When he first called me to come in for an interview he left a voicemail and I thought it was from an Indian woman. He always has a bottle of rubbing alcohol that he carries around with him. Every so often he lifts it to his nose, closes one nostril, and inhales deeply. At first I thought this was some sort of quirky way of clearing his sinuses, but after a few weeks of it I grew concerned. I googled “sniffing rubbing alcohol” and got a bunch of articles about the different health concerns caused by inhaling rubbing alcohol. My coworker eventually asked Benji about it, to which he replied, “Oh, I just do it because it gives me a rush, like I’m high.”
My boss at healthy Chipotle, Bjork, is a tall thin blond woman with a hoarse voice. I imagine her going in the back and screaming at the top of her lungs, straightening her headband, and coming back out with a smile on her face. She tosses salads like she’s stabbing a small animal, and I like to think that she’s drunk at all times that she’s not at work. I could easily see her in my mind popping an ecstasy pill the moment she steps out the door, and Lord knows she needs it. The woman works every weekday 6 am to 7pm, and she schedules herself for that. No one makes her come in that long. Every time we comp a drink or do something nice for a customer, she shouts, “Sweet touch!”
“I was sweet touched once,” I want to say. (Disclaimer: I was not.)
“Are you guys still delivering?” A man asked me over the phone at 230 am at the pizza place.
“No,” I said. “We’re closed for deliveries for the night.”
“Please,” he said, “I need a man. I need a man to bring me pizza.”
“I’m sorry,” I said, “we have no men and no pizza to bring you. Goodnight.”
“Is there any more of the ginger drink?” A customer asked me at healthy chipotle.
“I’m sorry, there isn’t.” I said. I went to tell Bjork. “Bjork, we’re out of the ginger drink,” I said.
She then, and I’m not kidding you, growled. “Grrrhhmm,” she muttered, and stalked off to make some. I stood there in shock.
A group of people were gathered around a woman at 2 am, while I was closing the pizza place. They sat outside at the tables that I needed to bring in while she sang a drunken rendition of “I know where I’ve been” from Hairspray.
“Cause Ah knoooooooowwww, hawhere ahve baaaaaaaahhhhhhnnnnn” she sang, and everyone was silent.
“Shit, I don’t know,” she said, and then everyone burst into applause.
“Reneé isn’t coming in today, her daughter fell down the stairs so she’s taking her to the ER,” Bjork said to us. “So positive thoughts for her. Now, have you all been briefed on the new way we wash the vegetables?”
Reneé quit later that week, citing the commute as her reason for quitting. This leads me to believe that perhaps her daughter didn’t actually fall down the stairs, or that perhaps Reneé pushed her in order to make the lie true.
“I can’t wear V-necks, my neck is too long,” a tall skinny African-American man said at the pizza place.
“Like a swan!” I said.
“Like a black swan,” he said. “I’m going to put that on Facebook. Black swans matter.”
“I like your twins!” my coworker shouted at a woman exiting healthy chipotle.
“What did you just say to her?” I said.
“She was wearing a Minnesota Twins shirt. That’s my team,” he said.
“Oh,” I said. “I thought you were talking about her breasts.”
“I was,” he said.
“You’re going to hell,” I said.
“Don’t I know you?” A drunk man said to me at the pizza place.
“Nope!” I said, putting his pizza on a plate.
“No, I totally know you!” he said. “Where do I know you from… Tinder!”
“I don’t think… Fuck,” I said. I did know him from Tinder. We had matched and spoken shortly before I had deleted the app.
“You’re cool! I like you,” he said. “You deleted your app though.”
“Was that me?” I said, handing him his change. “That doesn’t sound like me.”
“Or maybe you just unmatched me…” he said sadly.
“Excuse me?” I said.
“Nothing,” he said, and left. I felt bad, but I wasn’t about to tell a drunk customer that it was in fact me he saw on a dating app for desperate millennials.