The clerk at a gas station,
After putting her own nickel toward my beverage,
Said:
Take it. Take it.
About a 1938 wheat penny
In the take-a-penny leave-a-penny jar.
She said it’s actually made of copper.
She said the copper pennies are worth two-cents.
So I took it

As an investment.

The clerk at a gas station,

After putting her own nickel toward my beverage,

Said:

Take it. Take it.

About a 1938 wheat penny

In the take-a-penny leave-a-penny jar.

She said it’s actually made of copper.

She said the copper pennies are worth two-cents.

So I took it

As an investment.

On my first day as a delivery professional

The manager,

In an impromptu fit of rage,

Threw a stack of screens

(Discs of weaved wire that the pizzas ride through the oven)

To the floor in a clanky mess.

I almost didn’t come back.

But I was broke.

Without money I mean.

I was fine physically & emotionally.

Physically at least.

Imagine if I didn’t come back…

On some nights,

Like Friday nights,

Friday: International Pizza Day,

[Pizza Store]’s parking lot fills up.

Half the cars belong to Delivery Professionals,

Half to customers.

Sometimes I pull into the parking lot and there’s only one free space,

Right by the door.

I don’t feel much shame,

No shame really,

Cutting off a customer

To take the last spot.

As I left a house

A little girl asked:

Where are you going?

I said:

Back to the pizza store.

She said:

Why?

I said:

That’s where I live.

Because it feels like I live there sometimes.

She said:

That sucks.

And she was right. 

I’m pretty good at not flipping off other drivers,

Pretty good at road rage suppression,

While I have [Pizza Store] sign on the roof

Of my car.

But only pretty good

Not perfect. 

If a fork and a javelin

Had a baby

The result might be

The quality fork that’s sits atop the pizza oven.

It’s to pop unwanted crust bubbles

But would work fairly well

For self defense

Or even

Self offence. 

I got to the door of a familiar apartment

And rang the doorbell.

I could hear muffled hip hop from inside.

When nobody came 

I thought maybe the doorbell didn’t work.

Lots of doorbells don’t work.

It’s a problem in my area.

The doorbells don’t ring.

So I knocked.

Hard.

Nothing but muffled hip hop.

So I knocked.

Hard.

Nothing but muffled hip hop.

So I knocked.

And somebody inside said:

Hey [customer] your pizza’s here.

But [customer] still didn’t come to the door.

So I left.

I ate their pizza later.

———————————

BONUS MATERIAL HERE!

I opened my car door 
To sit down
To take a delivery.
Opening the door’s the first step.
But before I sat, I jumped back 
Because a demon with red eyes sat there
On my seat
Staring at me. 
The demon was a red-eyed black rat,
A rubber rat.
It squeaked like a doggy toy 
When I picked it up.
A co-driver started laughing.
He got me.

Good one.

I opened my car door

To sit down

To take a delivery.

Opening the door’s the first step.

But before I sat, I jumped back

Because a demon with red eyes sat there

On my seat

Staring at me.

The demon was a red-eyed black rat,

A rubber rat.

It squeaked like a doggy toy

When I picked it up.

A co-driver started laughing.

He got me.

Good one.

A customer asked if I received the tips made online.

I told her I did but that her order was not pre-tipped online.

She told me it was.

I assured her that it would show any existing tip on the receipt.

The receipt did not have a tip.

So it wasn’t tipped.

I know how these things work.

I’m a professional.

She put a zero on the tip line

And said she hoped I got the tip.

I didn’t get a tip

Because she wrote zero in the tip line,

Ensuring that there was no tip.

I walked across her lawn on my way back to my car

In an act of rebellion

Or civil disobedience

Or something.  

I was cat called

By a small group of young boys.

They called:

Hey pizza woman.

I don’t identify

As female

But it seemed progressive

That the kids didn’t assume

All delivery professionals were men.

A plasma donation center orders from [Pizza Store] often.

I don’t know why they call it donation

Because you sell them your plasma.

That’s not donation,

Selling your body.

But they order too often for their health.

I want to tell them they can only order twice a week.

But they’ll get a better deal on their second order.

I just don’t have the authority to make that call. 

———————————

BONUS MATERIAL HERE! 

When I think of infinity

I think of waiting at a red light

With diarrhea.

When pizzas are ready to be sent off

To their new homes

They sit under the heat-lamp

Facing out.

Away from the oven.

I returned from a delivery,

A triple delivery,

After close

And saw seven pizzas facing out.

Ready to meet their new families.

But I was ready to go home too.

I made an FML sound

And my manager started laughing.

Not because he loves sending me on deliveries after close

But because he loves putting old receipts on empty boxes

To trick me

And to laugh at my misery. 

———————————

story idea submitted by sadpengus 

I delivered to a manufacturer of cheap cookies.
Low quality cookies.
High-fructose corn syrup flavored.
A display of cookies in their lobby, 
Arranged in a colorful bouquet, 
Distracted me so I didn’t hear the customer the first time.
I said, “What?” 
He said, “For your child support,” 

And handed me a five.

I delivered to a manufacturer of cheap cookies.

Low quality cookies.

High-fructose corn syrup flavored.

A display of cookies in their lobby,

Arranged in a colorful bouquet,

Distracted me so I didn’t hear the customer the first time.

I said, “What?”

He said, “For your child support,”

And handed me a five.

The thing about the computer system

At [Pizza Store] is

It makes Windows 95 look like

The Technological Singularity.

High tech.

New employees take about two or three shifts

To learn

How to jump between screens.